WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den - V. 3.0

THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you.

This is an archive of posts from August 18 - 24, 2002 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

guru, I am going to have to reline my gas forge in the near future and I was wornding if ITC 100 would help the new lineing last longer? the forge I have is a NC Tool Wisper Momma delux . Thanks!
   jojo - Monday, 08/19/02 01:38:37 GMT

Jojo, yes it would. It prevents erosion from gases and makes a hard surface that is more durable as well as preventing airborn kaowool fibres. However, places that get repeatedly poked should have some refractory patching compound applied over the ITC-100 and kayowool. You can also use a heavy coating of ITC-100 if you fire it between coats.

The ITC-100 also is supposed to be a better IR reflector than Kaowool and other refractories. This increases efficiency and should lower the outer shell temperature. It will also give a more reflective surface to the hard floor.

We have the ITC-100 in stock and the new store is working except for non-USA shipping. . . I should probably launch the store as is.

Jock D.
   - guru - Monday, 08/19/02 02:11:53 GMT

guru Would it be possable for me to come up to your place one weekend and get you to help me reline my forgeand show me how to use the ITC 100? Thanks
   jojo - Monday, 08/19/02 02:37:11 GMT

Thanks sooo much for the info!!! I'm going right now to the leather website, and will probably check with the monument palces this week.
I really appreciate your help!!!
   Maureen Rodriguez - Monday, 08/19/02 03:46:23 GMT

Guru or anyone,
Trying to weld 3/4" solid mild steel bar for a gate frame I found it just would not forge weld. I'm trying to complete the components and assembly using only traditional methods but this stuff just won't forge weld. Ive tried several different fires, scarfs and temps and it just won't stick. At each fire failing to weld this stuff, I successfully welded other stuck with no problem. I've forged the parts of the gate frame from the same stock I'm practicing on and am totally frustrated. Anyone have similar problems and - more importantly - any tips on how to make this stuff forge weld.
   David - Monday, 08/19/02 03:51:24 GMT

Fret not: I looked at slew of old gates in Ireland and England a couple years ago and the old timers had the same problem. They devised all manner of cunning mortise and tenon joints, shoulders, rivets, etc. to help keep their gate frames closed and square. Me, I use a Miller Dialarc. And 7018 on top of 6011. And proud of it.
   miles undercut - Monday, 08/19/02 04:29:34 GMT


If your steel is A-36 structural stuff, you might have just gotten a poor mill run. The specs for that stuff are pretty loose, from what I understand, and many mills put their worst steel into that class. It might have some crud in it that prevents welding. I don't know if adding some fluorspar to your flux would help or not, but you might try that. Hopefully, Jock will know something that will help you more than this.
   vicopper - Monday, 08/19/02 04:35:02 GMT

David, Try wire brushing and fluxing at a bright heat with borax. When the borax glazes, it gets tacky. Put something like E-Z weld compound on top of the glazed borax. It should stick and not fall off. When the iron filings melt, go for it. I usually flux the scarf taper and the two adjacent sides, as for a lap weld. You don't need sparks emitting from the work. It's often better to weld at a sweating heat, even though the heat doesn't last quite as long as a sparking heat. If you get a hugh spark shower, you are burning the iron. A few incipient sparks might be all right.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 08/19/02 05:49:15 GMT

Where did Hugh come from? HUGE!
   Frank Turley - Monday, 08/19/02 05:51:56 GMT

jojo, We have a weekend planned for paw-paw to do his forge (no date set). All his needs is the ITC coating. It would be nice to have one that needed a complete reline too. . . for photos. We will have to talk after next weekend. get your reline kit ordered.
   - guru - Monday, 08/19/02 06:18:34 GMT

I am looking for big sledge hammers 25lb, 30lb, 35lb, 40lb etc. but I have never found anyone selling sledge hammers bigger than 20lb. Do you know of a source for such hammers? Thank you.
   Mani - Monday, 08/19/02 09:12:35 GMT

Thanks for the suggestion guys. I'll try The scarf joint with the E-Z weld first and if that doesn't work - out comes the Miller stick welder. I'll then forge the welded joint and call it a "forged weld". This site is great amd I'll pass on the results.
   David - Monday, 08/19/02 13:45:28 GMT

Getting back into blacksmithing after a 3.5 year hiatus. Looking to go with either charcoal or coke for fuel (trying to keep the neighbors happy). While I've used coal in the past and therefore coke, is there anything different about forging from the start with coke?
   Bob G. - Monday, 08/19/02 15:07:54 GMT

David, I've done a lot of "forged welds" as you call it. Be sure to do a weld prep so you get a through weld. Then power wire brush off the arc welding flux. The flux will remain stiff enough at forging temperatures to leave impressions in the metal that appear when the flux is gone. Trapped flux is also one of the key elements in sever corrosion. Do not grind the welds. Unless the area (including the plain bar) is significantly deformed by forging the grinding marks will still show up. So DO NOT GRIND. Properly done it is difficult for even an expert to tell the difference. But if you grind it a 10 year old can tell at 20 paces. . .
   - guru - Monday, 08/19/02 15:14:18 GMT

Coke: Bob, There are several kinds of coke available. Foundry coke and blacksmith's coke. Neither is the same as coke made in the forge.

Foundry coke is relatively dense comes in large fist size lumps or small "breeze" and has no volatiles. The large stuff is very hard to break up small enough to use. The lack of volitiles means it is hard to get burning and hard to KEEP burning. You need a constant blast or the fire will go out in a few seconds.

Blacksmiths coke is a specialty fuel that has a few volatiles and comes in a usable size. It is denser than forge made coke but not as dense as foundry coke. It is still difficult to get burning (takes a torch or a coal fire) but will continue burning longer than foundry coke. The only place I know that sells it is in Texas. See the Coal Scuttle from out home page.

Good bituminous coal is still the prefered fuel by most smiths. This is followed by charcoal if is is available. Due to coal supplies drying up many smiths are going to propane. And you can tell your neighbors the gas forge is a supercharged grill!
   - guru - Monday, 08/19/02 15:50:09 GMT


Thanks for the response. Is L Brand Coke a blacksmith's coke?

I wouldn't mind going to propane and I've used a gas forge in the past (what little I know about blacksmithing I learned from Bill Fiorini using his gas forges). I like coal for the ability to heat just what you want rather than an entire piece.
   Bob G. - Monday, 08/19/02 16:28:02 GMT

I am a blacksmith in Connecticut and looking for a flypress. Does anyone know where I can find one? Thanks
   william - Monday, 08/19/02 16:45:35 GMT

Flypress: William, the only new flypresses that I know of in the US are imported by Grant Sarver and are now sold by Kayne and Son (see drop down menu). The Kaynes currently have two in stock and are selling one as used.

The only small manual presses I have seen were being sold by by a dealer through Bruce Wallace. See our Power hammer page for photos.
   - guru - Monday, 08/19/02 17:35:57 GMT

L Brand Coke is being sold as blacksmithing coke. But I have never used any myself. At CanIron II in Calgary they were using coke that seemed to work pretty well. However, it put a kink in Frank Turley's fine fire building demo. ;) He was expecting coal. . . and is not a coke user.

I like the intense heat of a coal fire myself and most smiths will agree. However, times do change. . The limitation of gas forges is that you need many sizes for a variety of work and for efficient fuel use. Coal forges adapt to a wide variety of work by just piling on more coal and cranking up the air. . But then gas is clean and convienient.
   - guru - Monday, 08/19/02 17:45:32 GMT

William, Dan at Old World Anvils sells flypresses, he may have the size you want.
   - Robert-ironworker - Monday, 08/19/02 19:50:10 GMT

Hey Fellas,
I am trying to find someone to help me move the power hammer posted on the "Hammer In". It weighs about 11,500 lbs and can be moved by a flat bed trailer (which I don't have). So if anyone who has such a trailer is in the OK area and is up for a trip to Ohio, let me know. I would be willing to pay for this service.
   Patrick - Monday, 08/19/02 20:32:38 GMT

I am working on a project that requires that I use stainless steel. I am creating a heron. I have boughten a sheet from the steel yard and will use my plasma cutter to create the design. I have seen some art that has a nice swirl design and dull but nicer finish. How do I achieve this finish? Thanks!
   Lucinda - Monday, 08/19/02 21:58:19 GMT

What is the process to make steel magnetic
   richard - Monday, 08/19/02 22:08:39 GMT

Lucinda, Various textured or directionaly polished finishs are created a number of ways. You will need to do some experimentation to get what you want. "Spot" finishing was popular in the 1940's and 50's it was created by using a wooden dowel in a drill press and repeatedly making overlaping spots with the end of the turning dowel ono the metal. "Flour emery" mixed with oil is used on the end of of the dowel.

The same thing can be done on larger scale using a rubber backed sanding disk in a small angle grinder or sander. Wetting the surface with water will make the abrasive last longer and produce a smoother more even finish finish. I would suggest 220 or 320 grit wet or dry OR cloth backed bonded abasive. A large hand drill or a low speed sander would probably be better for this than an angle grinder. The pattern can be an overlaping spot finish or random swirls.

Experiment on scraps. Once a textured finish is applied it is difficult to change.
   - guru - Monday, 08/19/02 23:15:25 GMT

Richard, you can put a strong magnet on a piece of steel for a few days and it will become magnetic. Or you can encircle the piece of steel with a welding cable (DC, I believe) and let the magnetic flux of the cable magnetize it. Judging from the innocence of your question, the former method sounds more appropriate for your application than the latter.
   quenchcrack - Monday, 08/19/02 23:38:44 GMT

Magnets: Richard, First, soft iron does not magnetize permenently. Dead soft pure iron will not magnetize at all and is used in solenoids, relays, transformers and AC motor armatures where you a magnetic material that does not magnetize. The more carbon in the steel the harder the steel can be heat treated and the stronger and more permanent the magnet. Special ultra hard iron nickle alloys are made by Alnico for making magnets.

