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 1 - 8, 2003 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

There are umpteen different alloys of brazing rod, you'll just have to sort through them.
Welding at the lowest temperature the stuff will flow, well covered with flux, with a slightly reducing flame ( if torch) and a single swift pass might help too.
TIG welding using the origonal material might do it.
Both phos and silicon bronze are quite reddish and melt at a somewhat higher temp. but you might be able to puddle a bit of it in some of the yellower rod you are using on a firebrick and forge it into a rod to use.
Lauren, smithing is entirely against the law in California...if someone complains.
As for too much noise...what noise? I don't hear a thing....any more.
   - Pete F - Friday, 08/01/03 04:06:28 EDT

Morning gentle peoples. Metallurgy & industry questions. #1) Is there only one alloy in use in Thompson rod/shaft? And, what is it?
#2) Can case hardening be annealed in order to render a piece workable at the anvil?

I had some Thompson rod in different lengths, 1" to 1.5" in diameter given to me. Free steel is good steel, yah? Trying to find prints or any information on alloy is tough - the poor engineers at my place are in a continuous maelstrom of fear and confusion - but I'll keep trying. Thanks for any light y'all are able to shed on this for me.
   Two Swords - Friday, 08/01/03 08:32:46 EDT

Back from Albuquerque and getting over the jet-lag.


There are at least one or two blacksmiths amoung the volunteers at San Antonio Missions National Historic Site (www.nps.gov/saan/), and I know that they've given demonstrations there in the past. Perhaps you could contact them through the park or its Los Compadres support group. You could also check your yellow pages for local blacksmiths or farriers, who may be able to help you. Good luck.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 08/01/03 08:34:55 EDT

Best Quotes of the Day: And its early. .
"Smithing is entirely against the law in California . . . if someone complains." - Pete F

"continuous maelstrom of fear and confusion" - Two Swords

I don't have a clue what "Thompson rod" is. . .

Case hardening stops being hard at forging heat but the flow of the metal will thin and cause breaks in the thin surface hardening. Afterwards there will be hard and soft spots on the surface depending on how fast the part is cooled. You would need to anneal after foreging to make the part suitable for working cold. Subsequent rehardening is going to be spotty. So if it is something critical it is not a good choice of material.

   - guru - Friday, 08/01/03 08:56:52 EDT

WARNING! HOAX VIRUS! DO NOT, REPEAT DO NOT open mail from admin@anvilfire.com. It is a virus sent by one of those that forge email return addresses.

In fact it is probably using admin@YOURhost.com for other addesses. This one is NEW and my anti-virus software did not recognize it as a virus!
   - guru - Friday, 08/01/03 12:35:25 EDT

I have 24 years metal work (tool & die,machine work, fabracating) and now, 2 in Ornamental.
I want to buy a forge.
Gas? Elec.? WHAT'S up.
gas bill cheaper?
Elec. bill cheaper.
What kind?
I want to scrole 3/8" x 1"
   Mark - Friday, 08/01/03 12:35:31 EDT

not sure if an electric forge is made, at least not for home use. It would be a rather spendy electric bill.....
SO I would say gas or solid fuel( charcoal or coal )
I know that several places sell gas forges. Kayne & Sons comes to mind. I know that PawPaw and Guru have a few product reviews on this site. Read those, and see if that helps.
A coal forge is fairly easy to make, but it will produce some smoke and smell, so depending on where you are planning on using this might have a bearing.
   Ralph - Friday, 08/01/03 12:39:59 EDT

I have 24 years in metal work. (tool& die,machine work, fabracating) and now 2 in ornamental.
I want to buy a forge.
gas? elec.? For utilities
is the gas bill cheaper?
is the elec. bill cheaper?
help Mark
   Mark - Friday, 08/01/03 12:41:11 EDT

Mark, you can scroll 3/8" x 1" cold in a jig. Its easier hot but unless you plan on forging the ends (or more) then fuel for heating the steel is a waste.

The type of forge you use depends on where you are (will your neighbors complain about coal smoke? Is there a local emmisions standard?) and the availability of fuel. Propane is available almost everywhere in the world but good coal is getting harder to find every day.

Fuel costs are about the same. However, you must size the gas forge to the work to be done. A coal forge fits a wide range of work simply by building a bigger fire. Coal is a little easier to weld with but a high percentage of forge welding is now done with gas.

Gas forges are clean and can be run is most well ventilated shops without a stack (high ceilings, doors and windows open, plus a fan). Coal and oil forges MUST have a good stack.
   - guru - Friday, 08/01/03 12:46:24 EDT

I want to taper the ends and do some fish tailing and i may also buy a trip hammer some day. I have a 400 gal. propane tank at my business. Down here in Mississippi (EPA, WHAT) .I would like to make a forge if i had some instructions.
I am "the" GREEN HORN about forges.
do you not use gas to start your coal or charcole fire.
Thanks Mark
   Mark - Friday, 08/01/03 13:31:17 EDT

Kick A**! I get some points for best quote! The worst thing is, of course, that it's just bald truth. Those poor folks are terrified to make a decision, aye, some days even showing up might end their careers (at least in that corp.).

Thanks for the heads up on case hardening guru. Like I said, it was free, and lately I have been cautiously dipping my toe into the powerhammer end of the smithing pool. I liked the size of them for making tools out of. I *think* that Thompson rod is some proprietary name for a rod which has been hardened a certain way. It's equally likely that Thompson is just the name of the company where my employer bought them from. I bet the Warren Commission alone has the full story by now. Grin. In all, this does NOT sound like something I want to trust to multiple rapid blows from even a light weight powa hamma. Did the rest of you all know that? Stop that snickering!
   Two Swords - Friday, 08/01/03 14:15:28 EDT

I would probably go with a propane forge. Kayne and son sell the Forgemaster line. I have not idea of how they rate.( the forge that is) http://www.kayneandson.com/
Also NC Tools sells a line of forges. Whisperbaby/WhisperDaddy etc.
A coal forge is easy. All you need is a firepot, and since you have the tools you can make one from 1/4 inch plate and 3 inch pipe(air in) and make a hearth or table. Some sort of blower. And as Guru said need a way of removing smaoke and other BAD gasses...
BTW there are several active smiths in MS that I know of.
And most are usually on the anvilfire Pub ( a chat forum) But I think the Pub is still down due to some mich needed upgrades being done by Guru.
   Ralph - Friday, 08/01/03 14:23:11 EDT

Building Forges: Mark, Gas forges are not hard to build if you have an eye for details and read all the instructions. The Ron Reil site has lots of info on forge building and we sell kaowool and ITC products to use with it. Go to our plans page (disregard the simple blower burner unless you are building a BIG forge). There are links there to varius gas forge topics as well as the Reil page.
   - guru - Friday, 08/01/03 14:47:46 EDT

Thompson rod:

I wonder if that might be the rod (shaft) from Thompson linear bearing slides? If so, it is probably heat treated to surface harden it, possibly made from medium-carbon steel or even 400 series stainless.

Gas forges:

If you build a really good burner, a la the T-rex type, you can make a homemade gas forge work quite well and reach forge-welding temps easily. A properly designed forced-air burner does the job easily, too. The forge itself is basically just an insulated firebox, with the major concern being getting stock in and out without having too much port area that will decrease the needed backpressure.
   vicopper - Friday, 08/01/03 15:10:58 EDT

Gas forges.....
The only reason I was talking about buying, is that I thought that Mark was looking at a forge for a business. Seems in the long run buying a forge is more economical than building one.
   Ralph - Friday, 08/01/03 15:38:47 EDT

Dear Anyone,
The hammer spring in my muzzloader broke, as it is just a straight part I am just going to make a new one myself and save the 9 bucks on the part and 10 dollor shipping. Should I be using a high carbon steel or low and what should I draw the temper to or should I just leave it normalized??????

Boy I hope this dont wreck my hunting season...
   Dave - Friday, 08/01/03 16:45:47 EDT

guru, some time back i asked you about a "tight" fly press screw. i cleaned the screw and receiver and it has improved quite abit, but it is still a little tight, especially @ max depth or stroke. should i:

1)"keep working it, it will progressively loosen up." or...

2)"try some loctite clover compound, which is a grease containing silicon carbide (available in various grits), on the screw and work it a few dozen times. clean off of screw and receiver, and give 'er a try. (grit # 280 about right?)

i am beginning to think that the receiver is the problem. it, as you know, is cast iron. ci is softer vs mild steel, correct??

thanks moocho.....
   rugg - Friday, 08/01/03 17:43:53 EDT

Rugg, clover seating compound is a good way to get that screw stuck so that it will never move.

Cast iron varies as there are many different types. It is hard and brittle copmared to mild steel.
   - guru - Friday, 08/01/03 19:46:12 EDT

DARYL For my 4 x 6 bandsaw I have been very happy with the Starrett Matrix II blades that are less expensive than the bi-metal blades. They make them in a variable pitch and I have both the 10-14 and the 14-18 pitch blades. For thin stuff I take the time to change to the 14-18 pitch blades. These are available at MSC. My saw came with an Import blade and the change to the Starrett blade was like coming out of a dark tunnel.
   John M. - Friday, 08/01/03 19:59:25 EDT

I want to add about 3/16ths by 3 inches of metal to a lock face plate. The plate is modern cast steel. What is the easist way to add material.
   David Fanning - Friday, 08/01/03 20:37:30 EDT

being always on the look out for a deal, I was in a local scrap yard today admiring 400,000 ton's of scrap iron headed off shore to return as new automobile's. Sticking out of the bottom I spotted a 6" diameter solid steel bar that had been some kind of power shaft mounted on huge pillow blocks. It looked about 8 feet long. Had I been able to extricate this thing from the pile and get it cut up into 18" long segments it would have made lovely "knife" anvils for whoever is inclined. As I drove home I began to wonder if perhaps it's worth my time and effort to go back next week and talk the yard Foreman into pulling this thing out and loading it on my trailer. What's the value of a billet of 6" dia solid steel 18" long - anyone know? Any guesses what something like this might weigh?
   Jerry Crawford - Friday, 08/01/03 20:41:29 EDT

Jerry, Scrap steel price, what the yard might pay you, is probably 0 to cent to 1 cents per pound if you're lucky, but it can vary. If you are purchasing, make an offer. 6" D. round steel stock weighs 96.13 pounds per running foot.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 08/01/03 21:01:17 EDT

Lock Face Buildup: David, Without destroying the lock the only way I can think of is to drill and rivet the plate on. You will need to completly dissasemble the lock and study its construction to determine where rivets would fit and not interfere with the works. The exterior of the rivets would be countersunk and finished flush. The interior head of the rivets could be left with the heads exposed as long as they did not interfere with the works. To get a good distribution of rivets you may have to countersink some of the interior heads.

