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THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you.
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This is an archive of posts from Aug 25 - 31, 2001 on the Guru's Den
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Guru, Could you help an absolute amateur out.Im drawing out a couple of old miners picks to go out chasing saphires.What colour temp should I heat them to and what should I quench them in to harden them so they keep their points a bit longer but not make the points so hard that they become too brittle. Cheers Mick Field, Queensland, Australia
mick Field  <fieldfam at tpg.com.au> - Friday, 08/24/01 23:07:33 GMT

Mick, It's a matter of experimentation ref temper color, depending on type of stone you'll be pecking on. To be on the safe side, harden in water at a medium cherry and temper to full blue. Chase the "heat rainbow" toward the business end. Put about a 1/16" radius on the point to prevent breaking the tip. If the pick has a mattock end, bevel it at 35 degrees on the handle side.
Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Saturday, 08/25/01 00:22:05 GMT

Sircam Virus
Pawpaw..thanks for the info. Our apologies to all who had problems. We were running "my-eTrust.com" virus protection which obviously didn't work for Sircam. This virus can enter your computer through an attachment from someone you know and receive mail from regularly that does not know they are infected. Somehow addresses were selected not only from our address book but also from this forum since yours, Otto's and other addresses are not in our book. This morning we talked with our wireless server and he helped us clean our computer of the virus. It worked fast and all files are now clean. The free site to clean Sircam from your computer is:
On his advice we then purchased and downloaded Norton 2002 Antivirus from the Internet. It does a constant scan of our e-mail and other files. Once the Norton 2002 is installed you can download updated protection by using their Livupdate option. It seems that this virus entered the forum from places other than Coyote Forge and hopefully this info will help those folks out there who were also infected.

Buck  <coyoteforge at clarkbench.com> - Saturday, 08/25/01 01:29:45 GMT

Loren, I can reach welding temps without any problems in my forge. The pattern welded blades I have on there were made in one of those forges, with an inswool liner not the cast liner in the pictures. Inswool insulates much better than castable.
As for the linkage, the main one I'm thinking of was a 300# Bradley a friend of mine has. I've seen it on a couple of smaller hammers too, just can't remember what kind. I think it helps with the shock & keeps the hammer from tearing/rattling itself apart.
Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at yahoo.com> - Saturday, 08/25/01 04:37:35 GMT

Gas Forges: Loren, blower forges get hotter faster. And of course they burn more fuel doing so. They will easily turn a pile of billets into a molten pool or slag if there is too much air. They can be quite crude and work well. Crude atmospheric venturi burners generaly don't work and even well made ones often fail. They may be more efficient but they are much pickier to make. Blower type forges are the most common in industry and in all larger forges.

"Rusty" hammer linkage: The ram connecting link should be vertical or a little toward the front when the ram is a mid stroke. I already told you what I thought of the dynamics of the spring and using your own design, you are on your own. R&D time!

Hammers with unyeilding helves have toggle and spring linkage somewhere. Either between the helve and ram or crank and helve. OR they must be a cam operated drop hammer.

"Snap" is the overtravel provided by the reversal of the helve or crank and the flexing of the spring. Toggle type linkages do this better than ANY other type linkage. There is a mathematical reason and you cannot ignore the math.

The horizontal toggle links in the Dupont design used by Fairbanks and Bradley and copied by Little Giant and many others, attempt to produce a straight line at rest. This straight linkage creates a vector of INFINITE force.

Any amount of force applied to ANY striaght line (bar, wire, chain, beam, linkage) produces an infinite force. This is a simple geometric function where the TANgent of a right angle (the angle of force on the straight line) is infinity. Of course nothing in the universe can withstand and infinite force so the links (wire, chain. . ) sag a little.

In operation the hammer linkage passes through this point of infinite leverage twice per cycle. At the other end of the stroke the ratio apporaches 1:1 rather than INF:1. This in turn is sinusoidal motion and is what gives this type linkage its "snap" and efficiency. It is why a hammer with a 3" crank pin stroke can have an 8" or 10" range of motion. No other style of linkage has it

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 08/25/01 07:48:26 GMT


Actually, if I'm reading the reports correctly, a couple of the SPAMMERS got hit with it, and it went from them to ALL of the
addresses in their files, then on from there.

Personally, I wish it hadn't happened, I didn't just get it in my computer, it also got into my network. Took me almost two days
before I finally got the network completely cleaned up.

But I don't blame you or any of the other folks that sent it to me. Stuff happens. When it does, you wipe it up and keep going.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 08/25/01 13:02:56 GMT

For some reason I couldnīt open Lorenīs pic, but it seems you are discussing a "ram connecting link" on a straight leaf-spring hammer. What link? In my (factory built) hammer the spring goes thru a hole in the ram, and thats it. Keep oiled and replace every 50 years or so.
But then again, I might have misunderstood the disussion completely.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Saturday, 08/25/01 17:34:11 GMT

Loren's Pic: Olle, it was a LARGE BMP file. Try this, I've saved it as a JPEG after cropping it a little (now 1/10 the file size).

Loren's Hammer Drawing
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 08/25/01 17:59:48 GMT

which metal is harder,copper or brass
C.McLaughlin  <cartooncharlie at yahoo.com> - Saturday, 08/25/01 23:38:10 GMT

Where can I find a 200 pound shop anvil with round horn?

Wayne Brockney  <wbrock at metrocast.net> - Sunday, 08/26/01 01:04:12 GMT

Brass vs Copper: Charlie, normaly brass and bronze alloys are harder than cooper. However, it depends on their temper. When annealed both metals are very soft. Both can be work hardened by hammering or rolling and are much harder in that condition. Work hardened copper can be stiffer than annealed brass. The composition of the alloy makes a big difference. There are brass and bronze alloys designed to be soft and others designed to hard. The addition of beryllium tends to make copper alloys hard and springy.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 08/26/01 02:29:53 GMT

Anvil: Wayne, Almost all our advertisers sell anvils. Almost all modern anvils have a round horn. About the only exception is special sawmakers anvils. German and Italian pattern anvils such as Peddinghaus and Nimba have both a round and square horn. London or American pattern anvils have a round horn and a rectangular heal.

If you scroll down our pull down menu you will see an advertisers list, they are also on our site map and the advertisers directory (off the home page).