To magnetize, the steel it is passed quickly through a magnetic field (thus swiping against a magnet will magnetize a piece of steel). However, it is more commonly done by producing a strong electro magnetic field around the steel and then collapsing the field. In high school our physics department had a device for doing this. It was a large electric large coil that you put around the piece of steel. It had a very low power fuse made with a little strip of aluminium foil between two screw terminals. You pluged it in and *POP* the fuse blew! This let ONE cycle of AC current to charge the coil and let it collapse. Repeated cycles of AC confuse the magnetic direction and may not magnetize very well so it takes a millisecond surge in current.

My physics teacher liked to do this without warning. The *POP* , lights diming and the electric flash of the burning fuse got everyone's attention!

Be careful with electro magnetic coils. They can also fire a piece of steel like a bullet.
   - guru - Monday, 08/19/02 23:38:44 GMT

To all,
I exhibited at an Arts and Crafts Festival this past weekend. When asked where I learned this wonderfull , almost lost, craft I gave full credit to ANVILFIRE and all who contribute and espically to the gurus. Stating that made me realize how valuable a resourse this site is to all of us, the novices and seasoned veterans alike. I cannot stress enough how important it is to support Anvilfire by joining CSI.
I strongly urge all who frequent this site to join CSI. After all, it's less than the cost of one cup of coffee a week. A small price to pay for reaping the benifits of thoes who are willing to spend time helping the rest of us keep the art of Blacksmithing alive. What a shame it would be to lose this.
   Harley - Tuesday, 08/20/02 00:29:04 GMT

What is "flour emery?"
I always used lapping compound to do this.

Lucinda, this makes an awesome looking piece, but if you are going to do the overlapping pattern, make sure to over lap the same amount evertime. If you don't it just makes it look sloppy.
   Bond,JamesBond - Tuesday, 08/20/02 00:59:13 GMT

You have a hydraulic powered machine that used to operate correctlt, over the last 5 or 6 weeks th pressure guage shows a noticible drop. The machine does not operate very well first thing in the morning. The opeartor has left the company and can't be contacted.

How could i write a report on how cuold i test this machine and indicate what might be wronfg from the information given
   maran - Tuesday, 08/20/02 01:26:44 GMT

You have a hydraulic powered machine that used to operate correctlt, over the last 5 or 6 weeks th pressure guage shows a noticible drop. The machine does not operate very well first thing in the morning. The opeartor has left the company and can't be contacted.

How would i write a report on how could i test this machine and indicate what might be wrong from the information given
   mani - Tuesday, 08/20/02 01:30:46 GMT

Hydraulic Machine: Mani, We cannot say without knowing what type of machine, piston or hydraulic motor. But there are usualy two general possibilities. A worn pump or worn motor/cylinder seals. But valve seals can also be a problem.

The manufacturer of the machine would be your best source of information. The next best source of information would the manual for a similar machine.

Sorry I can not be more helpful.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/20/02 04:48:35 GMT

i am interseted in working with metal, but i only have a small budget to spend. do you know what i can do to get started and what i will need to start being a blacksmith. i am mainly interested in small things right now like rings and othe small trinkets. i await your response.
   kyle - Tuesday, 08/20/02 05:05:52 GMT

Titanium Coated Drill Bits: /// Pretty and Pretty Useless.
You cannot beat the lovely gold colour of those titanium coated drill bits. But there is a problem. The problem is that they are COATED. They work great until the drill bit gets dull. (this takes a while because of the tough titanium coating). The first drill bit sharpening session must abrade through the titanium coating to get a good sharp edge. And we are left with subsequent sharpening of the interior high speed steel core. (only the surface of the drill bit was coated, at the factory, including the cutting end.) So much for titanium coated drill bits. I suppose there is one exception. That is, if the "drller" throws away the drill bit as soon as it gets dull and never bothers to resharpen the bit.
Cobalt alloy steel drill bits are preferrable to High speed steel (H.S.S.), and titanium coated drill bits. But they are pricey.
But sometimes they go on sale.
Last summer, in the G. W. N. (the Great White North = Canada),a local Québec Hardware chainstore had 13 piece (1/16 - 1/4 in.)DeWalt sets on sale for about $17.00 Canadian (about $11.50 U.S.),instead of the regular $29.50. The sale lasted for at least 2 months. I seized the opportunity and bought several sets.
Surely these cobalt drill sets go on sale in the U.S.A. from time to time.
I apologise for not mentioning that sale at this site.
Regards to all,
   slag - Tuesday, 08/20/02 05:36:19 GMT

You came to the right place.
Look in the Navigate Anvilfire listings or on the home page for " Getting started"
Mani; The first place to look is at the filters..clogged filters are the easiest, cheapest fix and you might be lucky.
Prof Undercut ..shocking confession.
   - Pete F - Tuesday, 08/20/02 06:09:48 GMT

Brass /// Bronze /// & More Confusion.
Let me add one more type of "bronze" into the conversation, to help muddy the water a little bit further.
The first bronzes seem to have been arsenical bronzes. These bronzes had no tin content in the "alloy". They were just smelted copper that was a good deal harder than the standard copper metal used in the copper age. These "harder coppers" came from certain ores from a few places and that was all the smelter workers and smiths knew about them. The copper ore of that superior copper had natural arsenic in it (the minerals domeykite and algodonite were probably used). The copper was naturally alloyed with arsenic and that made it harder.
Eventually people realised that tin made even more superior bronze alloy metal, (when alloyed in copper), than the arsenical copper bronzes. Tin bronze was much harder. Because of this, the use of arsenical bronze ceased.
Arsenic, of the arsenical bronzes, has a low boiling temperature and off-gassed readily. Arsenic is a cumulative toxin that slowly poisons anyone who works with it. Smith's did not connect their common physical ailments to working arsenical bronzes for a long time. One of the more common symptoms of arsenic poisoning is lameness.
It is very interesting fact that all of the classical smithing Gods, of ancient times, were depicted as lame. (this list includes the Greek God Hephaiestos, the Roman God Vulcan and the Celtic God Weylon.).
Admiralty bronze has no tin in it either, yet it is called bronze not brass. (even though it has a high content of zinc.)
Is every body thoroughly confused, now? I sure am.
Cooling off in the G. W. N., Montreal section. (see above for the acronym's meaning if you care to).
Regards to all,
And if you have not joined Cyber Smith's International (C.S.I.) yet; please do so in order to help keep this site on the internet. Thanks.SLAG.
   slag - Tuesday, 08/20/02 06:27:47 GMT

I am having trouble finding salvage yards in Portland Or. any ideas? It seems that of all the places to have one it would be around here but no luck thanks,Samuel
   Samuel - Tuesday, 08/20/02 08:30:36 GMT

I am looking for a power hammer around #50 to #100. Any ideas where to look? I am in Massachusetts but will travel a reasonable distance.
   muskettforge - Tuesday, 08/20/02 12:24:57 GMT

Hi I am a martial artis that has newly aquired the hobby of blacksmithing. So far I have atained most of my tools and sertain techniques, but I can't find the right coal. Yet here is the real deal I live in Puerto Rico and I would realy apretiate if you could help me in finding the right coal for my hobby.
   Christian Sanchez - Tuesday, 08/20/02 14:28:08 GMT

COAL: Christian, Even in the US where some of the finest smithing coal is mined it is getting hard to obtain. Currently most North American smiths either pay shipping costs for long distance shipping or travel long distances to purchase coal. 25 years ago I could buy coal localy but no longer. As people stop using coal for domestic heating, less and less places carry coal.

In most of the world charcoal (made from wood) is used. Although charcoal varies in quality with the type of wood it is made from, generaly it is the same the world over.
Because charcoal is low density compared to coal it requires a deeper fire and you use a greater volume of fuel. The deeper fire often means you need a slightly different forge than for coal.

The fuel problem is global. In many locations smiths are using propane because of the availability. However, there are some things you just cannot do with a gas forge and solid fuels are still used.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/20/02 15:01:15 GMT


I live on St. Croix and have the same problem. I did find out that the old alumina plant here has a coal-fired generating station. They use low-sulphur coal they crush to make a slurry to run in the plant. As soon as they are up and running again, I'm hoping to be able to get some coal from them. You might check and see if there is anything similar on P.R.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 08/20/02 19:04:20 GMT

What type of salvage yard?
I live most likely not too far from you. I am in Hillsboro.
   Ralph - Tuesday, 08/20/02 21:22:03 GMT

On the subject of charcaol; There is a movie out entitled "The Charcoal People" about charcoal makers in Brazil. They squalid conditions, work very hard, and make very little. The charcoal is used to make pig iron, which is exported to the U.S., Japan, and Europe. According to the movie, the Brazilian rainforest is being devastated to provide charcoal for steel manufacture. Sounds like history, but it's happening now. So, my question, using mostly hot rolled mild steel and scrap, where is most of our steel manufactured today? Any thoughts on the subject?
   - Kevin - Tuesday, 08/20/02 21:51:27 GMT

Kevin, sounds like history to me. . but you never know. The forests of Northern Africa and the Middle east were helped along to conversion to desert by this process and parts of Europe were devastated by the process before mineral coal came into use. Vast tracts of the North American forests also went to to making iron up until the late 1800's. Which is not that long ago historicaly.

Japan and Southeast Asia supply huge amounts of steel. But the raw materials come from elsewhere including mining the scrap yards of North America. We send shiploads of scrap and coal to Japan and they send back steel and cars. . . I would not doubt that they also buy charcoal made iron from all over the globe.