It might be possible to weld the plate on depending on the lock type and how the plate fits. However, any welding or brazing may warp the lock to the point that it nevers operates again.

   - guru - Friday, 08/01/03 22:12:10 EDT

Flypress Screw Rugg, That press has a fully engaged thread on the screw at all times. If the problem was the external thread it would be tight all the time. I expect the screw is bent, tapered or the thread is bad. In any case it is a matter that should be handled by the supplier. You have a defective machine. Repairing the power thread is a major repair. It is something you might do on a piece of abused junk you picked up for 10% of new but NOT on a new machine.
   - guru - Friday, 08/01/03 22:29:07 EDT

Dave, I'm assuming your mainspring is a flat spring and not one of the newer coil springs. I've made flat mainssprings, sear and frizzen springs using spring stock cut from an automotive leaf spring, after getting the finished shape (you may need to anneal it after forging and do some finish file work while it is softer), heat it back to a cherry red, quench in oil, polish it up so you can see the color, and temper it to a deep "spring" blue.....it seems to take a couple of tries before I get a new spring that doesn't break on me. I'm sure more experienced smiths on this site will have a whole lot more to say on this subject, but hopefully this will get the ball rolling for you. What do you hunt with your muzzleloader and what kind is it?
   Ellen - Friday, 08/01/03 23:09:32 EDT

Hi, I've been an avid knife thrower for years and have finally have a small shop in which to make my own knives.
For my first attempt i picked up some common steel stock from the hardware store 1.5 x .25 inch and I just got some files, hacksaws and a vise and went at it. I've got three patterns cut out and sharpened 16 inches long with a traditional throwing knife shape, balanced a tad heavy toward the front. They throw wonderful. but as you probably have guessed they are really too soft, even for a palm half round.

My questions are:
Should I test the composition of the steel? (I'd be willing to bet I'd be in for a disapointment probably garbage) and if so how do i do that?

Are there any plans out there for a homemade(cheap!) furnace (or other method) to get the steel to the critical hardening temp? I figure I can temer them in my gass grill.

I'm not planning to mass produce these but make them slowly by hand with nothing but hand tools(to a reasonable degree)
And I figure that throwing knives do not need to have an edge holding hardness but do need to resist bending and breaking.

Beyond that ANY advice on any aspect of my project would be greatly appreciated.

by the way my jaw just about dropped apon finding this site TONS of great info.
   Mark the Thrower - Saturday, 08/02/03 01:21:39 EDT

To simplify...the determining factor in how much steel will harden is carbon content... The faster it is quenched from hardening temp..the less carbon needed...but
The steel you bought probably doesn't have enough carbon to do what you want. A good target would be .4% carbon or so.
The best way to do most of the shaping is hot forging...doing it all with a file will drive you crosseyed after a while...that's for finishing.
Look under the plans page and getting started for a cheap homebuilt forge ( here on anvilfire)
Were it me, scrounger that I am..I would probably use some leaf or coil spring for forging stock and then anneal it ( cool very slowly in fine dry ashes or vermiculite)..which should give you the toughness you want...otherwise, air hardening followed by tempering to deep blue should work if you want it a bit harder. ( see Ellen's post above)
In heat treating, you are trying for a balance between hard and brittle VS soft and tough. You have the soft end covered already. Dive into Anvilfire..all you need to know is pretty much here.
I'll bill you for this info in the mornin.
   - Pete F - Saturday, 08/02/03 03:57:28 EDT

6" Steel Shaft: We use a lot of material like the one described as shafts to turn the rolls on a 16" pipe mill. Most of the material seems to be 4140 or 4340, which could indeed make a nice anvil. If you manage to extricate the piece and want to cut it, be aware that if it is 4140 or 4340, it should be pre-heated prior to torch cutting or welding. Both alloys are very hardenable and are prone to cracking due to thermal shock and re-hardening after application of high heat. Cutting with a bandsaw would be preferred.
PeteF: Nice summary on heat treating. However, if the steel is really low carbon, it might still be salvageable. If edge-holding is not the issue, simply heating to a bright cherry red and brine quenching would develop a skin of low-carbon martensite which might be sufficient to prevent bending. I would probably not bother with tempering. If the bladestock was typical of hardware store steel, it is probably in the .20% carbon range which, as you said, is not enough to get very hard.
   Quenchcrack - Saturday, 08/02/03 08:24:36 EDT

Gun spring. If you use a piece of leaf spring, sometimes you can just let it air cool from a bright cherry and it will have enough spring. Many of the leaf springs are alloyed with silicon, manganese, and chromium, for example 5160, so that the springback is sorta-kinda built in. If you harden in oil, you might heat the small tong jaw tips to a cherry red where they make contact with the spring, because room temperature tongs can be a heat sink causing a harder zone where they touch the spring. Unalloyed high carbon steel like drill rod of about 1% carbon can be used. After oil hardening, the spring temper on many charts is often listed as pale blue (sky blue) 590F, to 630F gray-green (ocean green). This is a matter of experimentation to see what works best.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 08/02/03 09:04:55 EDT

I have a 19th century cast iron forge with a foot-operated, belt-driven blower. The belt for the blower is missing. I assume the original was leather. The belt passes beneath the combustion area of the forge and gets pretty hot. I tried to use a plastic, nylon reinforced composite belt which quickly melted and caught fire. What type of belt should I be using? If leather, is it customary to keep this wet? This is my 14 year old son's forge and a new hobby for him. We are novices. Thanks for your help. Also, what type and size coal do you recommend?
   chris - Saturday, 08/02/03 09:46:31 EDT

QC - steel shaft.
I'm clear about segmenting the shaft. If (and that's a big IF) I can get my hands on it I was going to hire one of the local steel yards to saw it into 18" segments for me on their yard band saw and let the new owners dress off the business end. I've read a number of entrie's that this type/shape anvil is sought after by armorers and knife makers and thought this might be my chance to help out a few of them farily inexpensivly ??? .


Dave - gun springs - I know one or two men who make their living as firearms restorers - mainly pre 1830 type of shooters. If your interested in paying for a good new spring I can put you in touch with one of them.
   - Jerry Crawford - Saturday, 08/02/03 10:10:01 EDT

Leather Forge Belts: Yes the old ones were leather. You can still buy industrial leather belting from outfits like McMaster-Carr (on-line) and any good old city industrial or machine shop supplier. Look under "power transmission" in the yellow pages. The trick is getting the right length. Leather belts stretch, shink and change from changes in the weather and being under load. It helps to take the belt off the pulleys when not in use to reduce stretch when not in use.

Most places that had flat belt machinery (especialy leather) had tools to splice the belts and adjust them as needed. The method is called "lacing" from the early technique of using laces to connect belt ends. Glueing was also used and is still used on modern belting. During the hey-day of flat belt machinery various companies came up with patent metal lacing that was fast and easy to install. This was necessary to keep leather belts in good operating condition as the length is constantly in need of adjusting.

One of the best "patent" belt splices is made by Clipper. These use a series of metal wire clips or staples that make an interlocking series of loops that a pin is inserted into to connect the two ends of the belt. However these require a special machine to install. Most industrial belt makers have the machines and so do many shops. I have a heavy duty floor model that I picked up at a sale. They are also made in bench and vise models. McMaster-Carr sells both types.

One advantage of Clipper lacing is that the part that grips the belt is short. The clips extend only about 1/2" up the belt. If the belt length needs adjusting you can shorten it by 1/2" buy cutting the lacing off one end and putting new on.

You often see wire pins on Clipper lacing. The original pins were hard compressed oil soaked rawhide. The modern replacement is teflon coated steel wire. Both are designed to prevent wearing out the lacing as it flexes back and forth. The raw hide pins work best on leather belting but modern cloth reinforced rubber belts are tensioned much higher and need the steel pins. I was lucky enough to purchase a package of rawhide pins back when they still made them.

Glueing WAS and commonly still is used in industrial belting. There is an art to it and some special tools necessary. The ends of the belt that overlap are tapered (skived) so that there is no lump in the joint. The amount of overlap is usualy equal to the belt width or a little more. Then the the belt ends are supported in a clamp to hold them in alignment. It was common to use this clamp in place and tension the belt with it to get a perfect length and an absolutely straight joint. Then the ends were glued using another clamp to hold the joint tight while the clue set. On modern nylon rubber belts the ends are welded in a special clamp that has heating elements in it. The end preparation is the same as for leather.

A generation ago you go to almost any machine shop, grist mill or factory and ask if they could splice a belt for you. Most had the Clipper machines and would help you. Today you need to find an industrial belting supplier or someone that deals in old flat belt machinery. The steam tractor guys are big into this type of thing.
   - guru - Saturday, 08/02/03 11:22:04 EDT

damn GURU - is there just no end to your wealth of knowledge? How about a solution to the crisis in the mid east
   - Jerry Crawford - Saturday, 08/02/03 11:30:24 EDT

Type of Coal: Chris, Blacksmiths need and use the "best" coal which is not what is often available localy. See our Coal and Charcoal FAQ. It also pays to order a bag or two of good coal from Kayne and Son or Centaur Forge so you have a reference as to what "good" coal is like.

Blacksmiths use "nut" and stoker size coal. Nut coal is roughly the size of walnuts and stoker is the size of gravel.

Your melting the belt leads me to believe you overheated the forge. Perhaps you were using charcoal? Or you let the fire get out of control. A forge fire is kept small and centered over the tuyere. Water is often used to control the fire but it must be carefuly sprinkled on NOT dumped. Cold water will crack a hot cast iron forge pan in a New York minute. Most smiths have a can with holes in the botton on a long handle to gently sprinkle the water. I make a handle with a flatend springy loop that fits soup cans. The cans rust out quickly so having a handle that alows easy replacement is handy.