Centaur Forge, Kayne and Son, and Wallace Metal Works sell Peddinghaus. Nimba makes and sell their anvils direct. Centaur forge also sells Vaughn Brooks (or whatever their current name is) English anvils. Bruce Wallace of Wallace Metal works also sells quality used anvils of almost every make.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 08/26/01 02:40:15 GMT

CMcLaughlin// Brass is usually harder than copper. Please note that brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and often other metal elements are added to the alloy. For example cold-rolled copper has a Rockwell hardness of B55 verses cold rolled yellow brass hardness which is B91. That form of brass is hard. Annealed (i.e. softened) yellow brass has a Rockwell hardness of B40. Please note that The Rockwell numbers for steel are "C" scale which is a different test and scale.For example high speed tool steel can achieve a Rockwell hardness rating of C62, which is harder than the B91 rating of cold rolled yellow brass. The Brinel scale is much less confusing in this respect but seems to less used in North America? Yellow brass is 65% copper, 34% zinc 0.15% lead and has no more than 0.05% iron.

slag  <dstotland at videotron.ca> - Sunday, 08/26/01 02:54:47 GMT

I've been working with iron and brass horse nails for years: brazing and sculpting, some small forging projects. I am learning now a little with copper: designing these copper purses and mostly I am looking for a little guidance. The boxes are with relatively thin (compared to iron) sheet metal and are small enough to hold, say a paperback book. I weld with oxy-propane and well, I've been just melting the things, not too mention, they fall apart. can you tell me what kind of flux I should use if any, or just propane or or ?
Does anyone work with small copper projects?

kymberlee  <kmaxine at nethere.net> - Sunday, 08/26/01 16:52:51 GMT

Mark Lewis,

Contact me via e-mail, please. Mail to you is bouncing.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 08/26/01 17:27:25 GMT

Copper: Kymberlee, Welding copper is very difficult. It oxidizes rapidly and conducts heat very fast. You can use borax as flux but you will have much better luck brazing or silver soldering the boxes together. Brazing brass melts at 1650 to 1715°F and copper at 1980°F. However, a copper/phosphorous brazing alloy is reccomended for copper. Depending on the alloy the melting range is as low as 1500°F
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 08/26/01 18:13:28 GMT

Do you know where I might find any pictures or plans of an Oliver Hammer that uses a standard/removable sledge hammer, or a home-made drop hammer? Any assistance you can provide is appreciated. I am looking to build these myself.
Ron Powell  <slamacraft at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 08/26/01 18:14:51 GMT

Hammers: Ron, look on our Power hammer Page under "catalog of user built and JYH (Junk yard) Hammers"

Oliver style hammers using a standard sledge do not work very well. The handle twists torsionaly (the head rotates) and after the first blow the head misses the mark wildly, hits at a precarious angle and proceeds to self destruct if operation continues. Hand held handles ARE NOT suitable for helve type hammer operation.

ABANA, NC-ABANA and Bruce Freeman (see our plans page) have various plans for treadle hammers. You can also buy treadle hammers, kits and videos from Jere Kirkpartick (see Emiel's links from our links page menu).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 08/26/01 19:46:21 GMT

Kymberlee-- Could your copper boxes/purses be soldered instead of fusion welded? A Prestolight or Turbotorch would live you a lot less ferocious, vastly gentler heat than oxy-acetylene. And maybe an old-fashioned copper iron would allow you even better control. Best guidance ever scriven on the subject of soldering is James F. Hobart's classic Hard Soldering, Soft Soldering and Brazing, Van Nostrand, 1914.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 08/26/01 23:08:27 GMT

I agree withthe Great Cracked One, A text on working sheet metal will have all the details on soldering copper sheet. Try the library. Or www.abebooks.com if you want to buy one. the old books are still valid.
slag  <dstotland at videotron.ca> - Sunday, 08/26/01 23:39:34 GMT

Oops-- The correct title is Soft Soldering, Hard Soldering and Brazing. The correct date is 1912 for the first edition. Sorry. Get it from inter-library loan and Xerox it.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 08/26/01 23:41:07 GMT

I know of a man who is one of the greatest masters of engraving I have ever known who uses a gasoline blowtorch. True it is not for the uninformed or the unskilled but what he can do with that torch cannot be done ANY other way. It is truly for the masters, and to do their level of work requires the use of the right equipment. Just an opinion. TC
Tim Cisneros  <Blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Monday, 08/27/01 01:14:02 GMT

Hello, Guru!

This is my first visit to your site. I've done a lot of things in my 45 years, but never any blacksmithing.

Currently, I'm in Australia, learning about the fine art of restoring old ships at a maritime museum. As you probably know, iron and steel ships were entirely rivetted until the early 1900's, and the first all-welded ship was not launched until about 1920.

My question is when did portable oxy/acetylene welding and cutting equipment become widely available? Prior to the introduction of cutting torches, how would a shipyard cut iron sheets to fit, and how would a ship-breaker cut up an iron hull for scrap?

Can you recommend a book or two that goes into the history of gas welding and cutting, particularly as used in shipyards?

Many thanks for your help.

Joel Gilman
Perth, Australia
Joel Gilman  <joelgilman at hotmail.com> - Monday, 08/27/01 05:10:27 GMT

History of Welding: Joel, The history of recent technological changes is VERY poorly recorded. However there is a fine on-line history of welding at. . .


Well, there WAS. I get a broken link now. . . :(

Might work in the AM.

NEW URL, Fixed now. .

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/27/01 06:00:52 GMT

How did they sharpen weaponry in the Medieval Period?
Can I have a full acount?
Jony Martin  <poodledude64 at hotmail.com> - Monday, 08/27/01 07:53:13 GMT


With files and whet stones.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 08/27/01 12:18:09 GMT

Jony; may I commend to your attention "Cathedral Forge and Waterwheel" by Gies & Gies. Its a history of medieval technology and invention and very easy to read and to find. (Ask your library about ILL inter library loan!)

IIRC the switch from flat whetstones to the rotary grindstone was around 900A.D. (though flat ones were still used up until tomorrow at least!) There is an illustration from a medieval manuscript showing angels and devils prepping for a fight the angels are using the new hi-tech rotary grindstone to sharpen their swords while the devils are stuck using the obsolete flat whetstones (shown in the book!--its also the firt recorded use of the "crank"! *not* to be confused with Paw Paw...). Also ceremonial whetstones are found in several graves from the migration period that are believed to be those of chieftians.

The "full Account" First the smith forges the blade putting in bevels and forging the edge down. Then he files it then it is ground on a stone to final edge. Polishing the edge with a fine powdered abrasive is also a possibility. "Divers Arts" by Theophilus an 1120 AD book on studio crafts may discuss sharpening of tools that may be applicable to weapons (the Dover edition in translation is easy to find).