Leting our scrap and fuel go to another country to use to devastate our steel industry in return is a national embarrasment. We have no long term economic leadereship. Congress and every President since Kennedy has failed us.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/20/02 22:49:26 GMT

Kevin, I,too, wonder how current that movie is. Most modern steel mills (and Brazil has some VERY modern steel mills) cannot use charcoal to make iron. The blast furnaces are designed to use coke. However, many mills use DRI, or Direct Reduced Iron, where pelletized iron ore concentrate is reduced in reactor cells that expose the FeO to high pressure, high temperature Methane. The reduction reaction produces pure iron pellets that are charged into Electric Arc Furnaces. The pellets are melted, alloyed, and teemed into continuous casting machines that make steel slabs at the rate of 250 tons per hour. I really doubt that charcoal could meet the needs of many producers in the world today. However, I agree with the Guru that the American steel industry is in deep ca-ca due to years of neglect, foreign competition, greedy CEO's and shareholders who demand maximum return on their investment. We sold our tomorrow yesterday.
   quenchcrack - Tuesday, 08/20/02 23:51:56 GMT

thanks for speak'n up. I live in S.E. I know where there are acres of over-rollings but I am looking for broken/outdated machines etc. the real "old timers" are too old to get out of the house now, so the places they sent me to are gone.... long since bought for parking lots, housing,or some other horrible fate. any Ideas would be really appreciated.
   Samuel - Wednesday, 08/21/02 01:00:20 GMT

Last election they tried to bring up the failing steel industry in West Virginia. I knew we were REALLY in trouble then. . . when presidential candidates are debating over the corpse as to whether to feed and shelter it. . .
Perhaps that is what is wrong with electing young Presidents. Neither Clinton OR Bush (w) knew about their country. . . Reagan should have known but he was doing the Hollywood thing when in his youth and knew little about the nuts and bolts of what make things work. Carter knew peanuts and farm subsidies. . . Nixon's expertise was legal manuvering and dirty tricks. . . HE was the one that sold out our machine tool industry to appease Taiwan (remember they thought THEY were the REAL China). We are still realing from the consequences of that. . .

Great men. . GREAT FOOLS!

The battles between the steel industry and the unions didn't help. Neither ever wanted what was fair, both wanted it ALL.

And we forget that out steel industry was built to support WWII as were many other great American industries with GOVERNMENT money. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/21/02 01:03:10 GMT

I am 45 yrs. old and live in the middle of Arkansas. I also am about to take a bladesmithing course in Old Washington (near Hope, Ar) I've been collecting my shop tools and my question is about my anvil. I am trying to find out where my anvil was made and who made it.The stamped name on the side is hard to make out. It might be Hay-buden. Can you tell me where this brand was made? Also, on the opposite side,out even with the hardie hole is a "U" and a "2" then a mark I assume is a foundry mark that looks like an upside down "T" with an extra cross. One more Question: On a Hay-buden, does the Name form an arc? At first glance it looks like "Hay-buden" (in an arc), then below that,the word "manufacturing", then the letters "K..YN". If you can help me I would appreciate it. It is about a hundred lbs and I beleive it is a farriers anvil. Thanks, Linden
   Linden Rhea - Wednesday, 08/21/02 01:54:54 GMT

The Hay Budden anvil was manufactured from sometimes in the late 1880'2 until either 1925 or 1926. Their factory was located in Brooklyn, New York.

If you can send me a picture looking from the side and another looking down from the top, I'll identify the type of anvil for you.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 08/21/02 03:19:29 GMT

"forged weld"

Thanks guru for the advise on the treatment of arc welded joints. I'll do and post results. Many thanks again. David
   David - Wednesday, 08/21/02 03:33:28 GMT

That's supposed to be 1880's.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 08/21/02 03:51:13 GMT

If you don't grind, how is the weld blended in? Will grinding show after sand-blasting and painting? Thanks
   - Kevin - Wednesday, 08/21/02 04:27:19 GMT

Thanks for the replies on the steel industry.
   - Kevin - Wednesday, 08/21/02 04:27:51 GMT

Pete F.-- Yup, and know what else? I use an electric-driven trip hammer, too. And an electric drill. And an electric die grinder. And an oxy-acetylene torch. Oh, the shame! Tsk-tsk, as Little Orphan Annie would say. (Or, as Sandy would put it, Arf!) Mani-- the answer to the mystery is: you are experiencing an entropic surge, is all. Happens in my shop all the time. Go in the house and have another cup of coffee. The machine will experience a spontaneous remission. Or it won't.
   miles undercut - Wednesday, 08/21/02 04:51:45 GMT

Pete F.-- Yup, and know what else? I use an electric-driven trip hammer, too. And an electric drill. And an electric die grinder. And an oxy-acetylene torch. Oh, the shame! Tsk-tsk, as Little Orphan Annie would say. (Or, as Sandy would put it, Arf!) Mani-- the answer to the mystery is: you are experiencing an entropic surge, is all. Happens in my shop all the time. Go in the house and have another cup of coffee. The machine will experience a spontaneous remission. Or it won't.
   miles undercut - Wednesday, 08/21/02 04:51:32 GMT

is there an echo in here in here? or what or what? sorry. sorry.
   miles undercut - Wednesday, 08/21/02 04:59:52 GMT

Jock & Paw-Paw: Are ya'll bringing the AnvilCam w/you to Texas? Might be a good way for a bunch of folks to see what everybody looks like, eh?
   Sharon Epps - Wednesday, 08/21/02 05:06:50 GMT

Miles...we sin similarly in those regards so I thought I'd try to shift the onus on you. arf!
   - Pete F - Wednesday, 08/21/02 05:48:31 GMT

Kevin, the point was to FORGE the weld to dress it. Yes, most grinding will show after sand blasting and painting unless you use a fine grit wheel and literaly polish the surface. . THEN you have a shiney smooth spot that will show up through the sand blasting and painting. .
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/21/02 06:26:16 GMT

AnvilCAM: Sharon, I thought about it. It takes a phone hookup to the net. . . and my laptop. . I THINK it still works. I'm not sure Paw-Paw was planning on bringing his video camera. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/21/02 06:29:21 GMT


isn't working.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 08/21/02 12:07:37 GMT

Guru, I will be at Bill Epps Hammer-In, on Saturday at least, and plan to bring my digital camera. I can e-mail you some of the photos to post on the website if you would like. Not as immediate as Anvil-Cam but should help share the fun with everyone. One more comment on the steel industry. If we ever get into another MAJOR war, who will sell us "cheap" steel with which to make armaments? How many friends can we count on in this world? We are importing as great of a percentage of steel as we are oil! You can wave your flag and sing "God Bless America" all you want, but when the last domestic steel mill closes, you better start learning to sing in Chinese.
   Quenchcrack - Wednesday, 08/21/02 12:46:02 GMT

Hey, does anyone know what type of steel lawn-mower blades are made of? TIA

   Del Taylor - Wednesday, 08/21/02 15:59:49 GMT

I will ask around, but I belive that we may be finding more closed places than not. Especially since scrap metal prices are
low. Email me and perhaps we can get together and see what is what.

   Ralph - Wednesday, 08/21/02 16:09:31 GMT

Guru! Been a fan of yours for nearing three years now, and you've helped me out with a lot.. so to start off, thanks! And now for my question ;) (Let's hope flattery gets me somewhere)

I am enrolled in a history class at MTSU and part of the curriculum requres me to write a paper on SOME part of history that we would not necessarily find in a history text book (making our lives just THAT much more difficult). Being as it is where my interest lies, I decided mine should concern the blacksmith.. in this case the Role of the Blacksmith in POST Civil War America (Civil War - Present). To add difficulty to this the paper cannot have internet sources, only books and articles, with a "strong emphasis" on articles. And so, long story short (too late) I need articles and books on the topic, know any? Heh. As of yet I haven't been able to find anything very useful on the topic on my own, and may have to change the topic if you cannot provide any assistance. Thank you all for ANY help you can provide,
Bob "Asgard"
HPL Steele
   Asgard HPL - Wednesday, 08/21/02 16:32:00 GMT

I have welded a 1/4" slice of 1" square silver steel to another piece of steel USING COMMON WELDING ROD but now I am unable to harden the silver steel. COULD YOU PLEASE HELP WITH THIS MATTER?
   godfrey - Wednesday, 08/21/02 16:40:50 GMT

AnvilCAM: QC and ALL,

I will be at the Bill Epps Hammer-In Paw-Paw and I are traveling together. I plan to take lots of digital photos.

The AnvilCAM uses either Video input (camera or VCR) or Digital Video from still cameras with an S-Video port for it. My old Olympus Digital SLR does not. Imagine a top of the line digital camera being old and out dated already!

I had to replace the USB port video adaptor on my PC but not sure if the old one was bad or the video cable to to IT was bad. . . Will try to test the old cable on the laptop. . .

I haven't been running the AnvilCAM because it dominates a dialup connection as well as the PC it is attached to. In order to be sure everything is working you need to monitor from a second PC on a seperate dialup. . . It can be done with a good broadband connection and a faster PC. I never imagined a 450 MHz computer would be SLOW. . . and really is not unless you try to run multiple MS-Windirt programs (one being a multi-media program. . .)

This kind of stuff is not a problem IF you have the budget for it (third phone line, second ISP account, new PC. . .).

But I don't, so AnvilCAM has only been run a few times. Our original plan was to setup dedicated systems on a time schedule at several busy blacksmith shops (in different time zones). It would only cost about 5K per location. Kiwi and I had the system design roughed out but money ran out. Then we went with plan II. Use prerecorded video from a VCR in-house. This works, but besides the problems noted above it also needs someone to monitor the VCR and that the system is operating. . . Even with LONG tapes this needs constant attention. . . Time and money. That is all that is needed. It is just dying for a big bucks sponsor!

There are web-cams all over the world. My vavorite is the one overlooking the Sydney harbor bridge. This one has remote panning. If you are connected at the right time of day you can reposition the camera from your PC anywhere in the world! Really cool. You can watch ships coming and going and traffic jams on the bridge. I never thought to try it during one of their GREAT harbor bridge fireworks displays!

The web-cam feed we co-opted from Flagstaff AZ for our Y2K ABANA conference news is still working. Anytime you check the news there is a different picture of the mountain overlooking Flagstaff. I think the University runs this web-cam. Lots of student labor to do the maintenance.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/21/02 16:44:05 GMT

Bob "Practical Blacksmithing" by Richardson is a collection of articles from a blacksmith's journal in the late 1880's/early 1890's. This book is easy to find but you will have to read through it to decide how it reflects the role of the smith.

One interesting point in it is this is the time of the switch from wrought iron to mild steel and you can read about how folks are modifying their techniques to deal with the new material.

You may also want to look into the Arts&Crafts movement and how it brought "regular" folks into smithing. There were several magazines back then that dealt with this. (note popular mechanics published a blacksmithing book back in 1913 ? with many projects for the home rather than industry---I have a copy and can give the cite if that would help)

"Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork" would be a good source for modern stuff---but there is still industrial smiths out there as well as the hobby ones!

   - Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 08/21/02 16:51:03 GMT

Asgard, If you can get a printed copy of the Centaur Forge catalog, the back half of the catalog is just books about metalworking, ferriery, blacksmithing, etc. Their website might list them also. Failing that, you may actually have to go to a Library.
   Quenchcrack - Wednesday, 08/21/02 17:00:29 GMT

Thank you for such a quick reply! I'm searching now for the "Practical Blacksmithing" book you mentioned, and the cite on that Popular Mechanics book would really help out.

Please keep the info coming all ;)

Was reading some of the back scroll.. and saw that a 10 year old blacksmith made those tongs on iForge? Man.. makes me feel stupid for messing them up bad as I did the first few times hee hee! But what is a good blacksmith without a nice big pile of "Oops!" in the corner of his (or her!) shop, right? (Don't deny it.. every shop I've been in had one, some just hide it better than others.)

Well.. enough fun, back to research. Thanks agian for your help.
Bob "Asgard"
HPL Steele
   Asgard HPL - Wednesday, 08/21/02 17:10:56 GMT


I don't have an "oops" pile.

But the "Aw Sh**!" pile is under the scrap table. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 08/21/02 17:18:06 GMT

History: Asgard, Basicaly what you are talking about is the history of technology after the industrial revolution. Bealer's Art of Blacksmithing is mostly about 19th century (and earlier) blacksmithing. He has a long bibliography in his book. Most old blacksmithing books currently in reprint and a few that are not are about 19th century blacksmithing.

I suspect Thomas and Atli have good bibliographies for this time period though both focus on earlier history.

The catalogs from the three major producers of blacksmithing tools are a good source of information we have reviews of the two CD's we sell as well a reprint. Most large scale North American manufacturing of tools for blacksmiths started during your time frame, came to a peak, dwindled and now on the rise again to supply the largely hobby smith market. Prior to the mid 1800's the bulk of manufactured blacksmith tools (anvils, vises, hammers) were imported from England. Anvils in America has the history of some of the manufacturers and the transition from imported to domestic production.

And as I mentioned the changes in technology are important. Blacksmihs (or inventors using smithing) both created the technology and USED the new technology. McCormic reaper as one example. Welding technology has been the biggest change. Oxy-fuel, electric arc, MIG, TIG, Plasma and LASER are all used by blacksmiths and in the last decade we have an increasing use of computer controled equipment including a number of smiths using PC controled cutting tables. Draw it in CAD and cut it in steel with a plasma torch. . .

This was also during the change from charcoal to mineral coal (in North America) and then to oil and gas forges.

Old industrial catalogs are a prime source of this information. Tools like electric rivet heaters replaced coal forges in high rise construction in the 1940's and were still for sale in the 1950's.

I do this type research all the time. It takes either a lot of time (waiting for inter-library loans) or a budget or both. It also helps to have been a book collector. Most libraries have discarded the books and catalogs you need. . . these end up on the used book market.

My last big research project was the one on musical instruments I wrote about above (8/17 and 8/19). My current project is finding books on locks and locksmithing. Except for the Library of Congress almost no library keeps the old books on this subject. So I have been buying rare books. A risky and expensive way to do research. I've overspent on this project (all the books are in the rare and very rare class $$$) and have ordered books from three continents. I have one left to order but have run out of money. . . All this for the series of articles for the iForge page on locks. . . which will be at least two more "demos" than I had planned as well as some more detailed articles.

I've got a handfull of industrial catalogs spanning from 1899 to 1955. If you want to come make use of my library I am in central Virginia. You may also want to contact tool collector clubs or individual tool collectors in your area (run a small ad). Theses folks often collect old catalogs to support their collecting. Photos of items from their collections would be a nice addition to your research.

I wasn't worth a darn at this when I was in school but have done almost nothing but research since getting out of school. . . such is life!
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/21/02 17:22:27 GMT

Asgard /// Ca. 1900's Blacksmith Books

There are several whole books available on the internet (for free).
!) Blacksmithing by James M. Drew, at http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/chla/chla-idx?notisid=ABP3222
that book covers farm blacksmithing.
2) Blacksmithing: A Manual For Use in School and Shop by R. W. Selvidge & J. M. Alton
At http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/cgi-bin/chla/chla-cgi?notisid=ABN5768
This book, copyright 1927, reflects blacksmithing techniques that were used around 1900 and earlier.
3) U S War Department Education Manual EM 862 Farm Shop Practice at http://www.bin/metalwebnews.com/howto/blacksmith/farmshop.html
Popular mechanics published at least two blacksmithing books that I know of (and probably many more). They are
American Blacksmithing, Toolsmith, and Steelworker's Manual by Holmstrom & Holford. (this title was reprinted numerous times, in the first half of the 1900's (and by many publishers).
And one of Thomas Googerty' s two large books (there is one smaller project Ca. about 1937), entitled Hand Forging and Wrought-Iron Ornamental Work c. 1911 or Practical Forging and Art Smithing c. 1915.
I believe that Norm Larsen Books has reprinted, and is now selling, at least one or both of those excellent titles.
Hope that helps.
Appreciate the site? Help support it or it will tank in the near future. Join C.S.I. Cyber Smiths International. located below here, somewhere.
Regards to 'Tout La Gang", from a sweltering, muggy Montreal in the G. W. N.
   slag - Wednesday, 08/21/02 18:29:39 GMT

I was just SPAMMED by Dunn and Bradstreet (D&B)! Corporate America is desperate!

Asgard, I also have an old original of the Googerty title above. . . hitch hike down to Virgina and do your research next week (I'll be out of town this weekend)! Stop by the LOC an the way home. . . include a travel map in the appendix to your research and you are sure to get an A for effort if nothing else. . .

Speaking of books-on-line. We have the complete autobiography of James Nasmyth (1883) on our story page (I also have a hard copy). Nasmyth's invention of the steam hammer revolutionized industrial smithing and was the key to the creation of the machines of war used in the U.S. Civil War and the manufacturing of blacksmithing tools afterward. His high licensing fees ($1500/per machine) also drove the process of invention in America resulting in the many types of mechanical power hammer that were developed here. The amount was acceptable on large industrial hammers but was many times the selling price of small hammers (up to 2000 pounds).

Pounding out the Profits is a good historical reference on this subject and period.

See our book review page for many of the items mentioned by myself and others.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/21/02 18:49:05 GMT

I just printed the membership app. and will send it today! This is a great resource, and I've gotten a lot from it. I haven't had much money in the past, still don't, but at least I have a job going on now. Which brings me to my question. I have a fence in which the center portion could be made to fit a 5'8" radius. It will have tree-like elements that, in a straight section, some pieces would be about 8 feet long, with leaves. If I made a radius, I would break those down into smaller panels, making handling easier. I have the choice to make it straight, or with a radius(would be a much nicer feature) How difficult would it be to work this organic, art nouveau-type stuff around a radius? Thanks a lot, check's in the mail.
   - Kevin - Wednesday, 08/21/02 18:57:22 GMT

Greetings! I'm a blacksmith of 20+ years experience. My question: Is there a formula for figuring out the size of the holes in the middle & lower boards of a great bellows?

After all this time of using handcranked blowers I thought I'd take a shot at building bellows. The ones I'm building are 18" across the widest point, 24" from back edge to hinge, and I've gone with 3" round ports in the middle & bottom boards. Are they big enough?
   Rick - Wednesday, 08/21/02 18:57:46 GMT

Jock, I didn't know you were interested in locksmithing. I ran across a reprint while doing my homework for the Spanish section of the International Glossary (see FAQs, this site). It is a translation of French to Spanish, dated 1852. The title is, "Nuevo Manual del Cerrajero y Herrero" {New Manual for the Locksmith and Blacksmith}. I ordered it on line with my tarjeta crédito (credit card). Site is http://www.parisvalencia.com e-mail: parisval@ctv.es. The book has nice foldouts at the back with diagrams of lock innards and some larger ornamental work including tools. However, there are no comprehensive key pages to describe exactly what is in the pictures. I paraphrase... my friend, Tom B., from Tucson, "I can't read Spanish, but I can read the pictures"!
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 08/21/02 19:15:20 GMT

Several questions about drill bits:
1. What does the term "Jobber" mean as in "jobber drills"?
2. Where do you get the brand you recommend?
3. What does taper length mean?
4. Does anyone have a recommended set of drills from MSC?
5. What do the various degrees (118, 120, 135) in drill bit descriptions signify?

I sharpen my own bits and asked a grissled old retired navy welder what angle to grind the points to and he held up a six sided nut. That's close enough for blacksmithing I reckon.

   - L.Sundstrom - Wednesday, 08/21/02 19:43:46 GMT


You might think about checking with the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis. They've got a large library, but I'm not sure what access is like for those of you not living in the Mid-South. Their website can be found at http://www.metalmuseum.org
   - Marcus - Wednesday, 08/21/02 21:14:46 GMT

Small Bellows: Rick, You will find those a little small and have to do a LOT of pumping. But the valve size is right. I never ran accross rules for valve openings and just guess by instinct. . . We all breathe and bellows are lungs that breathe (air, life into the fire. . ).

When I built my large bellows (see 21st Century Page), I used four 3" holes in the bottom board and two in the middle. The reason for the larger openings in the bottom is that they are the intake from atmospheric pressure and the weight of the falling bottom boards. The valves in the middle board have pressurized air pushing through them. Internal combustion engines use the same type thing with as much as a 2:1 ratio. So I figured, "why not?". It worked very well. Traditionaly I think bellows valves are the same size.