Many of these old forges were labeled "clay befor using". Any water based clay will do (mud). A layer about 1/4 to 1/2" is applied to the inside of the forge pan to insulate it a little. This sometimes prevents thermal shock from damaging the pan. Some smiths clay their forges but many do not. In this case the clay MIGHT help the over heating. If the forge has a flat bottom and shallow fire pot the clay is mounded at the joint around the fire pot to help control the fire.

Typicaly fire maintenace is something you learn from experiance. But here are the basics.

You start with a clean forge and fill the pan with coal. Then you start the fire using paper and a little wood kindling (good dry coal will start with paper). Build a mound of coal over the kindling. As the center of the fire burns out you push new coal toward the center. Coal cokes down (the volitiles are burned out) around the edges of the fire. You want to push the coke into the center replacing it with fresh coal. If the fire spreads to the sides you sprinkle it with water. Coal that is burning out of the hot core is wasted coal. All you want is a ring of about 2 or 3 inches coking down. Outside of this you are wasting fuel.

Depending on the quality of your coal you will get clinkers (consolidated ash lumps) every few hours. These will need to be removed from the fire and the fire rebuilt every so often. Good low ash coal will go all day. Poor coal only an hour or so. In good coal the ahses consolidate into clinkers and in poor coal you just get fly ash (or HUGE clinkers). I use a simple poker called a "rake" that has a little up turned point to hook to and remove clinkers.

Before staring a new fire for the day you should pick through the coal and remove the clinkers from the day before. Much of the ash goes down the tuyeer into the ash dump but not all of it. Every couple days (depending on how much you work) you need to clean out the entire forge and start with fresh coal. Usualy you hand pick the good coal out of the waste bud some coal is always lost. In a busy professional shop the forge should be cleaned and started with fresh coal daily. But there is a big difference between a hobbiest's and a professional's needs. However, when most smiths clean out their forge, they leave a layer of coal fines and ash in the bottom to help insulate the forge.

IF your forge is stored outdoors you need to remove ALL the coal and ashes daily. Rain water leaches sulphur compounds from coal and especialy coal ash producing a corossive electrolyte that EATS forges. It is worse than salt water or most other chemical corrosion.

So, now you have a cuople fire tending tools to make as your first project when you get your forge going.
   - guru - Saturday, 08/02/03 11:58:26 EDT

Jerry, It the result of a "wasted youth". . . . and too many hobbies.

Typos. . I am still wiped out from the server setup battle. . . And things are still broke. Kiwi says he will get to the chat soon.

We are having trouble with the store not sending recipts. The CC system responds but the store doesn't send a copy of the order. The orders ARE being recieved and recorded fine. The mail is just not going out. . .

VIRUS WARNING The "admin@mail" warning I gave is for a virus that my anti-virus software SHOULD have detected called "W32.Mimail@mm" a mass-mailing worm. But it did not. That just goes to show how that you cannot rely on anti-virus software. You have to KNOW not to click on suspicious attachemnts or not use MS-OE for mail services.

I got a flurry of these admin mails and then they stopped. So who ever had the virus either killed it OR it killed their machine. . .

Member System: If you are having trouble try clearing your bookmark and creating a new one. It should go to anvilfire/members/ and nothing more specific.
   - guru - Saturday, 08/02/03 12:13:33 EDT

Whoops. . that is www.anvilfire.com/members/ more typos. . .
   - guru - Saturday, 08/02/03 12:15:41 EDT

Thomson rod -
Vicopper, you get the cigar. Right in one. I had to dig a little bit but it looks like we buy them from MSC or maybe McMaster. I would have to find original packaging if I wanted to know what they were made from. This probably makes me look a little stupid, but...they're so perty and shiny that I can't tell if they're stainless or not. MSC sells them in both, and the 440 is case hard to 60 HRC. I've got some of the older ones they tossed out too - maybe make driveshafts for grinders or buffers. I even thought about trying to make contact wheels out of them, but not sure how to get them to "crown."
   Two Swords - Saturday, 08/02/03 12:49:18 EDT

Mark the Thrower -
As has already been said, there is a huge amount of information to be had here. I hope the forge plans are to your liking. Another resource which you may useful is a pair of books which I will suggest. Both deal with stock-removal methods of knifemaking. First: "How to Make Knives," by Bob Loveless and Richard W. Barney. Loveless is a legend in the knife world, and AFAIK has only ever made stock-removal blades. Lots of good stuff in that book. Second: "The $50 Knife Shop," by Wayne Goddard. Goddard is a Master Bladesmith in the American Bladesmith Society and really knows his stuff in forging blades, but he also deals with stock removal methods in this book and has a good section on heat-treating for knives. He's one of the few "hammerheads" in the ABS camp who will discuss stock removal as a viable way to make a really good knife. Well, ok, third, also by Goddard, "The Wonder of Knifemaking." More of the same. All great resources.

Sorry for the double-tap, Jock. Thanks again for the case hardening advice.
   Two Swords - Saturday, 08/02/03 13:02:48 EDT

OK, time for Paw Paw to get in trouble again. Jock is probably going to get on my case for saying this, but I think it needs to be said.

> As has already been said, there is a huge amount of information to be had here.

Yep, there's a BUNCH of information here. Jock could quit adding new stuff, and spend a month or so fixing all the error that the move caused, and answering the questions that he gets in e-mail (more than he anwers on line), and let the rest of us answer questions and refer folks to the archives and most of the new folks would never know the difference.

But he won't do it because, like most of us, he's too durn stubborn. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 08/02/03 13:22:31 EDT

Plus it's about time he took a week off, went to the beach and watched the bikini's!
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 08/02/03 13:23:25 EDT

I have a client who wants a wrought security fence...hammered point, peirced bar...He has also requested I install a roller with sharp spikes protruding along its length...the idea being that if the fence is scaled, and the intruder grabs or steps on the spikes, they will roll...have any of you ever had to fab/forge one of these? looking for construction and installation tips, and also how to price the spiked rollers...any help will be appreciated!!! thanks........Jason
   jason robin - Saturday, 08/02/03 14:33:24 EDT

Lacing belts. The good ol' boys from the farms and ranches out this way call baling wire "John Deere Leather lacin' ".
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 08/02/03 14:59:55 EDT

More about the "admin" virus Pete sent me info about it so I tried another "up to date" virus scan. . Missed it too. Folks don't listen to ME. Anti-virus software is brain dead stupid moronic junk. The only viruses they stop are OLD ones. Change one byte of data in the signiture and its a "new" virus. . . The only virus protection is YOU. If you use MS-OE you WILL get caught eventually.

Paw-Paw sent me a link about it from CNN. In the middle of the article was THIS:
In an unusual move Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security joined antivirus and computer security firms in warning about another vulnerability, this one in Microsoft's Windows operating system software.

The flaw, involving so-called "buffer overflows," can fool software into accepting insecure commands that could let intruders remotely take control of someone else's machine, with free rein to destroy or reformat the hard drive, create or destroy files, or scan the machine for passwords, financial or other personal information.
Now this is all fine and dandy but it is OLD news. Hackers have been using this on every Microsoft server in the world (they scan them ALL) for several YEARS. It is OLD news. What is new is that if you have WinXP you have a server by default. Hook it to any full time internet connection (ISDN, Cable) and you will instantly be under attack from hackers the world over. THIS was a better idea from Microsoft. . . Microsoft added to the problem by allowing these servers to use a system that does not report its address. Sounds like better privacy eh'? . . But what happens is when a hacker hacks one of these machines they have a virtually untraceable portal to do whatever mayhem they want AND it is on a high speed connection. Untraceable hacker portals. . . A better idea from Bill Gates.

The Internet security folks screemed foul before the release of XP but Bill Gates insisted it was a "better way". . . Yeah, hacker (and terrorist) heaven.

Bill Gates and Microsoft is a bigger threat to our national security than all the terroists in the Middle East. When the governement won its anti-monopoly case against Microsoft is SHOULD have been broken up. The smaller entities not under the direct control of Bill Gates would have to COMPETE in a real market where bad software full of security holes is either fixed or dies.

So now we have a NEW national security beaurocracy that doesn't have a CLUE about the problems with Microsoft software. . . I'll bet they use MS-Office and MS-OE. . Hacker heaven.

   - guru - Saturday, 08/02/03 15:34:25 EDT

Jerry, Yeah, there is a limit to the Guru's knowledge....I'm still searching for it....gonna ask a question about gynocology just to test him......
   Quenchcrack - Saturday, 08/02/03 16:37:35 EDT

Spiked Rollers?: Jason, Why not just 10,000 Volts. . . ?

The first question is, How good is YOUR insurance?"

Years ago most smiths stopped making sharp spiked fences for legal libility reasons. There is a very high probability of a minor getting hurt or killed on a man trap fence and everyone involved in its construction and installation (not just the owner) will be defendants in the law suit. Better be sure that the contract assures that the owner, heirs and asigns agree to pay any and all legal fees and claims against you and your heirs forever. . .

Durring the Middle Ages they made locks that had little guillotines that chopped off a thief's fingers if they tried to pick the lock. . . The problem was that if the owner put the wrong key in the lock he might get the same treatment. We are a little more civilized today and TRY to use more common sense.

You may also want to check about the legality of the construction. Many localities have laws governing dangerous fences.

You ever see "loafer rail"? Its a forged rail with spikes that keeps people sitting or leaning on it. At least it USED to have spikes. The stuff made for the last 30 years or so has had rounded bumps. It is uncomfortable to set upon but not impossibly so.

Ever hear the saying "Locks are for the honest"? Fences are generally just an obstacle that slows down entry but does not stop it. Give a teenager a good reason to get over it and you would think that fence was not even there. Want to cross a fence toped with razor wire? A couple wooden pallets and an old mattress and its like it is not there.

The best passive fence is one that has curved bars at the top that extend outward so that the climber can not get a foot hold at the top and is left hanging. They have largely replaced spiked fences.

I could see smooth rollers to prevent hanging on the top rail. The rollers will need non-metalic bearings to keep them free and prevent corrosion. Spikes or obstructions are a welding job.