Do you have any specific questions?

Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Monday, 08/27/01 13:03:02 GMT

The welding link that the guru posted does work this morning.


I'm usually "cranky" first thing in the morning. (grin) and I quit doing "homework" when our last foster child left home. (never MIND how many years ago that was! (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 08/27/01 13:16:19 GMT

Sharpening, finishing: Scrapers have been part of the process of finishing wood, stone and metal, their use starting in the stone age. They may not have been used on blades due to the hardness but have been used on everything else including anealed (soft) file blanks.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/27/01 13:40:17 GMT

Hand Crank: The Archimedian Screw, invented sometime before 212 BC was operated by a crank and was well known throughout the Mediterranean by 100 BC. Its use and construction published in numerous manuscripts. There is no mention of Archimedies inventing the crank therefore it must have been a much older invention.

Archimedies did not invent the lever but he may have defined (or re-defined) the mathematics.

"First published" accounts of "inventions" almost always came many years after the fact and "earliest mention" is a poor indicator of date of invention. Most historians were and are rarely technical types and the mention of an invention is most often related to how it applied to an historical event.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/27/01 15:14:23 GMT

Hi Jock, I was wondering if you could post the specs for Nazel, Fairbanks, Bradley, Chambersburg & the other popular hammers like you did for the Little Giants? I'm sure it would be some work, but I think it would be very helpful for the users of anvilfire.

Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at yahoo.com> - Monday, 08/27/01 16:44:45 GMT

Hammers: Mike, Some of that is in the works. Much of the problem is finding good data. I have information on many of the hammers listed but rarely is it available in the detail that Little Giant made it. Bradley made so many types of hammers that each type would need a seperate chart if data could be found on all the different sizes.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/27/01 17:32:34 GMT

Hi! I've been blacksmithing for approx. 8 months. I have my own forge, anvil, hammers and also an oyx/act outfit. I am interested in attempting to make a fire screen for a friend's fire-place. The house was built in the 50's, so this particular fire-place has unique dimensions, as in, it has an additional side open, so the screen would either need to be hinged or bent via a soft rounded curve or a squared off sharp corner, in order to cover the whole fireplace....does this make sense? Anyway, I'm interested in info. on making fire screens in general......any ideas or books? Thanks, Shelby
Shelby Stearns  <metalkitty369 at hotmail.com> - Monday, 08/27/01 18:14:56 GMT

Fire screens: Shelby, The first task is to find the screen material. I've used fine expanded metal. McMaster-Carr sells a variety of screen in different wire sizes and pitches.

The frame design is up to you and what your customer would like. Open corner fireplaces (they were quite common in the 1950s and 60s) can have a corner in the screen OR a round corner as you mentioned. I would use a fabricated or angle iron corner. Maybe possibly a hinge at the corner, although I prefer a screen that hinges forward and down.

Screen is attached to the back of the frame with rivets and washers or a thin backup strip.

Be sure to VERY carefuly measure the fireplace. It may LOOK square but is probably not. Fireplaces are often out of square as much as 3/8" (10mm). Use a square and level to check all dimentions.

Fire screens vary from very simple to works of high art. Some have decorative patterns or grills in front of the screen while others only decorate the frame. Mixed metals are often used with brass and copper parts of repose'.

The books by Dona Meilach have examples (she is currently working on a book of nothing but fireplace accessories). I believe The Blacksmiths Cookbook by the late Francis Whitaker has some information on making fire screens.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/27/01 18:49:24 GMT

Where can I buy steel to make knives? I have called all over Kansas City (my residence) and cannot find a source
for 440C or high carbon steel ie 1095. Are we hobbists
relegated to old saw blades or finished blades. I'm trying to learn but without raw materials it becomes more dificult.
Thanks for your help!
Larry Hume  <ronin_1868 at hotmail.com> - Monday, 08/27/01 19:24:13 GMT

Steel Sources: Larry, Many industrial hardware suppliers and machine shop suppliers carry tool steel. They will have 0-1, W-1 and perhaps A-2.

You can purchase tool steels on-line in our "On-Line Metals" store (and help support anvilfire). O-1 is the closest we carry to what you are looking for. We also carry a wide range of brass for guards and plastics suitable for liners and grips.

McMaster-Carr also sells a variety of steels including the 440C. See our links page.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/27/01 19:40:39 GMT

Larry, Depending on exactly what you want, leaf springs & big springs in general make good, tough knives & are easily & cheaply obtained.
Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at yahoo.com> - Monday, 08/27/01 20:06:20 GMT

I would like to know how to take the hardness out of a tempered piece of steel so I can drill a hole in it.
Gary Smith  <garyrsmithslc at aol.com> - Monday, 08/27/01 20:46:46 GMT

Heat Treating FAQ: Gary, check out this link. The process you want is "annealing". The problem is that many tool steels require a very slow cool down period that cannot be achieved with anything less than a temperature comtrolled furnace.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 08/27/01 22:35:46 GMT


This is based on tradition, so it should be taken very cautiously. There are several grooved standing stones and stones on castles where sword size grooves have been worn in over the years. These could be the result of boored soldiers, a ritual act (only in the case of the standing stone, why travel out of your way? "ritual" shold be held in at least as much suspicion as "tradition") or it may be a local explanation for grooves that had some other cause.

I like the boored soldier explanation best. A suitable stone, a dull weapon and time on ones hands sure would add up to grooves on the castle merlon. For a good job, you could always take it to the smith or the castle armory.

On a less "out on the limb" note, there is a section in "The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England" by H.R. Ellis Peterson (? Help,Thomas, I'm away from my book shelves!) on sharpening and polishing that was aluded to by Mr. Powers, above.

Waxing speculative by the Potapsco.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

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

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Monday, 08/27/01 23:14:41 GMT

On an outdoor firepit door- the face plate (where glass might go) is instead stainless steel sheeting- 12 gauge; (304)- it has been brushed in a swirl\wavy pattern and installed behind the hammered steel frame- what can I do to bring the shine down to a matt finish?
tom poulin  <poulintom at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 08/28/01 04:42:06 GMT


Sand blast it.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 08/28/01 04:44:31 GMT

_The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England_ by H.R.Ellis Davidson
a very readable yet scholarly work on the subject. It also covers quite a bit of viking finds from the same period as there is more info on them available, (particularly in the parts based on written accounts, A-S is woefully lacking in preserved works).