   - guru - Wednesday, 08/21/02 22:49:12 GMT

I have purchased a peter wright anvil but it has a bow in the surface about 3/16" deep. I would like to have it machined flat and then harden it with a torch,quench with a wet rag to harden it again. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. It has been previously welded.Thank you, Lorne!
   lorne lemaire - Wednesday, 08/21/02 23:10:06 GMT

Oop's pile
The best place to hide the oop's from the shop is in the compost pile.
(insert gratuitious smiley face here)
   - JimG - Wednesday, 08/21/02 23:55:14 GMT

Sharpening drill bits.
Would it be feasible to get a demo in the class room on sharpening bits?
I agree that at $0.75 for an 1/8th inchdrill bit they aren't worth sharpening, but when it's late at night and your far from a store, and you just did something stupid and broke your last one........
   - JimG - Wednesday, 08/21/02 23:58:14 GMT

WOW! I just wrapped up what you experienced smiths would probably call a REALLY *BAD* day.

It was a great day for me though! About a month ago I got a NC Tool forge from Walace Metal Works. Quite timidly and with much hesitation (with visions of my garage launching into orbit) I fired it up for the first time today. Naturaly... I now have a grand collection of innocent questions.

I tried using Jocks method for making tongs. Worked pretty good. I managed to get (what I beleive anyway, forgive my ignorance) a cold shut/shunt. Is there anything I can do to correct this?

I'm going to play amature metalurgist. Started turning a cheap prybar into a knife. That actually seemed to go pretty well, not even 1/10th of the way done, I'll post updates as it progresses. Also, tried to harden a chisel. That uhm... worked... sort of. It was hard... never got to tempering it at all, because the point broke off when I kicked it. Did I overheat it?

Attempted a forge weld. Nothing fancy, bent a peice of 1/4th inch bar over on itself, got it hot, and smacked it. It didn't work. I susspect that I putzed too long in the 2.5 steps it took me to get to the anvil and lost the heat I needed. It did bring up a cpuple of questions though. I fluxed it with borax from the grocery store. It did the little popcorn dance, and then melted, and I'm thinking "hey! that's what it's supposed to do!" A large droplett of melted borax then hit the forge floor and I watched it chew a hole in the brick. I knew (from posts here of course) that melted borax was corrosive, but I had no idea that it was THAT vicious. What can I do to protect my forge floor?

Second question goes back to the weld. I'm pretty sure it failed because of heat loss. I'm curious tho. The surface between the peices I was attempting to weld was scale free and almost shiny. Would this indicate that I used enough flux?

Thanks, and happy hammering.
   mattmaus - Wednesday, 08/21/02 23:59:27 GMT

Peter Wright: Lorne, You have just described a perfect method of ruining your Peter Wright Anvil. When you know how to heat treat a 100 pound block of steel THEN think about what is required to heat treat an anvil made of wrought irona nad steel forge welded together. . .

Use it the way it is. The gentle bow actualy makes it easier to make things striaght. 99.9% of all work is done across the face of the anvil the short direction so the sway does not hurt.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/22/02 00:34:21 GMT

Hardening "Silver Steel" Godfrey, silver steel (to the best of my knowledge) is what we call W-1 tool steel. It should harden easily even attached to another piece of steel. Heat the piece to a low red, test with a magnet. The steel will be non-magnetic when ready to quench. Then quench in WARM water or oil and move it around in a circle eight. At that point it should be hard enough to take the teeth off a file (or the file "skates" off). Now reheat to about 450-500°F (256°C) to temper. It should still be very hard but the tempering will reduce the likely hood of it cracking or breaking due to being too brittle.

IF the steel does not harden using the above method it was not tool steel.

See our FAQ on Heat Treating and the Temper color chart.

   - guru - Thursday, 08/22/02 00:45:20 GMT

Mattmaus, You have had a typical newbie day at the forge. And some of the things happen to all of us. It was not that bad a day. You didn't hurt yourself, set anything on fire that you did not intend to OR wreck machinery.

Cold shuts happen and it takes care to prevent them. Using the twist method of making tongs it helps to round the corners of the fullered place. Try not to reduce the cross section any more than possible (fuller less round more).

Prybars are often made of pretty good steel. 5160 is common. Don't over heat it and don't work it cold. At a low red the stuff can be as hard as your hammer and anvil face. It is an oil quench steel.

Forge weld. I suspect you made ALL the mistakes. Gas forges must be carefully adjusted, vents closed or damped to get a welding heat. Then you need to be sure the forge is well heated before attempting a weld. I've never seen a welding heat in my Whisper Baby but the two and three burner forges are used all the time.

Steel should not be put directly under the burner, it will oxidize faster there. The steel should be wire brushed before fluxing, flux applied before the steel is heavily scaled and then applied liberaly. . . yeah its tough on forges. I don't know what the refractory floor is made of in NC-TOOL forges but it is much more sensitive to flux than common refractory brick.

On small bar like you were welding it should be sticking together when you take it from the forge or it is not hot enough or it has been scaled or burnt.

Your forge should be close enough to the anvil that all you do is pivot or rotate between anvil and forge. The heavier the piece of steel the further you can go. . logic.

Dig out the flux in the forge floor. Fill the hole with refractory patching compound and then seal the floor with ITC-100. If you order the ITC-100 from me when I get back from TX next week I can send you a little sample of ITC patching compound with the ITC-100 (unless you want a full pint). I'm looking for little 2oz paint jars to break some of this stuff up into smaller quantities. . .

To protect your forge floor go to your local tile flooring store and find some hard fired unglazed red clay floor tiles (not white). They will most likely have some kind of finish but you do not want the shiney glass coating. The glass will melt and weld the tile into your forge. These tiles are usualy available in 4x4", 6x6" and 10x10" or so. The stores usualy have left over tiles or broken boxes and you should be able to buy a couple for a dollar or two each. Cut to fit (like cutting glass) with clearance. Then coat these with ITC-100. The ITC will provide a "non-stick" surface that reflects the IR better than the tile. Make some extra tiles while you are at it. The ITC-100 is not necessary but it WILL improve things.

The ITC-100 is much more resistant to flux than the kaolin fibre refractories but as my test (see iForge) showed it IS attacked by the flux. I want to test the ITC patching compounds flux resistance but have not had time.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/22/02 01:18:20 GMT

I was pretty well excited when I posted earlier....

"WOW! I just wrapped up what you experienced smiths would probably call a REALLY *BAD* day" was supposed to be followed by "but from my point of view it was an exceptionaly good day."

And it was... You're absolutely right, no injuries, no fires, no broken tools... in addition to that I had the time to spend doing something I really enjoy, and learned a lot doing it (and learned more since then).

Thanks again for all of your help (past present and future).

   mattmaus - Thursday, 08/22/02 01:36:51 GMT

L Sundstrum,
As I have always understood it, the term "jobbers" was meant to designate a general duty drill. As opposed to a gun drill, or a high helix drill, or a low helix drill, and so on and so forth.
Check my info with Jock, but I believe the taper length refers to the length of the web, which is a tapered culum that seperates the flutes.
The various degrees refer to the angle at which the drill point angle is cut. 118 degrees is the standard, and should be used for most metals, a more severe angle such as 90 degrees is used for soft, non-ferrous metals, plastics, cast iron and wood. A less severe angle, ie 135-150 degrees is used for harder metals.

I would hazard a guess and say that 118 degrees would do for anything that you will want to drill though?
Clear as mud?
You should be able to find "The Technology of Machine Tools" published by McGraw Hill at any college book store. This is a great reference that I use often, and as I remember it, it wasn't horribly expensive either.
   Bond-JamesBond - Thursday, 08/22/02 02:02:24 GMT

If you love this site as much as we all do, I would recomend joining CSI, it is well worth it.
   Bond-JamesBond - Thursday, 08/22/02 02:03:39 GMT

Drill Questions: I let that one slip. But the answers are in your MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK. . . The sharpening gauge I recomended earlier is for 118° points, the standard.

I buy my bits from a place in Lynchburg, Virginia called Valley Fastners of Lynchburg. I've been buying hardware there since the 1970's. They will sell you one #10-32 screw or a truck load of 1-1/2" threaded rod if you need and are just as helpful with either sale. They ARE the BEST.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/22/02 03:55:44 GMT

Anvil Repair:
I've repaired four anvils in the 100 to 150 lb. range usin Rob Gunter's method of preheating, welding and slow cooling (its on the web) and have succeeded each time. The last - completed grinding and polishing this past Sat. - was a 150lb. Peter Wright. Have used it every night this week and has no less rebound and ring than before repair. Was I just lucky or has someone else had experience(s) with anvil repair?
   David - Thursday, 08/22/02 04:30:15 GMT

I no nothing about blacksmith's work but i have some samurai swords that i would like to have sharpened properly and i would like to learn about being a blacksmith so that i can make some of my own things. If you can please let me know where there is someone near Tampa Florida so that i can learn. Thanks
   Larry Paree - Thursday, 08/22/02 04:32:55 GMT

I dont want to step on any toes, but I figure I better pipe up here. The "sharpening" process is quite involved, read-expensive. there are alot of sights on the net that could help you out. but please be careful, there"s some real sharks out there in the sword world. E mail me I can help point you in the right direction.
   Samuel - Thursday, 08/22/02 05:01:20 GMT

Any of you smiths in or around Gainesville, FL? I'm thinking of relocating there and would very much like to find some other smiths to learn and work with/from. In exchange I'll be happy to provide brute force, striker duties. Or failing that, I've been a fencer (sport, not cyclone) for many years and will gladly give lessons.

Also, I'll be driving cross country in the next few months, (California to the aforementioned Florida area), besides the ornamental mueseum in Memphis (and the Kings house) any smithy type tourist spots I should check out as I go?
   Lucky - Thursday, 08/22/02 05:34:27 GMT

you might want to try and find some reprints/ copys of old sears and robuck catalogs they had a lot to do with tools and smithing in the early 1900 right into the 1940s, also there is a small publacation that was put out by south bend on the use of there lathes that might be of help..
   MP - Thursday, 08/22/02 06:40:40 GMT

Anvil Repairs: David, after you have used the anvil every day all day for several months let me know how it is doing. 99.99% of all anvil repairs never get tested in commercial duty. So I don't consider them tested OR the method used tested. There are a LOT of things you can "get away" with. But it doen't mean that its right or that it will hold up. And worse, it may hold up some of the time but not all of time. . .