To estimate this is like any other estimation job. Make a drawing, figure out the parts and materials, guestimate the time for each operation, total up and then multiply by three. Don't forget the cost of the lawyer and legal research.
   - guru - Saturday, 08/02/03 16:45:59 EDT

QC, I was (happily) married for 28/30 years. . . and I have a daughter, that answer your question?
   - guru - Saturday, 08/02/03 16:49:53 EDT

28 or 30? Don't you know which? I've been married 30+ years, just not to the same woman! Like when Za Za was asked how many husbands she had had. Alway answered "You mean of my own?".
   - grant - Saturday, 08/02/03 17:26:53 EDT

I've been married for 34 years to the same women. I still have gynocology questions, just none I can ask in polite company.
   Quenchcrack - Saturday, 08/02/03 17:45:48 EDT

I like spiked fences for aesthetic reasons, and photographed a few while I was in England. HOWEVER; I also remember a picture from an old LIFE magazine where a boy slipped on ice and rammed a spiral spiked tip of a shoulder-high fence through his hand. They had to saw it off and remove it at the hospital.

At the NSA they have a fence with outward curved hollow stock, and then the spikes are inset in the ends, probably with non-standard set screws. This is one of the places where Uncle Sam wants you to "just go away". I also suspect that should you manage to get over the fence unpleasent consequences of the canine or balistic kind may await.

T-storms are coming, so I'd better unplug the computer. I'll try to scan some photos for the Guru of some of the "imaginative" English ironwork later this evening.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 08/02/03 17:47:44 EDT

Bruce, Does your home email addy work? I sent you a message, but it went to NPS, and you probably haven't gotten it yet.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 08/02/03 18:10:01 EDT


And like this is "polite company"?
   - grant - Saturday, 08/02/03 18:42:30 EDT

Married 28 seperated 2 (still legaly married) but dated for 5 years prior to getting married so it seems like 50 . . .
   - guru - Saturday, 08/02/03 19:18:19 EDT

34! QC I thought you were only a little older than me.

   Mills - Saturday, 08/02/03 20:53:43 EDT

Just a bunch of kids! I've got children older than you guys have been married! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 08/02/03 21:14:31 EDT


I loaned the "spikes" pictures to our White House group when they were beefing up security a few years back, but I forgot to put them back with the rest of my England pictures when they returned them. Got them somewhere...

Paw Paw- for the record my home address is asylum(at)earthlink(dot)net. Anyone who uses this needs to make the subject line clear, so it won't get lost in the spam.

I've been married 29 years, and stopped asking questions ages ago. You never get the answer you either wish for or expect. Ask one woman, get five answers and three subject changes. Sort of like this BB. ;-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 08/02/03 22:04:35 EDT

Dave, 20 years ago we color matched bronze rail with silver solder of the correct alloy. It was spendy!
   Tim - Saturday, 08/02/03 22:16:05 EDT

Paw Paw -
What trouble? Beach day for the Guru! All in favor, AYE!
   Two Swords - Saturday, 08/02/03 22:18:32 EDT

Drove to Camp Verde early this AM and spent most of the day at Pieh Tool Company. There was a smith from Vaughn's there demoing (sp?) their equipment, and it was a joy to watch him work. He was a tad hard to understand, we **are** separated by a common language. It was fun to watch an expert work with one of their big swage blocks and other tools. I took a bunch of digital photos, if anyone is interested I can email some of them or find a spot to post them. He was using an interesting non-commercial two burner propane forge made from a piece of 10 or 11 " pipe, about 8" long, lined with kaowool, and using firebrick for both ends. It was a nice production forge, heated 1" sq bar in about a minute. Had a great time, Amy and the rest of her staff are good folks. Bought some new toys, too. Our English friend did comment on our Arizona heat, and Camp Verde is in the high country where its relatively cool.
   Ellen - Saturday, 08/02/03 22:37:43 EDT

We, I mean our organization, the Rae Valley Heritage Assn. is having our 21st annual Nebraska State Antique Tractor and Horse Plowing Bee. It's a Steam and Gas Engine show in northeast Nebraska, at Petersburg Aug 23 & 24. We have a working blacksmith shop and usually have a Smith working both days. Anyone in the area is invited to come on down and jump in and have some fun. If you are interested, email me and I can get you more details. Check our website at www.raevalley.org for map and details about the show. Steve
   Steve Wright - Sunday, 08/03/03 00:39:36 EDT

Beach day AYE
Let's throw in a complementary massuse too
   - Pete F - Sunday, 08/03/03 03:03:30 EDT

AYE! Sand, sun, and the world's largest quenching bath... (VBG)

I'll vouch for the Guru's statements about the fences with curved-outward tops; I had to scale one once (don't ask). My only recommendation in this regard (as it seems to be the best possible option) is to, if possible, make the spacing between the vertical bars too narrow for shoes to get in. Also, if possible, make the top curve out more than it does on the standard design... more like 2'. The normal ones only curve out about 1', and are easy enough to get over.

Slightly juvenile and a bit more delinquent in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Sunday, 08/03/03 03:52:50 EDT

Marriage: Just because you know how to work the knobs and make the water run doesn't mean you know anything about plumbing....

Mills, I was a child groom....

Guru, just for the record, I made a hardy tool yesterday by welding a 1" square tube onto the tool, then forged the square on the diagonal to fit it into the corners. This was an idea based on your spring swage with the shank forged on a diagonal posted in iForge.
   Quenchcrack - Sunday, 08/03/03 05:55:18 EDT

Ellen - I just visited my brother in Glendale (Phoenix)a couple of weeks ago and it was 115 most day's. Sort of like walking in from of a oven when you step outside. Pretty place though - lots of interesting shapes.
   - Jerry Crawford - Sunday, 08/03/03 09:32:09 EDT

Back to the 6" dia steel shaft (maybe 4140/4340) a moment:

Had a comment that it needed a hardened face for good anvil applications. Does this mean a welded on face like repairing anvils or does it mean tempering the face of the steel shaft?

   - Jerry Crawford - Sunday, 08/03/03 09:52:01 EDT


You're confusing the hardening and tempering process. Check out the FAQ on heat treating. That said, the working end of the shaft should be hardened.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 08/03/03 09:55:03 EDT

k, .... then, I suppose, this isn't something I can do with O/A and dump a bucket of salt water over it when it gets hot .
   Jerry Crawford - Sunday, 08/03/03 11:42:35 EDT

Shaft Anvils: If it is 4140/4340 or any non-mild steel it can probably be hardened for anvil use. Flame hardening works but is a bit tricky.

6" shaft is 96 pounds (43.6 kg) per running foot. I would use it for JYH, Air or treadle hammer anvils. . . As to it being alloy steel that is a BIG leap. Most line shafting and big machinery shafting was mild steel. Only in modern high load applications do they use the higher carbon steels for large shafts. Even rolls are often soft steel depending on what they are rolling. So I would not bet on it being hardenable.

I've got several pieces of big shaft I purchased for power hammer anvils, 7, 8 and 18". Its all mild steel the best that I can tell.

Anvils do not need to be hard if you are carful to not ding them and keep the iron hot. Soft anvils polish rapidly from careful use. However, if you are forging high carbon steel it can mar the surface of a soft anvil if you let it cool any amount below full forging heat.
   - guru - Sunday, 08/03/03 12:16:51 EDT

Hey ! I hadn't thought of a PH - since my exposure to a power roller set up I've sort of let the PH idea lay fallow. We may be onto something here. I suppose it would be beyond fantasy to think a good metalurgist could ID this steel without a lab? How about a low tech spark test?
   Jerry Crawford - Sunday, 08/03/03 13:28:26 EDT

"I've been married for 34 years to the same women"... Same women?!? Isn't that illegal? (VBG)

   eander4 - Sunday, 08/03/03 14:52:01 EDT


Depends on where you live.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 08/03/03 16:19:39 EDT

Jerry, send a piece of the shaft to the Guru, Im sure he can tell what it is just by laying hands on it.
   Quenchcrack - Sunday, 08/03/03 18:05:55 EDT

Hmmmmmm :) takes a BIG sample. . .

Spark tests can tell you quite a bit under controlled conditions. Every grinder and lighting condition produce different results. You just about need to do a side by side comparitive test to "calibrate" your eye.

The eBay anvil rip off artists are at it again. A new "steel" anvil for 50 cents a pound . . shipping to be revealed AFTER the auction.
   - guru - Sunday, 08/03/03 19:03:45 EDT

I have inherited a pexto manually powered metal edgeing or crimping machine. There is a tree like stand with various holders for several hand turned machines. Could you help identify this so I can get some kind of idea what it is and its worth. Can send photo's if necessary.
   EDDIE - Sunday, 08/03/03 22:22:39 EDT

Fences: I'll second T. Gold on the diameter of the outward facing curve. About two feet is what they have at NSA.

I didn't get an "NSA" fence at our archeological storage facility in Tucson, but we did get the "castle slit" windows, grouped in threes, that I like.

Nine days 'til the stitches come out and I can blacksmith again.

Send the Guru to the beach; with sunblock. ;-)

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 08/03/03 22:24:51 EDT

ebay email scam alert. For what its worth I've received a couple of emails which **seem** to be from ebay asking for an update on my billing account (I've auctioned a few items there), with a link in the email to click on, which takes you to an extremely official looking "ebay" website, where you're asked to enter credit card number, etc, a whole lot of personal financial info....I forwarded these (there were 3 over the weekend) to ebay's identity theft site (spoof@ebay.com) and received back an email from the real ebay letting me know it was attempted identity theft. The moral to this story is if you get an email even if it LOOKS like its from a valid site you do business with, with a link in the email to click on to "update your billing" info, DON'T do it! The "link" in the email is the tipoff to be aware of. Ebay says there is an epidemic of this going on now.
   Ellen - Sunday, 08/03/03 22:42:04 EDT

Ellen, I'm sending an attachment to you from associated press about the ebay situation--it's safe to open.
   Jerry - Monday, 08/04/03 01:16:18 EDT

eclipz32 email to you about anvilfire foto's bounced. Send me a good address, please.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 08/04/03 02:11:37 EDT

As I've posted elsewhere, I'll reenforce Ellen's comment by noting that I've recieved spoof e-mails from "PayPal" and "Earthlink" requesting passwords, plus personal and financial information to fix certain "problems". All of these have been forwarded to the legitimate sites.