Originally Published by the Oxford University press it is now in re-print. However my standard warning goes here: there has been quite a bit more work done on pattern welding since this book came out. Take Anstee's suggestions on methods with a large grain of salt!

Thomas who saw pics of the gyrefalcon at Pennsic last night.
Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Tuesday, 08/28/01 13:16:34 GMT

I'm new to blacksmithing and have talked to many blacksmiths about anvil size. Some seem to think a 200lbs anvil is all you need, while others say as large as you can afford. I am planning on making gates, railings, and furniture as a serious hobby and am not sure as to the size anvil I should purchase. In addition, should I purchase a new one or an old one? I can dress up the sides and face if needed on an older anvil. Is there a performance difference between newer anvils and older ones?

Thank you,
Paul  <pgbannon at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 08/28/01 17:14:58 GMT

Regarding IR (Infra-red) protection for the eyes:

I know that IR causes cataracts, and the risk is cumulative.
I know that Didymium does NOT protect against IR.
I even know how much IR many different types of lenses filter out.

What I don't know is what amount of IR filtering is the "right" amount. As more IR gets filtered, the glass tends to get very dark. Since we want to see the work, we can't have lenses that are too dark or we won't use them.

Hence this post. What amount of IR transmittance provides sufficient IR protection, while leaving enough visibility for working the forge?
Many thanks,
IronRoads - Tuesday, 08/28/01 18:40:47 GMT

Anvils: Paul, Old anvils in good condition are as good as new anvils. However, there is a great range of quality of anvils old and new. Whatever you do, DO NOT buy a cast iron anvil. These are nothing more than doorstops.

Anvil size is largely dependent on the kind of work you do as well as what you can afford. A 125 pound $200 used anvil may be suitable for everything you ever do. However, a 200 pound (90kg) anvil is considered the minimum size for a "general" shop. Those that have them, claim that they can tell the difference in how tired they are at the end of the day between working at a 350 pound and 450 pound anvil.

Large anvils have the disadvantage of being too heavy for one person (sometimes even two) to move.

Slight imperfections in anvils can be ground out and smoothed. Serious chipping and damage from abuse is another matter. Good anvils have a very hard tool steel face. This is very difficult to weld without either softening the surrounding area or possibly creating cracks. I always recommend dressing the best you can and working around any serious chips or flaws. There are many folks that repair anvils and claim good results but I would not buy one unless it was a very good deal.

See our anvil series on the 21st Century page.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 08/28/01 18:48:37 GMT

IR protection: Ironroads, this is a difficult question for many reasons.
  • Differences in forges and fuels
  • Differences in work habbits and type work
  • Personal sensitivity
Gas forges expose the worker to a much larger heated surface than coal. But many gas forges also have doors and small ports reducing the exposure.

Those doing a lot of forge welding often spend more time than others gazing into the white hot fire. This is a problem in all types of forges. Howerever many smiths are more patient and "know" when work is ready without a lot of peering into the fire. There is enough difference in work habbit and type of work alone that make it nearly impossible to tell what is the "right" amount of protection.

Then there is personal sensitivity. Almost every human has a different sensitivity to various environmental stimuli. How much this applies to the eyes I am not sure but I would be willing to bet there are significant differences just as there are for the skin. These differences are often genetic.

In most foundry settings safety glasses with a #2 shade are used for general protection. I would think that these are suitable protection in the blacksmith shop also.

Difficulty in seeing through filter lenses can be reduced by increasing the ambient lighting. Put on your welding helmet with a #11 or #12 shade and go out in the direct sunlight. You will be able to see well enough to read! I often reccomend to people that have difficulty learning to weld because they can't see, to setup extra lighting on the work area. It can make a huge difference and reduce frustration levels greatly.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 08/28/01 19:13:37 GMT

Thanks Guru:) for the input.
Paul  <pgbannon at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 08/28/01 19:37:28 GMT

Anyone have info on converting shaft-belt driven 100#
common sense hammer to 3hp electric motor.?
Paul  <pgill at yosemite.net> - Tuesday, 08/28/01 19:52:06 GMT


I have just purchased a ~30 pound Kerrihard hammer, complete with original 3 phase motor. As I don't have 3 phase where I live I would like to replace this motor with a standard 110vac model, but am unsure what I am looking for. Do I just need to match the HP, RPM and shaft size, or is it more complex than that? The gentleman I am buying this from suggests that a 3/4hp motor is more than sufficent, but the motor currently in place is a 1 hp. Is he correct that 3/4 hp is fine? Lastly, I see many motors with basiclly the same specs (rpm, hp) but wildly different prices depending on cooling, sealing etc. What do I really need for this sort of application?


JIm Freely`  <anvilwyrm at foo.bar> - Tuesday, 08/28/01 21:44:19 GMT

Thanks for the insight on IR protection Guru. I'll be paying a lot more attention to my habits the next couple of times I'm at the forge.
IronRoads - Tuesday, 08/28/01 22:03:10 GMT

Jim- One thing for sure is that you want a TEFC. Totaly inclosed, fan cooled. Old mechanical hammers throw oil, dirt sticks to oil. I'm sure you get the picture. Sid of L.G. said for me to go to a local farm supply. I got a
1 1/2 hp for about $149.00 or so.
Pete  <Ravnstudios at aol.com> - Tuesday, 08/28/01 22:16:04 GMT

info on a pre 1900 acme bench operated drill press. very heavy- large wheel to turn the bit. let me know if you have any ideals, or need more info. thanks
Mary  <dancindov at aol.com> - Tuesday, 08/28/01 22:32:36 GMT


I always thought that the damaging part of light was the ultra-violet, rather than the infra-red.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 08/28/01 23:14:25 GMT

Common Sense Hammer: Paul, There were various models of this hammer. If it had a slack belt clutch as in the picture in Pounding out the Profits you will need to set up a mini-line shaft to replace the original. This can be setup on the ceiling OR supported off the hammer. Ocassionaly you can find low speed motors and use a small pulley on the motor but this is rare. See the photo of the Fairbanks hammer at:


You can just see the clutch pulley over the hammer. The motor is about a foot above that. I recommend a ceiling mount jack shaft.

If it has an internal cone type clutch you just have to belt it down. Check the specs on the 100# Little Giants on our Power hammer page. Those are as close as you will find specs on that hammer. Belt it down to run that speed or 10-15% slower.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 08/28/01 23:56:12 GMT

Kerrihard: I've run 50# Little Giants on 1HP single phase motors. The 25-30# hammer will run on the 3/4 HP but the 1 HP motor will likely last longer. The EC-JYH with a 60# ram ran well on 3/4HP. TEFC motors are best but standard open drip proof work fine if they are not on the floor. Always get ball bearing motors to run machinery.