Any time someone askes if they can machine and anvil flat I tell them NO. Because if they ask they don't know what they are doing and are going to screw something up. Yeah, you can machine anvils, with a VERY heavy duty ver BIG milling machine and very expensive multiple insert carbide cutters. I know people that do it. But they are doing on "the companies" (someone elses) machine. . . something that anyone that OWNED the machine or paid for the inserts would not do. Or if they did, would charge more than the anvil is worth due to the wear and tear on the machine from machining hardened steel. They machine as much as one third to one half of the plate thickness off. . . sure LOOKS pretty. But I don't want one. And people that buy these anvils used in the future are going to regret it.

Welding is the same way. I know lots of folks that do weld repair on anvils. None are tested. And they are sold and re-sold untested. . . until someone starting a business blacksmithing buys one and starts using it every day. Some of the folks doing these weld repairs know what they are doing but others do not. They just want to make the anvil LOOK pretty so they can sell it for more than they paid for it. They never use these anvils and most end up in the hands of hobbiests and see little use. They never get tested. . .

Folks that repair a lot of anvils are buying selling and trading anvils constantly and the anvils THEY keep and use are the best un repaired anvils they can find.

Most of the folks that ask about welding anvils have never welded anything sizable in their life or nothing more critical than structural steel AND then never on anything critical. Even professional welders rarely if EVER do tool steel die repairs and that is what anvil repairs are. The majority asking about anvil repairs do not have a clue about heat treating or the difference between hardening and tempering. They think that because Alex bealer said blacksmith heated their anvils in the forge, dressed them and reheat treated them that THEY can do it. Bealer was wrong. Almost NO blacksmith with any sense would attempt to reforge their anvil. At one time a few anvil manufacturers offered the service. . .but those were people that MADE anvils.

People are nuts about sharp corners. I hate to work on sharp corners. Making sharp inside corners is bad forging practice. Sharp corners chip and ding hammers and mar work. They are just BAD, you don't NEED them. But everyone wants those virgin looking corners and will risk damaging a perfectly good anvil to fix a cosmetic imperfection or graceful wear (or corners that were purposely rounded 50 years ago). It used to be common shop practice to dress all the corners of an new anvil. Heavy chamfers over the body and round edges everywhere else.

I know a few smiths that weld up and grind sharp tips on the horn of their anvils. Anvils did not come that way for a reason. If you bump you leg or hip into that sharp point you are going to injure yourself. Anvils came with aproximately 1/2" round flats on the tip of the horn. Making them sharper is dangerous. It COULD become fashionable for everyone to point their horns. Like sharp edges it would be stupid.

If relatively homogenous heat treated forged tool steel could not stand up to the abuse an anvil has seen, how can you expect a medium carbon weld of various odd crystaline structure applied to tool steel creating hard self quenched layers and soft tempered places to take that abuse?

Yes, anvils can be repaired. But 99% of those that ask about it have no business trying and more then half of those DOING it should not. 99.9% that want anvils repaired have never used one and do not have a clue about what is needed in anvil. They want perfect flat faces and sharp crisp corners and they don't know why except that it will LOOK good. They have no respect for the tool or its history.

Of the hundreds of anvils I have seen there have only been a couple that needed repair to be good useful tools. Here is one.

Anvil to Repair hornAnvil to Repair heal

The middle of the face was also cracked and when ground out had cracked all the way to the underlying wrought. This poor sad anvil was found being used as a weight on a spike harrow. The groove next to the hardie hole is where a strap went through to hold it down. I don't have a clue how the heal got like that but it looked like it had been under dripping acid. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 08/22/02 07:16:23 GMT

I did an apprenticeship as boilermaker /blacksmith some 30 years ago in Australia I am trying to locate a text book that can show me again how to do developement work in sheetmetal templates for cones ,pipe to pipe connections etc where in you did a bench drawing with white wash and then transposed
   Graham Ryan - Thursday, 08/22/02 07:33:27 GMT

Graham, Many drafting (mechanical drawing) text books include sheet metal layout. It is not quite the same but it should be enough to be a refresher.

I just did a search on www.bookfinder.com using the TITLE keyword "sheetmetal" and got dozens of results of exactly what you are looking for plus some very interesting titles like "aircraft sheetmetal, Victorian Era sheetmetal . . . ".

The last book I ordered through bookfinders is coming from Australia!
   - guru - Thursday, 08/22/02 10:37:31 GMT

Guru, You should repost what you just said about anvil repair everytime someone ask "can I weld my anvil up?"
   - Robert-ironworker - Thursday, 08/22/02 13:31:18 GMT

Another thought on anvils, say you just bought a old anvil for $200 and can be used just like it is but you want to pay to have it machined flat or welded up. Paying someone who KNOWS what they are doing will cost another chunk of money so add that to the purchase price. If you are willing to spend money like that and have a messed up old anvil why not buy a new anvil? Mankel Blacksmith Shop sells a fine 115lb & 130lb, Dan at Old World Anvils sells many sizes of anvils at good prices. Buy new ones and leave the old ones alone, you`ll be better off if you do.
   - Robert-ironworker - Thursday, 08/22/02 13:44:56 GMT

Guru on anvil repair
Great feedback. The amvil I used for approx 2 yrs. and the ones we've repaired for others are for "serious hobby" use. Four to five days a week, 3-4hours at a time, moderate to ssmall work. Most repairs were busted worners, but one anvil had a sizable dip and a big chunk out of the plate. This anvil has been I've been using. So far no chips, and no cracks or plate separation. I'll keep you guy's posted on how it performs over the long haul. Thanks again, David
   - David - Thursday, 08/22/02 14:03:15 GMT

Anvil repair: My 125 lb Kohlswa is perfect except for chipped edges and does tend to mar work anytime I use the edge. I made a stake to use when I needed a corner; it works most of the time but not all. I have read and reread most all of the posts concerning anvil repair (Don't do it)and am considering just enough chamfer (1/8 to 1/16th) to clean it up. Angle grinder and belt sander up to about 180 grit. I thought not to try for a perfect edge, just clean up to a 3/8th radius. I am confident that I can do this without changing the temper. Your thoughts?
   Tone - Thursday, 08/22/02 14:25:26 GMT

I used a good Nicholson Mill file on mine, put about a 1/8 chamfer on it, seemed to work fine, but I've got a smaller anvil.
   Bond-JamesBond - Thursday, 08/22/02 15:02:38 GMT

I want to find plans for a power hammer that I can build from scratch.
I am an experenced welder and have done a fair amount of forging.
Thank you for any help that you can give me.
   Wendel - Thursday, 08/22/02 15:34:22 GMT

That is how I dealt with my anvil 9 years ago, and it is doing just fine today.
   Ralph - Thursday, 08/22/02 15:34:29 GMT

Guru, about how many 2oz jars are you looking for? That is if glass with a plastic screw top will do.
   Gronk - Thursday, 08/22/02 15:36:17 GMT


Enjoyed reading your testing of borax on forge liners. I think your method was too "laboratory". In my experience liquid iron scale is far more corrosive. A mix of scale and borax woud be interesting. Just a thought.
   - grant - Thursday, 08/22/02 15:37:32 GMT

To add to Guru's answers For Mattmaus.
FORGE floors. You can also go to a ceramic supply house and get
kiln shelving. It too will be affected by flux, but it makes a good fairly inexpensive replaceable floor.
   Ralph - Thursday, 08/22/02 15:44:34 GMT

Just purchased a coal forge (Buffalo 700) and am looking for suggestions to line it. I found an old thread (2000) that suggested a material called Super HIBond--can't find it anywhere and the source mentioned in the thread is out of business. A local kiln shop suggested a material called Paccocast, a castable refractory. I've also thought about using 1" firebrick and fireplace mortar but it seems that a castable material would be a more elegant solution.

I'd also like to confirm that the firepot itself does not get lined.

Thanks in advance
   Pat - Thursday, 08/22/02 16:18:12 GMT

Ralph, I forget kiln flooring. . . It is a lot thicker than tile which in some of the small forges is taking up a lot of height. It IS better high temperature refractory.

Testing Refractories: I've seen where brass has severely eaten up a forge floor. . but the owner couldn't say how much flux had been used in the same forge. There are other fluxes as well as flourite additives. But I wanted to find out how ITC-100 did and it turns out it does not due as well as I had hoped. My test was designed to be "laborotory" trying to get reliable results. On the other hand I thought using a fine test layer over something that is instantly destroyed by borax was a pretty dramatic test (see addition to test).

JARS, Gronk a dozen to start. But I would prefer plastic. I have an aversion to glass containers used in the shop (been there, my Dad was a big user of glass jars. . .). Also need to look closer at sizes.

Anvil corners: A 3/8" radius is a LOT on a small anvil. Are you sure you don't mean 3/16" resulting in a 3/8" diameter? Chips can have the edges dressed some to get rid of the sharp edges. The result is a wavy but dressed edge. If all they need to be clean is a 1/8" chamfer they are nearly virgin corners NOW. Kohlswas tend to be very hard and get chipped often. Preemptive dressing can reduce the possibility of larger chips.

Anvils tend to get beat up on the side AWAY from the smith. If you stand on the opposide of the anvil you often have good edges. Many smiths learn to use their anvils "backwards" due to this. But pros will tell you they stand everywhere relative to the anvil so there is not true right and wrong place to stand. It is just best to have work that curls around the horn on your "off hand" side so that you don't pull it toward you getting it off the horn. Pros also use EVERY feature right down to the feet to best advantage. Sometimes a defect can become a "feature".

Anvil Flattness: Nice and flat is great. BUT, I have seen old anvils that were smooth and appeared to be very low use that were sway backed or had sloping faces. Anvils were hand supported (with levers and hoists) and manipulated while grinding on big soft stones. They were often not perfectly flat when NEW. It is not until the old methods were replaced by modern machinery that we see truely flat anvils.

I've also seen BEAUTIFUL ancient anvils (200 years old or more) with gracefull sags, dips and kinks that are still in everyday use. They work FINE. . AND it would be a crime to take an arc welder to them.

I have a stumpy old Colonial Era anvil with a missing horn and the face WORN THROUGH in the middle leaving a rough edged hole. Although many would consider it a trash anvil it works FINE for decorative work. I last used it with a group of Boy Scouts. I demonstrated using it and they used it. And I did not worry about them possible dinging it!