Looks like the next internet plague is upon us.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 08/04/03 08:27:57 EDT

Hi everyone, I'm a 15 year old amatuer smith in Arizona, and was wondering if you guys would give me some advice. See, I have a somewhat limited selection of tools. At my disposal is my 100 lb Harbor Freight anvil (hey, I don't have much money), a few hammers of varying weight, two pairs of vise grips, an old axe head in a table vise for cutting, and a big candle and vegtable oil for finishes (all this not including the scrap metal I shape). So my question is this: considering my overall lack of money (I could scrape together a couple hundred bucks by the end of next month), and the scarcity of hardies and fullers that you can order online, what is the next tool that I should buy? Any help here would be most appreciated.
   Josh - Monday, 08/04/03 11:13:47 EDT

Josh, have you seen all the tooling demos on the iforge? Depending on your scrap pile you may be able to make some goodies yourself. If you have access to a welder, so much the better. You can buy all the fullers and hardies you want fron the Kaynes, Pieh tools and Centaur. See Advertisers here on Anvilfire. Personally, I'd go for a pair of tongues just to gat a little further away from the fire. May I ask what you use to heat the metal? Clever use of the axe head BTW.
   Gronk - Monday, 08/04/03 11:32:12 EDT

"scarcity of hardies and fullers that you can order online"

Josh, Have you looked at the Kayne and Son site? OR Centaur Forge? I know Kaynes has a good variety of hardies and fullers. Look under misc and anvil tools. I know Centaur has both but are still working on images for their site.
   - guru - Monday, 08/04/03 11:35:40 EDT

Thank you. I ended up pulling a Goldielock on it. The first attempt was TOO Firm, the second attempt was too Soft, the last attempt was JUST RIGHT!!!! The rifle is a CVA Kentucky kit gun (i wanted it to have a purple stock but then people would have made fun of me so I went with a ceder type shade of stain). Being in 50cal and having a 33 1/2" it has more than enough punch for the deer and bear I spend my fall and early winter looking for. Thank you for the info!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
   Dave - Monday, 08/04/03 12:27:26 EDT

Tool Priorities: Josh, I'll agree with Gronk on the tongs. However, if you are short on cash I would buy new 1/2" square and 3/8" x 1" bar and make my own. It is a lot of work but newbies need the hammer practice.

Tongs can also be found in flea markets and antique shops.
But watch out for what I call "farmer tongs". This were made by farmers, do-it-yourselfers and high school students and are so pooly shaped that they are of little use and the effort to get them into useable condition is often more than making new. I sorted through a box of about 20 pairs of tongs at the flea market this past weekend and found only 4 pairs that were reworkable. Keep your eye open for good old commercial made tongs. Most are better heavier patterns than modern tongs and are worth paying new prices.

A major item is a good leg vise. A little 35 pound blacksmiths leg vise will out perform a 100 pound machinists bench vise. They are more solid and durable. These are expensive new but also can be found in flea markets, antique shops and blacksmith meets. Have you joined the AZ blacksmiths?

As Gronk pointed out a little arc welder can help you make tools faster than anything else. They usualy pay for themselves in short order. With an arc welder, a grinder and a pile of scrap you can build everything from anvil tools to benders and presses. It can also be used to repair tools that are broken (such as an old leg vise. . ).

A metal worker of any kind needs two grinders at a minimum. The first is an "angle grinder" also called a "snag grinder". These are the hand held grinders that use a fiber glass reinforced wheel mounted at 90° to the body (that is why they are called angle grinders). The second is a bench grinder. A little 6" double wheel grinder will do. These are a TOOL SHARPENING grinder and are not to be used to grind anything heavy or to do gross grinding, THAT is what the hand held grinder is for.

The best angle grinders are the big heavy 7" grinders made by DeWalt and Makita. But these generaly sell for over $200. The little 4-1/2" grinders are running about $100 and are very handy. However, they are not as durable as the big grinders. But you will need one to keep that soft HF anvil in good condition.

Bench mount belt grinders are very handy and can do most of what a regular bench grinder can do. Both can be used to sharpen chisels and drills but the belt grinder can also do heavier work such as shaping knives.

I would say the order of priorities is, Arc welder, Grinder, Vise then oxy-acetylene welding/cutting equipment (a big step).

Then you need a way to drill holes. The old hand crank blacksmiths drills are a good bargain for their capacity. However, when you buy one remember that it is going to need a $150 chuck and arbor to make it useful. These old drills were generally designed to drill up to 1/2" holes by hand. This is better than what a big $400 - $500 hardware/department store floor mount drill will do. Remember that most drill presses sold to the public are for wood working and are much to fast for metal working.

If you are sharp you can also take the chuck off a big non-functional electric hand drill and fit it to the hand crank drill. Flea markets are often full of contractor duty electric tools and if you ask the guy if he has any that don't work you might get a bargain on a chuck. Look for tools that have "Jacobs" brand chucks.

The quest for tools is never ending.
   - guru - Monday, 08/04/03 12:44:47 EDT

More about Tool Priorities: Most of us are opportunistic tool acquirers. We obtain tools when the occasion presents itself. The usual criteria is how low the price. If the price is low enough it doesn't matter WHAT it is we buy it.

Then there is "fill in the gap" acquisition mode. . . This spring and summer I have been filling in the gaps in my collection of ball pien hammers. They now range from a couple ounces to about four pounds. But this has also been opportunistic collecting. It the price wasn't right I let it go. The most I have paid was $10 and the least $1 (but I had to put handles on a couple).

Then there is "area of interest" acquisition mode. . . My apprentice is into the SCA and armor thing so we have been looking for tools in that area. We purchased an old Beverly B2 shear that I would not of looked at twice otherwise. But it is a prime armourer tool and the price was good for a key tool. I also picked up a large W.A.Whitney Punch (for $15) and then bought new punches and dies for it. I also bought a beak horn stake. AND we are looking for sheet metal and body hammers but have had no luck (yet).

When you do these things you have to carefully weigh the need against the oppourtunity and your budget. I have the bad habit of buying what I don't need just because I came ready to buy what I need. . . If you don't need it (or the priority is low) save your money for another day.

If you have plenty of money and can afford to buy new then do so. There have been times in my life when I could afford to buy anything within reason if I needed it. As a result I have a LOT of tools. Most that were bought new paid for themselves at the time because they were needed for a specific job. Area of interest also changes. When I was a mechanic I put part of every week's pay check into tools until I had a full set of mechanics tools. These tools were neccessary to earn a living and often those that looked extravagant actually increased my efficiency enough that they paid for themselves in short order. When I was smithing I bought blacksmiths tools and when I was building machinery I bought machinists tools. Since launching anvilfire I have often obtained tools for the purpose of infomation. They get photographed and measured and sometimes used to do a demo. It is probably the strangest need based purchasing I have done in my life.
   - guru - Monday, 08/04/03 13:11:54 EDT

Food utensil coatings?


I just built a couple of skewers for a friend and was wondering what to do to protect them a bit? I tried to season them like a frying pan (Crico, bake at 300 for 4 hours, repeat) but I got a odd yellow color rather than the black I had been expecting.

I am using a gas forge and stripped the scale with a wire wheel, which is probably part of the problem.

What would you recommend to protect utensils in a food safe and somewhat eye-pleasing manner? Satinless stell would be best I'm sure, but it's a bit pricy and probably overkill for a skewer....


   -JIM - Monday, 08/04/03 13:33:34 EDT

Does anyone out there know of a cross forging demo on the web that I can ceck out for free?
   Chris Makin - Monday, 08/04/03 13:37:16 EDT

Chris, There are two on our iForge page.
   - guru - Monday, 08/04/03 15:07:02 EDT

Jim, if I recall correctly a fresh cast iron skillet (if clean and shiney) will be sorta yellow after the first seasoning.... At leasy I think mine were..... but this was 20 years ago... They are now a nice smooth satin black....
   Ralph - Monday, 08/04/03 15:23:50 EDT


Chris, check out iForge demos 56 & 79 for a couple of crosses. And check out all the other great demos on iForge while you're at it. Amazingly, all these demos are free here on Anvilfire. Memberships in CSI help support these and other valuable services offered here, so I encourage every smith using this site to join CSI.
   vicopper - Monday, 08/04/03 15:29:53 EDT

Utensils: Jim, The black comes from one of two things, the black steel scale or carbon black. You have to burn the oil to get a black or add ground carbon black to the oil (making paint). If you burn the oil you will have to reapply several times.

You can wirebrush tight scale with a fine soft wire brush (at relatively low speed) but if you lean on the brush or it is running too fast and remove all the scale then you have clean metal. . . You get yellow from a combination of temper yellow and the thin oil coating. IF after you wire brush the parts you reheat in the forge just enough to get an even grey finish then when you oil it the finish will be more blackish.

We have found that olive oil does a good job.
   - guru - Monday, 08/04/03 15:40:28 EDT

I'm planin on doing some landscaping this summer. I'm kinda makin the old style guide rail from roadways from when I was a kid. I'm bringin back some dock pilings home from philadelphia when I get off the boat. I'm going to need to make myself a DRILL BIT that is able to bore through some pretty hard wood aboat 16" thick.The bit would need to be about three and a half inches in diamiter. Drilling through a sixteen inch pilling a hole saw would take all day. Any suggestions what type of bit would work best? I'm afraid an old style auger would twist me in circles. Thanks TUGBOAT TIM
   tugboat tim - Monday, 08/04/03 16:06:43 EDT

Josh, re tools, as Guru stated a 4 1/2" angle grinder is extremely useful; I bought a top of the line Milwaukee for over $100, and a couple of weeks ago I bought a 4 1/2" Harbor Freight angle grinder on sale for $20. I was surprised at how well the $20 HF grinder worked; I'm sure it won't last as long as the Milwaukee, but mine was a good buy for the money. The caveat with HF is to inspect before you buy, a good rabbit's foot helps too, but I've been lucky.....their 3/8" cordless drill on sale for $39 is a good tool also. You might also check the Pacific Livestock auction down by Chandler on Sat. AM's, they sell the used farrier tools at 10 AM and start the livestock at 11. You can sometimes get heavy hoof nippers, shoe pullers, pritchel punches for $2 or $3. These can be reworked in a forge to be good tongs and punches. Also, Barry Denton, Bar U Bar supply in Skull Valley sells used blacksmith tools.
   Ellen - Monday, 08/04/03 16:25:38 EDT

Thanks for the info guru!
   -JIM - Monday, 08/04/03 16:40:04 EDT

Josh - Tools
Also .... ,look in the telephone book for the authorized Milwaukee Tool dealership. They OFTEN have factory refurbished electric stuff at bargan prices and they carry the Milwaukee warrantee. I'v picked up a the 1/2" hole shooter kit for about $125 I think - it's a high end tool.