Yes, all you need to do is match the HP/RPM. The shaft size often depends on the motor frame size. Some of these have a heavier shaft for the same HP as a lighter frame. Its often hard to get a match on shaft sizes. If the old motor is a "heavy" frame then you could end up paying much too much for the needed motor when a replacement pulley or a bushiing would do.

RPM will vary according to the manufacturer's rating and the efficiency of the motor. Common AC motors run on 60Hz current in the US are a nominal 1800 RPM. The rating plate will list 1775, 1750, 1740. . These are basicaly the same. The next synchronous speed down is 1200 PRM. These motors will be listd at 1165, 1150, 1140. . . The difference between the nominal and the rating is the amount of "slip" required to deliver the full horse power. Unloaded these run close to the nominal speed.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 00:10:18 GMT

Old Drill Press: Mary, These came in dozens of models and sizes and were also made by a half dozen companies. They are all heavy and have large wheels and gears. I'm not sure about "Acme" as a manufacturer. Sears and Roebuck sold these and I THINK they were made by a contractor and "private branded" for Sears.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 00:26:22 GMT

UV and IR: Paw-Paw, UV is bad for the eyes and it is what arc-welding lenses primarily filter. However, IR (Infra-Red = heat) is also bad when it is very intense such as the white heat of a forge or melted iron in a foundry.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 00:29:22 GMT

Any suggestions as to where to obtain the IR glasses ?
Conner - Wednesday, 08/29/01 00:52:36 GMT

I just got bump off the slack tub
Buddy L  <budl1137 at bellsouth.net> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 01:10:01 GMT

I just bump off the slack-tub
Buddy Leonard  <budl1137 at bellsouth.net> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 01:14:18 GMT

I found a triphammer that is in good condition but needs some work. It was made in Dubuque, Iowa by the Novelty Iron Works. I'm just guessing this I got these names off the petistal where the anvil is located. My question is have you heard of this brand of triphammer, and do you know where I can get any Information on it.

mitch  <mitchdak at osage.net> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 01:38:48 GMT

Hey Buddy, Quit sitting on the dang edge of the slack tub.
Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 01:40:52 GMT

IR Glasses: Conner, almost any welding or safety supplier should have them in their safety glasses line. Let me know if you can't get them localy.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 02:04:26 GMT

Slack-Tub Pub: Buddy, I don't see you in the registry or in the pub log. We fixed the broken password system and folks need to register if they had not before. Many people were typing in a user name and password and they THOUGHT they were registered. . . The system was broke and letting you in. Its fixed now.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 02:12:47 GMT

Novelty Iron Works: Mitch, Novelty made the "Helva Hard Hitter" a helve hammer with seperate anvil and "The Boss" a machine with a pipe frame that could be dissasembled. Although there are illustrations of these hammers in Pounding out the Profits there are no technical specs (not even motor/crank speed).

Like 90% of all these old machines (including some of the very popular ones) you are on your own. Replacement parts will need to be reverse engineered and custom made. "Fixing" these machines is actually the restoration of an antique.

In the case of 80 year old orphan machines that have been out of production for 75 years and the manufacturer out of business nearly as long, "good condition" means ready to run. "Needs some work" can easily mean that a $500 machine needs $2000 worth of parts, or more in labor . . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 02:46:52 GMT

which metal has a better durability for rifle barrels,416r s.s. or 4150 chromoly thank you in advance
paul  <pmferrazzani at prodigy.net> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 04:12:24 GMT

hammer motor-- get a capacitor start.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 04:23:53 GMT

Rifle Barrels: Paul, not a clue. However, the 4150 is much better steel in general. All stainlesses are difficult to work, difficult to heat treat and never perform as well as carbon steels. But they don't rust.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 05:56:17 GMT

Capacitor Start: But Cracked!, It takes the fun out of winding a starting rope around the pulley, pulling, then hitting the switch and PRAYING the end of the rope comes off the puley!!!!!!

Don't try this at home kids. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 05:58:10 GMT

Hello! A friend of mine has a problem. He has found an old Yeakley LB1 power hammer he wants to bring back to use, but over here in europe we can't find any information about technical hand books or other data. Anybody know anything about this machine?? Thanks, Achim
Achim Wirtz  <achim.wirtz.wuerselen at mail.aachen.de> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 06:47:58 GMT

3 phase motors can easily be run on a converter you make yourself. I have been making my own 3 ph for about 20 years now. The advantages are many. The motors cost less to buy, (second hand) they have more starting torque, they are instantly reversable and making your own 3 ph power allows you to use old industrial equipment as is.
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 13:36:55 GMT

Wayne, Any chance of getting the schematics for your converter? Or is it simply bought at an electronic supplier by telling them at the counter what you need? Thanks, TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 14:11:13 GMT

Converters: Tim, there is a nice article on the subject with charts, graphs and part numbers on Metal-Web news.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 14:53:24 GMT

Guru, Thanks for the link for the converter! I'll probably make one one of these days when I get a nice BIG shop!
Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 15:37:03 GMT

The Metal-Web URL has changed. The new URL is:

Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 15:37:08 GMT

Wayne, could we, please, get a reference for more details on DIY 3ph converters?

adam  <adam at whiteson.org> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 16:08:01 GMT

And the URL for the Phase Converter article is:

Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 16:29:00 GMT

Fire screens: Guru, I have a similar question to the one posted 8/27/01. I have to make a set of doors for a fireplace. The doors will only have screen in them, no glass. Can you tell me what type of screen is generally used for fireplaces (gauge, etc)? I recall a post on here a while back whereby someone was explaining what size wire they had used but I cannot find it now. I looked at McMaster-Carr's website under expanded metals but with all the options, I'm not for sure which type of screen I need. Also, what type of finish do you recommend for the doors given the high temperature? I prefer a natural finish verses painting it. Can I get by with Laquer or will it burn off? Thanks!
Greg  <g-allen at tamu.edu> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 18:01:09 GMT

Question: What is the most mallable metal?
Robert  <Robert29b at aol.com> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 20:09:05 GMT

Gold: Robert, Of the common metals gold is the most maleable. Sodium and lithium are softer but of no practical use in pure form. There may be others but historicaly gold is number one.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 20:57:47 GMT


Lets say that sodium and lithium are softer, bot of no practical use in pure form at this time.

I've still got a dictionary the defines aluminum as "a useless white metal".
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 21:58:34 GMT


Another PH question if I may...