I'm sure I could weld it up and make it perfect. I could also replace the missing horn with one made of mild steel. . Make it the right shape but not too perfect. I'm a artist with grinder and file, and I'm sure the results would be undetectable visualy after a little judicious hammering and rusting . . . I could also emphasize the indistinct fith foot while I was at it and burn it a little with a torch to match the body texture.

So what would it be when I was finished? Not the antique it is now. At the current collectors prices for Colonial anvils I'm sure I could get 200 times more than I paid for it and come out VERY nicely on a couple short days labor. . . But WHAT would it be???? What would *I* be?

Most of the old Mousehole anvils are not yet considered antiques or collectors items. But what will they be 30 or 40 years from now? What condition will the ones that have had the top plate reduced from 1/2" to 3/8" or less?
   - guru - Thursday, 08/22/02 17:10:07 GMT

Welding Q?
I know that when welding high carbon/tool steels/ cast iron preheating is required to prevent cracking. Is it necessary to preheat when welding large sections of mild steel (4.25"thick) and if so, why? I have found some very heavy plate that I plan to weld into an anvil, and it would be a whole lot easier if I didn't have to preheat. Thanks
   Patrick Nowak - Thursday, 08/22/02 18:12:12 GMT

Claying Forges: Pat, generaly forges do not need to be clayed or lined. The only reference to "claying" in the two forge catalog CD's we have (see review page) is a small ring of clay around the joint between firepot and pan in ONE foege. This clay ring makes a hump sort of shaped like a small toilet seat. It appeared to be more of a correction to the fire pot shape than a protective measure. But it could be both.

Clay for solid fuel forge floors does not need to be a high grade refractory. Any moldable clay will do. The heat in a bottom blown forge goes UP and the fire bed does most of the insulating. In ceramic clays "white slip" is a very low temperature clay and should be avoided. Red clays and stoneware clays are better.

The clay should be worked up to the consistancy of artists sculpting clay. If the clay is too wet when applied it will crack excessively. Clay is dried by working it on a plaster "vat" (a plate of plaster) that absorbs water as the clay is worked.

Here in Virginia if I wanted to clay a forge I would look for ANY bare ground with "red dirt" and dig up some. Most virginia "top soil" is actually sandy red clay that is used to make bricks. Construction sites where the upper stuff has been removed is best. I'd work it up with a cup of portland cement added to a bucket of clay and try to keep it as dry as possible. Then I would form it into the forge by hand and trowel. On hardening and drying I KNOW it will crack. I'd plan on patching it once before use.

You can use firebrick in the bottom of a large forge but it raises the bed of the forge, deepening the firepot while reducing the coal capacity. Often when brick is used the firepot is raised to give the same relative depth to the floor.

I generally do not recommend claying forges because the clay traps the acidic sulphur residues from coal along with moisture. The combination can reduce the bottom of a forge to rust dust in a few years. The rust is generally worse than heat UNLESS you are building very large forge fires.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/22/02 18:25:04 GMT

Jars: 2 oz plastic jars will be sent tomorrow afternoon to Dempsey's forge unless you'd rather they go somewhere else. Lemme know if there are other sizes needed.
   Gronk - Thursday, 08/22/02 18:35:13 GMT

Welding heavy plate: Patrick, generaly no. Lower carbon steels are not so suseptable to thermal shock. Room temperature or warmer is recommended as apposed to sub zero. The plate rapidly becomes heated as you work!

On critical structures such as piping welds are "post heat treated" to help normalize the structure and eliminate stress that can result in warping or failure due to stress in the weld zone.

What is more critical when fabricating an anvil is full penetration welds. You can do it with a small welder if you make proper weld preps (really BIG V's) and run lots of passes. I run a pass on one side of a joint and then on the other while the work is still hot. Peening is recommended between passes to expand the weld bead a little to reduce shrinkage stress. You can seriously warp a piece of 3" steel plate with a little buzz box welder by running a short heavy bead. . The expansion and shrinkage of metal is a powerful force.

If you are stick welding be sure to CLEAN between passes. Once a hole is created by a slag inclusion it is nearly impossible to weld over. Power wire brushing or using a descaler is best. But I have spent MANY an hour with a chipping hammer and wire brush. . . When you have to clean up your own messes you get better at NOT creating a mess!

4.25 plate will make a VERY nice anvil. Think THICK WAIST. Having the mass under the face makes a better anvil. Cutting out a narrow waist is a waste of material. Keep it simple. You can hard face if you want but if you avoid working cold steel and dinging the face with your hammer soft will be very servicable.

I gotta pack and travel! See y'all in TEXAS!

   - guru - Thursday, 08/22/02 18:47:35 GMT

Gronk, thanks! Mailing address is on the home page and all the sales pages.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/22/02 18:54:18 GMT

Thanks for the advice on welding plate. What I have are 3 pieces 4.25 x 14.75 x 7. What I will do is weld them into a block 7" wide, 13.75" tall and 14.75" long. I used our tilting band saw at work to cut all the corners from the central block. That left a V a bit over 1" deep. (That ended up being 21 lbs of steel that I will have to replace with rod). We also have large steel cones (6.5 base by 12" tall) that I can use for a horn. I am hoping to get a European style horn cut from a piece of 6 or 7 inch square stock on the plasma cutter too. I am trying to see how big and anvil I can make for cheap. Currentl design will look a lot like the nimba (450 lb) but should cost about $200. I am planning to take photos and keep track of cost to share with everyone.
   Patrick Nowak - Thursday, 08/22/02 19:21:30 GMT

Flat and Level

While we are discussing anvils, and having just finished the iForge demo #144 on anvils, it would be a good time to talk about the set-up of the anvil.

No one has yet mentioned anything about the face of the anvil being LEVEL. Put a level on the face and adjust it both horn-to-heel and side-to-side so that it is LEVEL.

With the face level, the metal can lay flat and level (on the anvil) and the hammer can hit the metal properly, flat instead of at an angle.

This brings up another observation. Should the face of the hammer hit the metal flat? If so, shouldn't the height of the anvil be adjusted so that, when the stock thickness that is being worked is placed on the anvil face, the hammer face hits the stock flat. All this is with a comfortable, and proper body position.

This anvil height would be "X" inches for a hammer on the anvil, "X" minus 1/4 inch for 1/4" stock, and "X" minus 1-1/4 inch for 1-1/4" stock. The angle of the hammer would then be "flat contact" for each stock size.

That is not to say we need to adjust the height of the anvil for every change in stock thickness, but to set up for the most common stock being used.

Where is Cracked Anvil when we need him?
   - Conner - Thursday, 08/22/02 19:40:45 GMT

Plastic 2oz containers = fugi film canisters ....come with screw top perfect ... and free from most film developing places
   Mark P - Thursday, 08/22/02 20:45:52 GMT

Yes, 3/16 to a 1/4 diameter is what I meant. The chipped corners are on both sides, worse on the opposite side. I now use it with the horn on the right. The heel edges are in good shape. The only area that will require a chamfer is in the center, on both sides and I thought to blend and feather the chamfer back towards the heel. Sounds like I should dress only enough to prevent further chipping, very likely as there are a few micro cracks.

True blue THANKS for a great technical resource. Have a safe trip to Balch Springs.
   Tone - Thursday, 08/22/02 22:27:57 GMT

Conner, Ref different thicknesses of stock on a level anvil, I just now returned from a day at anvil having used many kinds of blows other than flat. In just making a scarf, I used many angle blows. As for stock thickness, the body adjusts. Your proprioceptors go to work.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 08/22/02 22:58:18 GMT

What could be done in a case such as you hypothesize is: clamp the hammer firmly in the leg vise at the proper angle transverse to the horizontal plane of your shop floor, hold the work, heated to the proper temp, and then carefully lift the anvil and smite the work with the face of the anvil positioned just so. Do this a number of times until the work begins to assume the desired shape. Do not strike cold iron as it may cause cracking. If your arm gets tired, try doing this left-handed for a while until rested.
   miles undercut - Friday, 08/23/02 04:47:16 GMT

lining the hearths of coal forges is a waste of time unless they are made of wooden planks. you heard it here first.
   miles undercut - Friday, 08/23/02 04:53:40 GMT

Most newer anvils have corners that are much too sharp. While having a crisp edge is valuable for rare occaisions, mostly it just causes extra work finishing. The edge of my anvil that I use the most is the one with the softest radius.
Patrick.. be sure to set those plates up on edge, not one atop the other. A horizontal joint will damp the rebound and make forging on it harder work. Consider getting some "fast fill" or " jet rod" for the bulk ( not the root) of those big "V"s.
Just re-uped my Cybersmiths membership...sure have more than paid for it in information gained alone. Anvilfire is worth supporting.
   Pete F - Friday, 08/23/02 05:34:38 GMT

Excellent Miles; That should completely solve both the anvil stand problem and the anvil height/orientation problem....besides, mounting an anvil is so unseemly.
   Pete F - Friday, 08/23/02 05:44:41 GMT

I've had a big iron horseshoe magnet for years. It has gradually lost much of its original strength. Is there any way to restore the magnetism?
   Neal Bullington - Friday, 08/23/02 10:27:38 GMT

Neal, See post on 8/19 above RE magnets. QC's method might work if you coil the cable and yes DC works best if not a brief surge.

Frank, Thanks for reference on lock book. . . now I have another one I HAVE TO BUY! :)

Miles, THAT is what I have been doing wrong all these years and why I don't have "abs of steel"! :)

Wendel, There are no good ones that I know of. See our Power hammer Page catalog of JYH (Junk Yard Hammers).

Radii vs. Diameter: Easy to confuse but can be a disaster. . . Two to one errors are hard to fix. I always ask if there is a question to which is referenced.

At Paw-Paws. . on the way to Texas. . .
   - guru - Friday, 08/23/02 12:13:37 GMT

On the way to Texas, see y'all when we get back.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 08/23/02 12:31:01 GMT

Miles, thanks for clarifying the issue of anvil height. I have finally determined what I have been doing wrong: I have been putting the hot iron on the shop floor and dropping the anvil onto it. This may also explain where all those pointy holes in the floor are coming from.
   Quenchcrack - Friday, 08/23/02 12:33:27 GMT

Role of blacksmiths: I forgot an interesting discussion I once had with a smith who was getting rid of stuff cause he was dying. He had been the resident smith for a hospital during WWII and spent a lot of time making custom braces, struts and other orthopedic items for the surgeons.