If you find name brand stuff at flea markets you can get then dealer overhauled (or DIY) because names like Milwaukee, Delta/Rockwell, Makita etc are infinitely rebuildable - cheaply. I was in Colorado recently and spotted a yard sale with a pile of goodies on a table. I stopped and picked up a beat up Makita 12" cut off saw (probably 15-20 years old) for $30. A $5 set of brushes and new wheel and I have a great tool.

   Jerry Crawford - Monday, 08/04/03 16:49:25 EDT

I baked my skewers and other utensils on my gas grill at the highest setting. That got me the dark blue temper color. The I spray a light coat of cooking spray while it's still hot and put it back on the grill for a few more minutes. I get a blue-ish/black finish when done. The light coating of spray doesn't collect into swellings at the low points, either.

HF Grinders:
I've gotten mixed results with the cheapo grinders. All of them work, and still do, but some needed tinkering. On one, the switch didn't work, but that was a simple plastic part keeping the switch from turning on. Easy fix. One thing to look for, though, is power. They seem to range from 4Amps to 6A. I can easily stall the 4A one. The 5.5A on up are doing a pretty good job. And for the price, it's easy to have one for every wheel I use to save changeovers.
   MarcG - Monday, 08/04/03 16:54:39 EDT

The New Job

It has been several weeks since I have had time to read the boards. I started my new job at Scot Forge last monday. For those of you who don't know, this company specializes is open-die press forgings. The shop where I work has both a 2000 and 1250 ton press. The 2000 ton can forge down ingots 63 inches in diameter. They make a lot of bar stock as well as spindles, ecentric, gear blanks etc. Tomorrow I will be visting the hammer shop they have. It has an 8000 lb Erie (I think) steam hammer. This is a really neat place to work and totally different from my experiences at Timken. By the way, if any of you know Bob Bergman, his shop is about 50 miles to the west of this shop (Clinton WI). I have not me Bob, but many of the folks here do, as he apparently is a semi-regular visitor.

Thomas Powers, could you send me an email at the address above? I don't have you new address yet.

Patrick Nowak
   Patrick Nowak - Monday, 08/04/03 17:55:09 EDT

Jock; The Upper Midwest Blacksmith Assn. is taking on the job of helping to celebrate John Deere's 200th birthday next year (2004) by recreating his original plow made in 1837. We want to engage about 30-50 smiths in the project and make every part of the plow again by hand.
Problem is--- he had a couple of threaded bolts holding it together---he must have had a SCREWPLATE and TAP to thread his hand made nut. How do we make a screwplate??? How do we make the tap???? Would have to be high carbon steel.as no tool steel was in use at that time in Grand Detour, Illinois Where do I find pictures/drawings to give some clue? Has anyone ever made one?? Gunsmith of Williamsburg talks of makeing a screwplate for their gun screws but no details. We can handle all the forging/quenching/ drawing temper ok but lack an overall plan.. Dave up a tree in Illinois. Thanks
   Dave Brandon - Monday, 08/04/03 18:42:42 EDT

Dave - (& someone correct me if this is not accurate) as I recall the Gunsmiths at CW first make a tapered square threaded bolt of the dimension they need and hand cut the threads. Then they turn the bolt into a tap and harden the threaded section. After they have the tap made a hole is drilled in a piece of plate and the die is created. I watched the Gun Smiths working on a a tap and die set for about an hour at a conference there once and that's how I recall them doing it. The taps were tapered and square looking and the die was a hole in a piece of plate - I can only imagine they were hardened somehow (?).
   - Jerry Crawford - Monday, 08/04/03 19:11:18 EDT

I was in an art gallery recently and a piece of functioning art that they were calling a "whatchamacallit". Different gears and movements made a marble move down the piece and then it was carried back up to do it again. I was wondering if you knew any blacksmiths or metal workers that did thiss type of design. I was hoping to get one designed for a specific space in our house. Thanks. Anne
   Anne Doman - Monday, 08/04/03 22:35:50 EDT

Screw Plates: Commercial Screw Plates and Taps were available from the mid 1700's on. I have a watch and clockmakers catalog from the 1760's that is full of screw making tools. For small screws there were screw plates and for larger blots there were adjustable "Screw stocks". These had two piece dies that could be tightened and used to cut a thread a little at a time (just like modern geometric die heads).

A Catalog of Tools for Watch and Clock Makers by John Wyke of Liverpool Published for The Henry Francis du Pount Winterthur Museum by the University Press of Virginia Charlottesville. 1978, ISBN 0-8139-0751-9. Originaly published about 1770.

The screw cutting lathe with lead screw and change gears was invented in 1784 by Henry Maudslay of England and greatly revolutionized the industry. His invention spread rapily to other places with developing industry such as the United States.

Nasmyth collar-nut cutting machine.
In 1829 James Nasmyth was working for Maudslay and designed and built a machine for cutting the sides of a hex head nuts and bolts (Chapter 8, Autobiography of James Nasmyth) Nasmyth also mentions his father's lathe which dated from 1700's with which James built model steam engines when he was a boy. His father was an artist not a mechanic or smith. And HE had a lathe that could do metal work.

By 1837 the machine tool industry was well established in New England and supplying a growing nation with small tools of every sort. The steam age was in full swing by this time and the smallest shops had steam powered lathes and grinders.

I do not have tool catalogs from this period but taps and dies should have been common place in every mechanics collection based on earlier references. Blacksmiths that did wagon work and machine repair also would have had lathes of one sort or another. Do not limit the tools available based on some primitive ideal. Try to find out exatly what tools John Deere had available. There are bound to be histories with inventories of his shop.

On the John Deere Co history page it says he trained in Vermont (near the New England tool manufacturers) and moved out west with a "bundle of tools". Deere was famous for his highly polished tools. A man with such an insistance on quality would have had taps and dies among that "bundle of tools".

The "tool steel" of the era was primarily imported English crucible steel. This was carbon steel in the range of 70 to 90 points carbon. It was not modern alloy steel but it WAS considered tool steel.
   - guru - Monday, 08/04/03 23:45:44 EDT

Thanks a lot for the help, everybody. I think I'll make a trip to my local Harbor Freight store this week to pick up an angle grinder. I'll hold off on the arc welder for now until I get a couple more industrial technology classes under my belt. Tongs are top of my list of things to make, and with Kayne and Centaur I should be able to widen the variety of items I'll be making (so far I've only been making little wrought iron S-hooks for my mom's antique shop). I think I'll make a candleholder of my design for a girl after I make the tongs, though :)
Oh, and Gronk, I'm burning coal that I buy from Western's School of Horseshoeing. I had to make my own forge, though.
   Josh - Tuesday, 08/05/03 00:04:58 EDT


Rube Goldberg was the fellow famous for bizzar mechanical contrievences. He was a cartoonist that produced drawings of his fantastic "inventions". A whatchamacallit is actually a Smurf (rember those little blue elvish cartoon creatures). Smurf is a shortend version of the German for "whatchamacallit".

Many artists, craftsfolk and engineering students build these machines today. There are annual contests held by engineering schools to see who can build the most fantastic Rube Goldberg machine. See Rube-Goldberg.com.

Among our group Peter Fels (Pete F) is probably one the most capable of designing and building a Rube Goldberg machine. See PeterFels.com. I've also built both real machine tools, sculpture and in my youth marble mazes where a marble traveled down various paths over teeter-toters ramps and such.

You probably want someone from the generation that remembers REAL pinball machines. . . We would love to quote on such a sculpture.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/05/03 00:15:45 EDT

Josh, talk to Rich Hale (he teaches at Western) about your tool needs and get some of his ideas. He is an extremely competent blademaker and smith and an expert at knowing where to scrounge things in the valley area.
   Ellen - Tuesday, 08/05/03 00:28:53 EDT

HF grinders....I have a pile of dead ones..used to bother fixing them. Started adding up the hours spent fixing them and never bought another. Some things from HF are good for the money....I like their cheapy air hammers for example, and name brand stuff is sometimes well priced..but generally, I think that over the years of dealing with them, I have not come out ahead, at all.
When they are on sale, the $50 Makita refurbished 4" grinders are probably the most tool for the $.

Anne; If our good Guru is interested in doing your kenetic marble sculpture..you win! You could ask for none better.

Thanks for the plug Jock. And thank you for the huge amount of work you put into this splendid site!
   - Pete F - Tuesday, 08/05/03 02:39:59 EDT

Josh - take a welding course at your local high school arult-ed program. not only welding but most places can offer machine tool courses too - and basket weaving and yoga and ..... all of which make you a more rounded BS
   Jerry Crawford - Tuesday, 08/05/03 07:12:55 EDT

Does anyone have or know where I can get a copy of "Tomahawks Illistrated" by Robert Kuck? I checked with Norm Larson and ABEbooks; no luck. Thanx, Ron C
   Ron Childers - Tuesday, 08/05/03 14:03:51 EDT

Have acquired 7 digging points used on tip of loader-excavator. About 8 inches high 5 wide,weigh 31 lbs apiece. I figured this would be tough steel for hardies, fullers, etc. Have no bandsaw, any thoughts on steel quality and method to rough cut w/out killing hardness/toughness? I went to the mfg's site, they only say special alloy.
Asked this question on another forum, they said the steel is basically useless. Seems to me it could be ground into hardies, fullers, or used to bang on? Any suggestions? A shame to waste 200+ lbs. of tuff stuff.
I'm very new at this. Just acquired a Harbor freight Russian POS to learn on. Still grinding away at it.
John in Alabama
   John Wallace - Tuesday, 08/05/03 14:21:25 EDT

John Wallace - Most digging points on earth moving equipment are made of work-hardening steels. 13% Manganese steel, also known as Hadfield's steel is one of the grades used. When I was working as a heat treat metallurgist, we used to anneal Hadfield's by quenching it in water from 1900 degrees F. End use at that time was for "jail bar". Most work hardening steels are not going to be a good match for a use situation that involves continued impact loading.
   gavainh - Tuesday, 08/05/03 14:51:54 EDT

here is a link. look near the bottom
   Ralph - Tuesday, 08/05/03 15:04:31 EDT

Junk Yard Steel: John, First you need to study heat treatment practices a little. Read our heat treating FAQ. It is a little disorganized but it has all the basic info.