My new (soon to be delivered!) hammer has brand new looking dies, which appear to be fairly flat and parralell (to each other) Do I need a different set of dies for pointing or tapering a piece, or is there a trick? It seems like changing dies for different functions would be a pain....

Additionally, the distance between the anvil and head isn't all that much. What would you do to use some sort of tooling (fuller, ect?) Just build really short tools?


Jim Freely  <ffreflkfn at kdkf> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 22:20:53 GMT


Look up the proper spelling of "astronaut" in that dictionary. If you can't find it, you may need a new dictionary - with all the "new" words.
Conner - Wednesday, 08/29/01 23:06:26 GMT

Power Hammer Dies: Jim, If you only have one set of dies flat are probably best. These are best for general work using hand held tooling as well as clamp on tooling.

So called "universal" dies have half the surface flat and the other half shaped in a radius for drawing. The narrower this surface, and the more curvature the more aggressive the dies. If you do primarily architectural work with LOTS of long tapers this is a good die shape.

On large industrial hammers tapering is done with flat dies. The work is moved and the taper a series of steps. The dies have a fairly heavy radius on the corners that makes the steps blend together. After roughing a taper a "flatter" is used. For power hammer work a flatter is a half round or segment (flat on front and curved on back) with a long slender handle welded on. The flat face flattens the work while the round back presents a parallel surface for the flat upper die to strike.

The radiused corner is actualy a oval section that tapers gently before it curves. Industrial forging references give dimensions of curves for the hammer/die size.

Bit dressers use a set of dies with a taper, a flat, and often a cut off. The taper is usualy to one side of the die and the combination of taper and offset put a lot of load on the hammer. They are only recommended for the sturdiest of industrial duty hammer.

ALL under hammer tooling should be as short as possible. It is currently popular for the new air hammer makers to demonstrate using the long stroke of their hammers to get above standard length smithing tools (handled punches, chisles, swages). This is DANGEROUS and should not be done. Proper power hammer tooling is all as short as possible and has relatively flexible handles (generaly a length of small round bar welded on). Power hammer hot cuts, isolating tools, flatters and fullers are all quite different than the common smithing tools. On a small hammer like a 25# LG or your 30# Kerrihard these tools should be no bigger than 1" to 1-1/2" (~25 to 40mm) tall.

Note: The working height on most mechanical hammers is adjustable. Good short tooling will keep you in operating the range without adjustment but the necessarily taller tools like punches will require adjusting the working height. At rest the upper die should just clear the work. When several inches of tooling is added the ram must be adjusted UP. However, you must be careful not to operate the hammer on short work with the range adjusted high. This can result in the spring reaching shut height (hard down) or parts of the toggles traveling farther than they are designed. A great deal of hammer damage results from this type missadjustment. Replacing the dies with a shorter set can cause the same problem.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 23:30:29 GMT

I keep tellin' Paw-Paw that his school books from the the 19th century are out of date but he says if they were good enough when HE went to school. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 08/29/01 23:34:50 GMT

Its ok Paw-Paw - People around here don't like my dictionary either..I have some of my own spelling words in it. I know what they mean..

Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Thursday, 08/30/01 00:05:27 GMT

GREG, I suppose we're kind of primitive out here in the desert, but I normally use ol' galvanized hardware cloth, 1/8" mesh, for the fire screens (building supply). I spray paint it black, and the paint stays on. We often make a sandwich of flat stock, say 1/8" x 3/4" or suchlike and put the cloth in between. We rivet with 3/16" button heads, making sure the screen is taut. Many of our adobe fireplaces have a beehive shaped opening, so we bend to shape on edge at ambient temperature.
Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Thursday, 08/30/01 00:07:30 GMT

If MY books have lasted this long, then they must be right! (grin)

(Where did I put my McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader?)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 08/30/01 00:14:54 GMT

I am verry new to blacksmithing and have set up a forge in my back yard. Living in the south poses a certan problem. Mosquitos in the slack tub. How can i limit them from usint it as breeding tank. Thanks.
RussB  <Ragger99 at mindspring.com> - Thursday, 08/30/01 01:59:35 GMT


I put about two tablespoons of motor oil in the tub. It floats on the surface and the larvae can't get any oxygen. It does present a little bit of a problem when you put hot iron in it. I've had it smoke a couple of times, but its never flamed up.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 08/30/01 02:24:36 GMT

Guru - I recently bought the primitive knifemaking video produced by the Neo-Tribals. In it, Tai Goo uses a scraper made from an old file to get the hammer-pits out of the annealed blade (made from leaf spring). He said that the Japanese swordsmiths used scrapers like that for the same thing.

Have not tried this myself, or done any research in that area. Just passing that along.
Stormcrow  <jbhelm at worldnet.att.netSPAMISBAD> - Thursday, 08/30/01 03:10:23 GMT

Scrapers: Stormcrow, We have an iForge demo on scrapers and burnishers. The problem with scrapers and knives is that (as you mentioned) they must be used on annealed blade steel. The Japanese smith does a great deal of finishing before hardening the edge. Then he protects the blade with a refractory clay. In other types of bladesmithing the blade is hardened early, then ground to finish.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/30/01 04:07:40 GMT

Slack Tub: Russ, Salt works and doesn't make the mess that oil makes. It does eat up metal tubs though. Brine is used for quenching but you don't need that high a salt concentration to keep out mosquitoes.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/30/01 04:10:18 GMT

Russ:You might try hooking up a good sized fish tank air pump with an airstone on it to keep the water moving. Thats what we do in the shop to keep mold and mildew from growing in our coolant tanks.

Have you ever heard of the company "Old World Anvils"?
If not, you might want to check out the web site www.oldworldanvils.com. They talk their anvils up pretty good, but I was wondering if you knew anyone who actually has used one, and what they think.
Bond,James Bond - Thursday, 08/30/01 04:58:00 GMT

OWA: 007 Ask, Torin if you can catch him in the Pub, about them. He bought a large one at the Flagstaff ABANA conference.

Yes, I've seen the website and I've been around and around with the owner about links, webrings, advertising and such.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/30/01 05:48:02 GMT

Thanks, the fact that you would even entertain the idea of selling them on your site tells me something.