As an EE student in the early '50's my Father had to forge a screwdriver as part of his training in engineering.

"Hand Forging" Thomas F. Googerty, Popular Mechanics, 1911
Ran accross another about 20 years further along: "Wrought Iron and It's Decorative Use" Maxwekk Ayrton and Arnold Silcock, Country Life Ltd. 1929

The various issues of "Machinerys Handbook" might give an indication of what a machinist might need to know about smithing over the years.

   - Thomas Powers - Friday, 08/23/02 13:47:37 GMT

Fabricatd Anvils-Pete F.
Thanks for you comment about the plates on edge. I still plan to assemble them horizontally and here is why-Mostly because of there thickness. Also, rempember that several anvil manufactures (Trenton probably being the most famous) assembled the bases and tops of there anvils this way. There is a picture and desription of this in Postman's book. But you are right about the horizontal plate issues-this is particularly the case when trying to reface an anvil by welding on a new plate.
   Patrick Nowak - Friday, 08/23/02 16:22:03 GMT

Patrick Nowak, Heres something to think about, drill a pair of holes in one block and tap for say a 3/4" all thread, this block will be the face of your anvil. Drill the same holes all the way thru the other blocks with a countersunk hole on one side only to let a nut go in so the next block can lay flat. What your doing is bolting the blocks together then welding the V you have made on the edges. I saw roadgrader blades stacked and bolted this way to make a anvil. It sure wouldn`t hurt anything.
   - Robert-ironworker - Friday, 08/23/02 17:45:52 GMT

I have a customer that is interested in a pair of fire dogs that utilize some glass eyes, (say for the eyes of a repousse' kind of dragon of something), and I'm wondering what kind of impact the heat will have on them. Has anyone delt with this kinda thing before? I presume there is a particular type of glass that will hold up well but I'm not sure where to start looking. (Though my next stop will no doubt be google.com) Any ideas?
   Lucky - Friday, 08/23/02 19:53:07 GMT

That is not a bad idea for holding them all together for welding, but I don't have a drill press big enough for that. What I am planning to do is weld a 1" plate on each end of the stack to hold all 3 chunks in position while I weld the sides. Then I will take of the plates from the ends and weld the up too. Some mentioned using a high depositon rate rod for the last several passes. What designation does this rod have? Also, a friend of mine told me that Lincoln now makes a 7018 rod for AC machines. Does anyone have experience with this, and more importantly, is 7018 needed for this application? If not, what would be a lest costly, AC compatable material?
   Patrick Nowak - Friday, 08/23/02 19:53:41 GMT

Patrick, Jump over to the keen junk site and ask Rutterbush, Sweany and the guys. Sweany just welded up a large anvil like yours. www.keenjunk.com should get you there.
   - Robert-ironworker - Friday, 08/23/02 20:48:08 GMT

Netscape versus Explorer, Beche, JYH

As we all use computers to get to this site, it might be relevant. Will I get fewer virusses using netscape? I picked up Yaha.e and it took me a week or more to sort it out, apparently it uses some glitch in explorer even though I have disabled HTML and auto downloads in my email program...

Guru, thanks for the Beche picture. Do you have any website/email adresses for the firm that is now making these hammers? Or snailmail?

As an L5 is a huge step up from a hand hammer and/or striker I decided to make a 40kg hammer. (To practise with until the L5 is installed)

I got the idea from a friend's hammer. The motor is connected to a cam, from which a rod push/pull a flat spring. The spring has a fulcrum in the middle, the other end is connected to the hammer. The fulcrum can be adjusted up or down to allow the use of dies, etc. Cone clutch on the factory model, I thought of using a "slip belt" with a tensioning wheel. Another option is a "Little Giant" kind of setup, but having a full eliptical spring made to spec is beyond my current budget!
   Tiaan Burger - Friday, 08/23/02 22:09:33 GMT

Funny you should ask.... I have been playing with glass with iron for a little bit now. I have been talking with Bullseye Glass in Portland Oregon( near where I live) So far no definative answers. But I have been using plain marbles (solid colors not multi colors). The heat of the fireplace probably will not get the glass hot enough to melt it. Tho you might want to make a test piece and try it.
Last month I was down in So Oregon at a hammer-in and we made a small bulls head and then punched some eye sockets, then slumped in some red glass for eyes. Worked pretty good. Sorry to say but I did not get any pics of it tho.
   Ralph - Friday, 08/23/02 22:18:46 GMT

Viruses: Tiann, most use weaknesses in IE but some take advantage of ANY browser used for e-mail services. The best thing to do is never use a browser fot mail. Use a non-microsoft mail program such as Eudora Lite, Pegassus. . . many others.

Beche' I got mail from the current company as well as photos of new machinery I need to post. Info is on PC at home. Remind me next week.

We are here in TEXAS, had dinner with Bill, Sharon, Leah, Steve. . . . met some other folks here at the motel
   - guru - Saturday, 08/24/02 04:26:16 GMT

Patrick, For most uses a 4-1/2" wide face is plenty. An anvil without layers is much more solid than one that is stacked. If you must stack keep the layers to a minimum. IF I had the kind of plate you are working with I would sculpt a horn on one end leaving a foot under the horn and then add feet to the sides to make more stable.

Look at the drawings on my "cheap anvils" article. The notch for the drilled pritchel hole on the one in the middle is flame cut at an angle and only goes half way across the plate. This removes little material and makes an exceptionaly strong punching hole. Another option for a hardy hole is a piece of 1-1/4" square tubing welded to one side of the anvil. The stuff that is commonly available is just a hair over 1" inside. and 1" hot roll fits perfectly. I would bend a piece of strap and weld on to reinforce the upper edge. This side mount hardy hole will not take heavy pounding but it will support various clapper dies and fuller tools with 1" shanks.

Reporting from Mesquite Texas. . .
   - guru - Saturday, 08/24/02 04:42:31 GMT

The experience I had with my treadle hammer anvil convinces me that horizontal joints gobble rebound...if you must, go for as close to a 100% penetration weld as you can manage.If the blocks are just mild steel, you won't need a 70xx series rod.
On the other hand, if you use either Miles' or Quench's anvil technique, horizontal joints will be fine.
   Pete F - Saturday, 08/24/02 07:05:46 GMT


I am looking for a large axe, around ten or twelve pounds or more for felling purposes. I am 6' 4", 280# and had a large axe when I logged by hand commercially twenty years ago. I need an axe to take advantage of my height, size and horsepower. I have not found anything commercially available. I thought perhaps I could comission one to be forged. I want a double bit center cut axe. I will fashion a handle from ash about 52" long and 2 1/2" at the axe head. My intent is to use it for felling smaller trees in one strike. It will need to hold an edge well. If someone is interested in a paying project, please email me. Thank You.
   Brian - Saturday, 08/24/02 08:59:54 GMT

Is there anywhere on the web that gives a description of how to make your own hand stamps for metal? Like a touchmark for instance, if I wanted to make a simple one in which the mark would be imprinted into the metal, once the pattern is layed out on a proper piece of material, what is the best method of removing the background? I've made simple ones through the use of needle files and am wondering how to do something slightly more complicated. Would it be acceptable to make a tiny chisel and chase it with a hammer?
I would also like to cast some mounts for flintlock guns from yellow (70-30) brass. What kind of brass stock would be the most economical to buy seeing as it was only going to be melted down anyway?
   T. Clark - Saturday, 08/24/02 15:26:48 GMT

T. Clark, Skip Holbrook, a good New Mexico silversmith, used to make complicated silver stamps from annealed O1 using tiny dremel tools to take away the background. Then harden & temper. The Materials Handbook says that the higher the zinc content, the lower the melting point becomes. It looks as though "commercial bronze" @ 10% zinc might work well. For example "yellow brass" has 35% zinc, and would be more difficult to manage.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 08/24/02 16:47:03 GMT

Thanks for the info Frank. For the Brass, only yellow brass will do as that is what they used in the 18th century, and that is the type of firearms I build. Yellow brass is nice to work with, very maleable. I can buy good mounts for $8-10 apiece, but would like to start casting my own as it would allow me more flexiblity in getting the kinds of mounts I want. What I really need is a cheap source of yellow brass.
   T. Clark - Saturday, 08/24/02 17:20:07 GMT

Looking for a formula for kaowool coating for a raku kiln
   shan - Saturday, 08/24/02 19:28:23 GMT


I stopped at a yard sale today and saw an OLD sears and roebuck arc welder for $25. Its 30 amps 220 volts. The wires are brittle and cracked...the seller claims he uses it a couple of times a month and hasnt had any problems, he uses electrical tape to cover cracks as they occur. Sounds scary to me. Are the wires standardized so I could find new ones that would fit? By the way I'm new to welding and am starting a course at a tech college in a few weeks. As a hobby smith I would only be welding 3 or 4 items a week. Just joined CSI, thanks for the amazing resource you provide.

   fishguy - Saturday, 08/24/02 21:42:49 GMT

I am in need of some kaowool. I thought I had read that it was available from the anvilfire store. I went there and could not find it, Is it available through the store? If so how may I order some ?
   Harley - Saturday, 08/24/02 22:10:13 GMT

Any and all,
I am interested in learning to make knives. Can anyone direct me to a school, organization or person. Any advice or tips on the subject would be most appreciated.
   Diane - Saturday, 08/24/02 22:14:01 GMT

fishguy-- Are you sure you are reading the plate right? 30 amps is awfully lowwwwww for output. Make the guy show you it works. Read what it says the duty cycle is. Then run it at the highest amperage it will produce for at least several beads or until it goes belly up. Sniff it to see if's been burned inside from a short. You can always get new leads. There are a jillion old cracker boxes out there for sale. No need to rush on this one.
   miles undercut - Sunday, 08/25/02 00:42:54 GMT

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