Then, you have to realize that junk yard steels are what they are (an unknown), not what ANYONE says they are, even the part manufacturer. Manufacturers change steels all the time for a variety of reasons including price and availability. AND occasionaly they have suppliers, make substitutions for them.

SO, you test the steel, you make things out of it and try them.

Most shaping methods are going to hurt the original hardness (temper). It is best to plan on heat treating for your use. Torch into pieces, forge and grind to shape, then harden and temper. For tools without edges like fullers, hammers, flatters, bickerns and other shaping tools it is probably good steel. Try a sample first. Try oil hardening first then water if necessary.

   - guru - Tuesday, 08/05/03 16:09:50 EDT

Dave B., And if you get the screwplate, I think the lubricant used in earlier times was "lard oil". It states on an old Greenfield wooden tap & die box to use lard oil. And my old mentor Victor Vera, said they always used "sebo" on old Mexico. Same thing. Of course, nobody watching you would know what you were using.
   Framl Turley - Tuesday, 08/05/03 17:35:04 EDT

Does anyone remember whiether 416 stainless is a oil or water quench?
   888 - Tuesday, 08/05/03 17:44:36 EDT

If you really want lard oil, check with a signpainter's supply house. Signpainters use lard oil to preserve and protect their expensive lettering brushes. I still have part of a quart, myself.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 08/05/03 17:52:31 EDT

888: 416 is an oil quench grade.
   Quenchcrack - Tuesday, 08/05/03 19:48:29 EDT

416 (416Se) SS Heat Treatment: 888, Austentize at 1700 to 1850°F (925-1010°C). Quench in oil. Temper at 1050 to 1125°F (5640605°C).

Process anneal (sub-critical) at 1202 to 1400°F (650-760°C). Full anneal 1526 to 1535 °F 830-835°C. Isothermal anneal, anneal heat to 1526 to 1535 °F 830-835°C and hold for 2 hours.

ASM Metals Reference Book Second Edition, 1983
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/05/03 19:54:29 EDT

Help! I need some suggestions for the following project that I am trying to complete by Saturday as a gift for my son's wedding. I am making a rose the way I usually do. I call it the reclining rose cause you guessed it it simply lies on your table or mantle piece or wherever. However this time I had a little plague mader up with the bride and groom's names and the wedding date and I want to mount both on a flat rock. The rose touches a surface basically at one petal and most of the stem. I was thinking perhaps I could grind a bit of the rock out for the rose and the plague,( with what I am not sure I own the proper tool for that job!!) and use some clear super glue to secure both on. Do you think this will work or is there a better way? And if you're wondering why I left this project to the last minute all I can tell you is, it's what I do!
Thanks, Wendy
   Wendy - Tuesday, 08/05/03 23:34:14 EDT

I don't know how you finish your roses or how you plan to mount the whole finished piece, but super glue sounds good... or, if you want, you could drill holes in the rock with a masonry bit and wire the rose on with some shiny copper wire. That's what I'd probably do, but I'm super-glue-phobic. You could also consider epoxy, which might perform better than super-glue. It's really difficult to say without seeing the piece, but I hope this helps you.

100% humidity and gushing rain in Kaneohe, Hawaii. How's the weather over there, vicopper?
   T. Gold - Wednesday, 08/06/03 00:44:29 EDT


Depending on the type of rock, grinding out a groove for the plaque and rose could be very easy, or it could be a major hassle. I'd do some test grinding on a stone of simliar properties before committing myself to the finished piece. I've used a dremel for grinding details on small stone sculptures. It runs through the bits, but it works well enough on softer stone. Also, I'd avoid super-glue and opt for a clear epoxy (you can get it at any Wal-Mart type store). Near as I can tell, super-glue is only good for sticking your fingers together, unless you have very tightly mating surfaces. This is likely to not be the case in your scenario. Epoxy will fill in the gaps, and sets fairly quickly. Just make sure the mating surfaces are clean and oil free. If grinding proves problematic, the epoxy alone should work. In that case, you might consider shaping the rose so that more surface area is in contact with the stone.

It sound like a lovely and meaningful gift idea. Let us know how it turns out.

   eander4 - Wednesday, 08/06/03 02:18:34 EDT

PATRICK NOWAK: Good for you, Bro! I didn't think a man of your abilities would be out of work for very long. See you at SOF&A. Best regards, 3dogs
   3dogs - Wednesday, 08/06/03 03:07:11 EDT

Cutting Stone Wendy, If you have one of those little 4-1/2 angle grinders, they make a carbide tiped steel wheel for them that cuts masonry. I am not sure how it will do on your type of rock but I know they cut hard lime stone, concrete, brick.

Your regular fiber glass grinding wheel will also cut some stone as well as polish others.

I do not recommend Dremels for this kind of work unless it is VERY small. Dremels are great tools but only when used within their size capacity. Note that almost ALL the tasks in the Dremel TV ads are guaranteed to trash a new Dremel on the first job. . . I use mine for small wood carving, picky die work, and occasional deburing holes in hardened parts (like hammer heads).

I would use some clear epoxy to do the gluing. Magic glue is too thin and not designed for filling gaps as eander noted. The drilled hole and wire routine is also a good isea.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/06/03 09:50:56 EDT

Depending on the type of rock you use, one of the colored epoxies may be a good color match for the rock. That way you can avoid some of the grinding and allow the epoxy to fill more of the uneven areas. When almost, but not quite hard, the epoxy can be shaped with a pocket knife to resemble cut stone enough to be visually pleasing.

T. Gold: Always perfect weather here in Paradise. Humid, rainy, warm. (grin)
   vicopper - Wednesday, 08/06/03 11:10:24 EDT

Wendy - sorry you don't have more time to work out some details - but there is a super glue that is pretty thick and is considered "gap filling" taht is some really awsomely strong stuff. But, this sounds like an artistic design moment. Use whatever you have handy and secretly tell the new bride if the bond fails you can repair it. If it never fails your ahead and if it does you can experiment with a better bond in the mean time.
   - Jerry Crawford - Wednesday, 08/06/03 12:01:26 EDT

Just for those of you who want to know. Although Rube Goldberg is known as the untimite contriver of nonsense aparatus(in modern times, grin), he never actually built one! Is that not a kicker?!

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Wednesday, 08/06/03 13:12:15 EDT

A friend called me about a 250# Beaudry hammer that he is going to look at. I wasn't able to give him much info. Does anyone know what to look for, problems, can you get parts, are they a good hammer? Or a rough price range vs. condition. I do believe that it is at least running. I will pass on any info you can give thanks Daryl
   - Daryl - Wednesday, 08/06/03 14:14:38 EDT

Beaudry Hammers: Daryl, Beaudry made a variety of hammers both mechanical and air. Bruce Wallace owns what is left of Beaudry and that is not much.

The problem with Beaudry hammers is that he was an inventor and was constantly changing the machine. Like all old mechanical hammers you are on your own when it comes to parts. Bruce has some of the parts drawings and can have parts made if they apply. Sid Suedimeir supports the small Little Giants but has no (or very little) parts inventory for the bigger hammers.

Beaudry Hammers

We also have three pages of Beaudry photos on our Power hammer Page.

   - guru - Wednesday, 08/06/03 14:34:02 EDT

Rube Goldberg Was an artist and an inspirer. His "inventions" as he called them and their children have intrigued people for several generations and will do so for many more. Almost every movie with an inventor character has had fantastic Rube Goldberg inventions. Our Gang, Chitty-chitty Bang Bang, The Absent Minded Professor, Back to the Future I, II and III the James Bond movies all come to mind and there are many more.

Rube Goldberg never intended his "inventions" to be built, they were just humerous fantasy creations on paper.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/06/03 14:53:20 EDT

If someone wanted to make a twisted basket and forge one end into a hook, would he weld and then forge the rod ends into a hook before the twisting and expansion? please advise
   - pongo - Wednesday, 08/06/03 16:20:13 EDT


The short answer would be yes. Check out the iForge demo's on this site. Number 44 deals with baskets twists with hooks, and should provide you with a wealth of detail on the subject.

   eander4 - Wednesday, 08/06/03 16:51:21 EDT

I wonder what is going on with the site... it seems to have ground to a screeching halt. There seems to be no more iForge, there has not been any updates in the masters plan file and tonihgt I get on and there is no Slack tub pub. This used to be a check every day site... now it seems to stay the same month after month. Too bad....
   - Arnstryk - Wednesday, 08/06/03 22:29:25 EDT


During the last 6 months we have moved from one server to another and again to to another. In July I put in over 300 hours on the latest server move. Not only did we move anvilfire but a dozen other sites we author, PLUS 30 ABANA-Chapter sites PLUS several client sites that we host. In all I setup nearly 100 URL's with passwords, logins, CGI's and e-mail. We also redirected the DNS for many of those URL's and wrote to clients reminding them to do the same (mostly ABANA-Chapter sites with free hosting).

And YEP, the Slack-Tub Pub is broken. I am not a C programmer and although I have learned a LOT about server setup in the past month the Pub is still beyond my skills. We are waiting for a friend to volunteer a day of his valuable time to sort it out.

During these moves we posted six iForge demos, three editions of the NEWS (with dozens of images) which required over 1,000 miles of travel to obtain. . . . We also posted several chapter of Paw-Paw's Revolutionary Blacksmith (Which I provide many of the illustrations for) and edited several FAQ's. We also wrote, scaned images for and posted several new book reviews. . . all while seeing that every question posted here gets answered.