Another question:
I work in an autoparts store and consequently see a lot of old shocks. What I am wondering is this:What is the material they use for the rod in the shocks? To be able to grind it as smooth as they do, and for it to stay as clean as it does, wouldn't it have to be decent metal? If so, wouldn't it work pretty well for smithing purposes?
I realize that those things are under pressure, but I would just cut the center of the rod out.
Thanks Again, I love this site.
Bond,James Bond - Thursday, 08/30/01 06:15:54 GMT

Old World Anvils is planning to be at Quad-State in September if you want to check out the anvil in person. All I've heard of them has been positive----but people like different things in an anvil so it's always best to check things out ahead of time.

Thomas Powers  <thomas_powers at my-deja.com> - Thursday, 08/30/01 12:23:02 GMT

Scrapers?? Maybe we got a little off track on this scraper thing, because Tai Goo *did* call his tool a scraper. Maybe a better term would be "shave" or "knife". The Japanese call the tool a "sen", and it is usually pushed. Check "The Craft of the Japanese Sword by Kapp and Yoshihara. It removes metal by shaving. It is similar to what a woodworker uses as a drawknife or drawshave, except the handles are straight with the blade. The cutting edges, fore and aft, are convex. Yataiki, premier sawmaker of Japan, uses sen of various sizes, all the way down to 1/2" wide. The handmade Japanese wood chisel has a flat-bottomed recess on the flat side opposite the beveled side. It is done with a small sen. The recess makes for less work when smoothing and leveling the flat before sharpening the cutting edge.
Frank Turley  <nudahonga at qwest.net> - Thursday, 08/30/01 12:45:23 GMT

Advertising: 007, Even though I do not personaly like the composite Fisher "Eagle" anvils, I would take them as an advertiser if they still existed. This is business.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/30/01 13:44:03 GMT

Scraping vs. Shaving: Frank, this gets to be a fuzzy area. When properly dressed a scraper has a little curl on the edge. Then scraping becomes "micro shaving". When used in wood working or on soft metal the term micro is an overstatement. Small amounts are taken off but in beautiful curls like a plane produces. These curls are very thin but can be produced in diameters of 1/2" (13mm) or more and by the pound. See my iForge demo #86 on scrapers.

Yes, what Tai-Goo is doing is different. Very hard scrapers with a sharpened edge do not have the little curl on the edge to let them shave. I use my pocket knife as a scraper this way on wood and plastics. However, the "hand scrapers" often made of old files for dressing machine surfaces have a chisle edge and are pushed for heavy cutting and stood on edge and pulled for fine scraping. This process is used primarily in cast iron and curls are not produced in either case.

I have known woodworkers that did not understand burnishing their scrapers and used a square edge. Another used razor sharp edged scrapers. Both were amazed at the difference in the amount of material that could be removed with a scraper burnised with a curled wire edge. I was too! It answered my question "What did they use before sandpaper?"
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/30/01 14:22:54 GMT

Shock Rod material: 007, The material varies. It used to be a hardend stainless or high alloy steel. Some had heavy chrome plating. However, the rods on my new brand name shocks I used on the EC-JYH are rusting. In all cases it is hardened. However, it is also possible they are case hardened.

Like all junkyard steels, they vary according to manufacturer and YOU must become your own metalurgist.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/30/01 14:29:14 GMT


Thanks for all the great power hammer information! Is there a book or FAQ or anything out there for general PH operations? I would prefer to read as much as is available before asking questions....

Also, what is a good source for under hammer tooling? I haven't seen any of it in my wanderings, but I might not be going to the correct sites.

Thanks again! I have definitely gotten more from this site than I paid for the CSI membership!!

Jim Freely  <skhf at skd> - Thursday, 08/30/01 16:15:47 GMT

Mosquitoes - how about putting a cover on the tub? It's not just a southern problem. We NH folks have a nice(?) supply of them little vampires.

Marc  <takeahike at mediaone.net> - Thursday, 08/30/01 17:47:00 GMT

I just recently purchased a champion 400 crank blower and am in the process of taking the thing apart to lube the bearings and fittings. I tried to loosen the fan nut but with no success. Then I decided to take out the bearings from the other end and pull the staft out where the fan is connected, also with no luck. What is the best way to disassemble the blower unit and grease the entire unit? Is there a URL or shematic that shows the best process?

Thanks for your help.
Paul  <pgbannon at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 08/30/01 18:54:31 GMT

Hi All,

I just posted some pictures of an old 100# Bradley helve hammer, 200# Chambersburg & some neat old steam equipment on my site if anyone wants to see them. They are at http://home.adelphia.net/~mcroth/blacksmith.html

Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 08/30/01 19:29:03 GMT

Under Hammer Tooling: Jim, I don't know of anyone currently selling general tooling. Kayne and Son sell Off Center Product's line of specialty tools.

The industrial forging books from ASM cover the tooling a little but with few techniques. Lillico's "Blacksmiths Techniques, Illustrated" (I think that is the title) has some of the best how-to. Its an old book currently in reprint.

We are working on some information for the power hammer page.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/30/01 19:35:08 GMT

Blower: Paul, These devices are lubricated with oil. If there is no good reason to take it apart, then don't. You are likely to break it. There are no parts available so then it will be junk and there would be no reason to take it apart. . .

Don't overfill with oil but do check regularly as they leak constantly.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 08/30/01 19:39:35 GMT

I've been blacksmithing for some time. I have some old coal stored inside on a dirt floor. It has been growing yellow knots on the surface, so I think I know where the old term "Flowers of Sulfur" came from. But other parts of hte coal are growing a white material. Any idea what that is?

I figure the sulfur coming out of the coal is good, I scrape it off before I put it in the forge.
Andy Martin  <amartin at npwt.net> - Friday, 08/31/01 01:10:44 GMT

Guru- c'mon you're taking the fun out of it! I'm from the (and I know this is a stolen quote, sorry whomever you are)"I may not be able to fix it, but I damn well can take it apart!" school of thinking. Half the fun of owning anything is taking it apart so you can lose than miniscule essential piece of it. Have you ever read any of Roger Welsh's books on tractor repair? They are great, funny reads and he covers this area well. Pick one up if you can, trust me these are FUNNY books.
Chad  <NHBlacksmith at aol.com> - Friday, 08/31/01 01:20:36 GMT

Converters: The easiest 3-phase converter is another 3-phase motor of equal or greater HP. Call it the idler motor. Run 220v through a switch to any two of the idler motor's three terminals. Then connect from all three of the idler motor's terminals through a 3-phase switch to all three terminals of the equipment motor.

Mount the idler low with a sheave on it. Switch the 220 on and kick the sheave to spin the idler. There is really no danger in this. Once the idler is spinning, use the 3-phase switch to control the equipment. Adding a capacitor to the idler kicks it over but I've never used one because I can push it with my fott and it starts every time.

There was a great writeup about this in Fine Woodworking a few years back by an electrical engineer. He claimed about 80% efficiency for this setup.
Andy Martin  <amartin at npwt.net> - Friday, 08/31/01 01:48:15 GMT

I have little expierance welding. Soley out of curiosty I was wondering about primative metal working. Such as how to find copper or Iron in rock, How to build a small usable forge out of stone. Primative Metal working. Probably about the bronze age. I like to learn about survivalist methods and how one would do things without the help of society. My curoisty on this lead me to your website. Take your time to answer me, and if you would be so cool as to give me a few good referances if you know of any for my intrest in primative metal working. Thanks.
Jason Ammerman  <Ammerman76 at cs.com> - Friday, 08/31/01 02:00:27 GMT

Taking it apart: Chad, I spent too many years taking things apart (without breaking them) to know better than to try to explain to someone that can't figure it out on their own. AND, There are some things that just will NOT come apart without breaking them. When you know better and have the tools to do it, then you machine off stuck nuts instead of breaking the shaft. When temper is not critical OR the part is going to be replaced you can heat rusted parts to a nice red to dehydrate the rust and then they will come apart. . but this is a serious judgement call. There are things that come apart easily with an impact wrench that will not come apart any other way. But you don't use them on gear and bearing assemblies and not everyone has one.

If is anin't broke then don't fix it!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 08/31/01 03:31:35 GMT

Phase converters: Andy, I seen this method too. Often a "pilot" motor is used to get the big motor up to sufficent speed that it will run. Not sure on the efficiency. However, the capacitors don't just make the units auto starting, they add "lead" to the "generated" leg. This makes a better and more efficeint converter.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 08/31/01 03:35:48 GMT

"Primitive" metalworking: Jason, To find native metal in rock you LOOK for it. Iron is almost never found in its native state. The most useful amounts are found metorites. Some very large ones are actually mined. The metals most commonly found in their native state are copper, gold and silver. These have never been found just anywhere. Seekers of native metals searched entire continents.

Bronze age people knew what copper ores looked like (most are blue green). A book on minerals will be your best bet. But rich deposits of copper ore are in the same places that native copper is usualy found. In most cases if it has not been mined out, it is being mined. Reducing ore to metal is complicated and is almost always a community project requiring mining, crushing, obtaining fuel (making charcoal), hauling flux (limestone, borax, seashells). . .

Since we will never return to the Bronze Age a modern "survivalist" finds iron and steel in his backyard, in junked automobiles and scraped equipment and tools. We are rich in things that previous societies spent most of their non-food optaining energies extracting with great effort.

See our Getting Started article and the books mentioned there to start.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 08/31/01 03:50:42 GMT

some where in anvilfire i saw a hammer made out of a rear end form an auotmobile ,, can't find again need help finding it again...
John Warren  <tbald at desoto-1.com> - Friday, 08/31/01 04:04:03 GMT

EC-JYH: John, See the Power hammer Page, Catalog of user built and JYH machines.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 08/31/01 05:36:03 GMT

I never got it corraborated, but the tech rep for the folks who make glass perscription light-sensative (self darkening) lenses said that almost no infrared gets past the glass.
It is what ive been using for years and as a result I seem to be loosing my hearing.
"WHAT?" it's the blacksmith's call.

Andy or Jock: when one sees a figure for efficiency on a 3 phase converter...IE 80%....is the result greater amperage draw or a weaker motor?
Pete F - Friday, 08/31/01 07:49:31 GMT

how about using soap in the slacktub. the little things hang in the surface tension to get oxygen.
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Friday, 08/31/01 07:57:41 GMT

I have a 15 hp converter that I had built by a buddy powering a 10 hp motor. Wally has alot of electronic experience, I've got "O". I down loaded 3 sets of plans from the net. Even bought a set from Centaur Forge. I've got about $450.00 into it. The best deal was two 15 hp 3/ph motors from Bruce Wallace. The converter has 4 start caps and 7 run caps. All I do is push a button w/one hand, throw the main switch, let off the push button after about 1 second. Now the converter is up to speed, push the motor starter and I'm ready to hammer. Let me tell you though, Wally realy saved my rear. When you look up parts in Grainger or McMaster-Carr there are so many options that I got completely lost. He told me "order this and that, and when it comes in I'm coming over". Now I have sitting in a corner of the shop what one would pay any where from $1500.00 to as much as $3000.00 for. I'm alitte worried about the elec bill though, meter looks like a cd playing heavy metal!!! :)
Pete  <Ravnstudio at aol.com> - Friday, 08/31/01 12:20:03 GMT

Converters: Pete, "Rotophase" uses a 10 HP motor frame to power multiple 10 HP motors. The capacitors should let it start on its own without a start circuit. I never looked at the meter when ours was running. . . now I wish I had. The 10 HP unit cost $1,500 in 1980. The Rotophase was so noisy that we ended up paying $12,000 to have 3PH put in!
Yes, its good advise to get someone that knows electrical stuff to do it if you don't.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 08/31/01 14:38:01 GMT

Rotophase: Pete F, Rotophase claims no loss in HP but does say the amperage draw will be greater (on the two non-generated lines). They recommend a larger than standard wire size going to motors.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 08/31/01 14:52:29 GMT

hey Guru...Im trying to locate a source for letter stamps..maybe 1/8 inch in total height..so I can do some custom inscription on mild steel...any suggestions?
noiseyforge  <causech at goodsamhealth.org> - Friday, 08/31/01 15:42:51 GMT

Noisey Forge, You can get some decent ones for really cheap from Harbor Freight. I'm sure there are much better ones out there, just depends on how much you have to spend. I'm on a rather tight budget myself!
Mike Roth  <emeraldisleforge at yahoo.com> - Friday, 08/31/01 15:50:31 GMT

Letter Stamps: Noisy, Centaur Forge carries them as well as having custom stamps made. McMaster-Carr also sells them. Almost all industrial hardware and machine shop suppliers carry them.

When you decide on the size you want consider this. 1/4" stamps LOOK a lot larger than 1/4". 1/8" are a good size and 1/16" are still very ledgible.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 08/31/01 16:19:19 GMT

phase converters: I called a number of company's when I was thinking of buying and found that there is no standard in the phase converter biz. One company will say you need one thing, another company something else. I lost out in terms of time when I built mine. Took too long. But I did learn which is good.
Pete  <Ravnstudio at aol.com> - Friday, 08/31/01 19:49:48 GMT

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