Today my apprentice and I spent the entire day cleaning (derusting) and photographing press tooling for a multi-part iForge demo/article that we also spent 3 days on the road collecting information for last month. I still have several dozen images to process (out of several hundred) before the article can be written.

Each image posted on anvilfire takes anywhere up to two hours to process. The new iForge demos all have nice pop-up details that require processing TWO set of images for each demo. Each of those 159 demos represent about two days of my time plus at least a day if not two of the demonstrator's time. Add it up, that is nearly two man years of labor.

Soon we will be back on track posting new iForge demos and news articles on a regular schedule.

All for free. . . .
   - guru - Thursday, 08/07/03 00:03:02 EDT

The Guru is a nice guy. He said in several polite paragraphs what I would be more inclined to say in a few short, sharp, unprintable words. Arnstryk, Mr. Dempsey does this site for free. He gets money from it, but it is not worth the time he puts into it. Why don't you join CSI and help keep the site lively, rather than criticizing?

Humid and wet in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Thursday, 08/07/03 01:22:20 EDT

Thanks for the quick reply on Beaudry Hammers
   - Daryl - Thursday, 08/07/03 01:53:49 EDT

What is the best type of torch\fuel gas to use for soldering copper fittings ? I have used the inexpensive Bernzomatic propane\mapp torches with success but there isn't much flame control. Most of the plumbers and HVAC guys I see use the Prest-o-lite type air\fuel torches or small oxy\fuel rigs. I have a lot of fittings to solder for a shop air distribution line and some water lines so I was wondering if it would be worthwhile to get a better torch.


- Chris
   chris smith - Thursday, 08/07/03 07:45:14 EDT

We just put in a large air system in copper in my buddys shop. It was all done with a Bernzomatic torch. Not much of a problem with the "flame control" as you are just heating the joint to melt solder. We did the whole shop and not one leak. Just clean each joint (you can buy a nifty round wire brush for only a few bucks) flux and heat the joint until the flux starts to smoke. You then remove the heat and run the solder around the joint. Hold the joint fixed until the solder cools and you are done.

You can buy a more expensive torch if you wish, but the plane ol burnz torch will work fine.
   - Wayne Parris - Thursday, 08/07/03 08:29:18 EDT

Hey guys, it's me again. I have a strange request, hopefully one of you can point me in the right direction. I am looking for a large solid cast aluminum anvil for show. Is it possible? Can aluminum be put into a mold and cast into an anvil shape? How much would something like that cost? I am serious about this item and any assistance would be GREATLY appreciated.

   The Great Nippulini - Thursday, 08/07/03 09:40:55 EDT

Plumbing Solder: Chris, I too have used nothing more than cheap (no brand) propane torches to solder copper pipe.
The only time I have had a problem with bottle mounted torches is if the bottle must be horizontal to the work. Then the liquid fuel kills the torch. Note that I have some "no-brand" cheepo propane torches. They are hard to light and hard to keep going. Some of the better brands such as bernzomatic work much better. For the horizontal of tight space problem they now make swivel head torches.

The guys using bulk tanks with small torches do it because they do it day in and day out and go through a LOT of fuel.

As Chris pointed out, cleanliness is EVERYTHING in soldering. However, I have never had much luck soldering pipe except when I used self tining flux. This is paste flux with tin powder (which makes it grey). When the copper is just the right temperature you can see the tin flash the surface, then it is time to add the solder. This makes very good full capillary soldered joints.

All new building codes require lead free solder for plumbing. When I bought mine they were using tin/silver. Now it is tin and other hardening alloys.

Note that thin wall copper is NOT recommended for air lines. The pressure is generally too high. Eventualy the cycling pressure and expansion work hardens the pipe and it breaks (even if it doesn't burst from pressure). Same for plastic. This is a job for black-iron pipe.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/07/03 09:44:59 EDT

TGN. Tom Bredlow back in the 70s had an old Ford pickup and for advertising, he fabbed a full-sized sheet steel anvil which he fixed to the top of the cab. Lots of folks thought it was so heavy that it would surely fall throgh the roof.

A good sheet metal shop can fab a sheet steel or aluminum anvil and weld up the joints. As for casting, a local sculptor melts down aluminum beer cans and pours into a mold.

   Framl Turley - Thursday, 08/07/03 10:50:20 EDT

Chris; Bernz-o-Matic sells a torch head with a hose on it, which takes care of the flooding, if that's the problem. It's a WHOLE lot cheaper than the Presto-Lite rig, and a lot more maneuverable than the tank mounted torch.
   3dogs - Thursday, 08/07/03 11:14:25 EDT

Aluminium Anvil: TGN, Frank's suggestion is best. You can even rust the sheet metal to look VERY authentic. However, you MAY want a blacksmith to do it most others do not have a good idea of what an anvil really looks like.

Recently someone was passing around a graphic of an anvil created by an artist in fiberglass. VERY realistic except for the big phoney ACME on the side (Like in the Road Runner cartoons). There WAS an Acme that made anvils but not with that big logo.

Cast aluminium would be 1/3 the weight of a real anvil but it would be as expensive if not more. The cost of the pattern (to make the mold) would be the big price. The cheapest route if you need light weight would be to go with wood OR foam, seal it with fiberglass, bondo it up and paint it. But it is still not cheap but probably less than fabricated sheetmetal. A new anvil would cost less.

Let me know if you are serious and I'll quote you.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/07/03 11:32:20 EDT

A strange request? From the Great Nippulini? Whodathunkit?

How about carving one out of wood - or even paper mache? With a skillful paint job you'd not be able to tell unless you could touch it
   adam - Thursday, 08/07/03 11:51:56 EDT

Arnstryk: I assume you have completed all 159 iForge demos and are now itching for something new to make? I do sympathize - I would demand my money back if I were you (lucky for me I am not ). You are a paying member of CSI arent you? I am sure you wouldnt dream of whining about something you get for free? No. Of course not!

How about trying the ABANA site? Shouldnt take you long to read it - the content there hasnt changed in much in the last year. But then one has to cut them some slack - how much can you expect from a national organization with memberships numbering 10's of thousands?

How about a Google search to find other web sites brimming with material on blacksmithing and supplemented by a forum where you can get expert same day expert advice?

Bon chance!
   adam - Thursday, 08/07/03 12:19:57 EDT

Or for a fake anvil, make a basic mold out of MDF, you could leave it mostly square then shape it easily with a course grit sand paper... Shouldnt be too expensive, then with a good paint job it would probably look great.. Not to mention easy to fix should the need ever arise.
I would think about throwing some rebar into it and doing the "cast" in stages though, thus avoiding voids and giving the piece some strenghth. You could extend this idea to some Quickcrete too, but it would be harder to shape.

Just my take on the idea
   Dave - Thursday, 08/07/03 12:24:58 EDT

The oil drain plug on my wife's Subaru is stuck. My attempts to turn it with sockets and wrenches have pretty much rounded off the corners. Here's where an air driven impact would have paid for itself. I am thinking about taking my little flux core/MIG welder and glue a lever onto whats left of the nut. My plan is to clamp the ground onto the lever so that the return path wont go through the engine. I am hoping that the oil in the sump will soak up the heat w/o flashing so long as I go slow with the welder?

Will this work? Should I make sure "my affairs are in order" before attempting this?
   adam - Thursday, 08/07/03 12:46:24 EDT

Drain Plug Adam, Just be DARN SURE any fuel lines are NOT in the line of the wire AND are covered up. Brake lines too. Non-flamable brake fluid won't blow up but the result of a leak sure could later. . .

As long as there is lots of oil in the pan it shouldn't be a problem. . . Ah it IS a steel pan isn't it?

I suggest that you get a BIG nut that fits over the rounded drain plug and then weld that on. Then a wrench (or impact wrench) will fit the plug. I had to do something similar to the bolts on my Dad's John Deere mower. The heads of the bolts get rounded and worn down from sliding on the grass and dirt. . . They also seem to be self tightening.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/07/03 13:29:03 EDT

Learned Ones,
Layout Table design I have just gained access to shop space that will allow me to do larger project that I could do in my shed. I would like to have a big steel layout table like I have seen in several shops. A table that you can tack weld on and then clean it up for the next project. I have no idea as to how to build one that is FLAT. I am looking for ideas on building one of these tables. Like all my shop equipment, I would like it to be on large casters. I am thinking of about 4 or 5 feet by 8 feet with maybe a 5/8 thick top. Do you use I beam, channel, square tubing, or what? Thicker or thinner top? How do you get it flat?
   Mr. Bill - Thursday, 08/07/03 13:50:56 EDT

Table Bill, First you need a FLAT piece of plate. Now days quality of domestic plate has gotten pretty bad so you should be sure to look before you buy. If its not flat, you are not going to make it so.

4'x 8' x 1/2" = 653# steel
4'x 8' x 5/8" = 816# steel
5'x 8' x 5/8" = 1021# steel

Now. . you have your flat plate. If you want it to stay flat then DON'T WELD on it. A little 1/4" x 1" bead can pucker up big high spot on a piece of plate 1/2" thick. Some folks get away with welding heavy plate to frames but if it doesn't pucker then there was no penetration. So. . . you can try and hope you are lucky.

Bolt the plate to the frame. You can use countersunk flat head screws from the top. They make nice socket flat head screws that will work nicely. OR you can drill and tap the plate, then put in bolts from underneith and cut them off flush. That is how I built my welding bench that has a 3' x 3' x 1" top (the other end is firebrick). In the center of the plate I drilled and taped a hole for a 1" eyebolt so the plate could be removed and moved seperately. The eye bolt is stored screwed in from the bottom and ground flush so that there is no hole in the bench and the threads are protected from sputter balls.

I build my benches with heavy frames using 4" x 4" x 3/8" angle iron legs and top frame. 6" x 6" x 3/8" feet, then 2" x 3" x 1/4" shelf frame about 8" off the floor THEN fill that space with 1" bar grating for storage space. My weld platten support will be the same.

A blacksmith shop bench on wheels? A big waste of both the bench and wheels in my opinion. Benches need to be SOLID. Bolt them to the floor or wall if they are not so heavy you can't move them with a 4 foot lever. . . My welding bench weighs 1500 pounds and is as good as bolted to the floor and I LIKE it that way. On the other hand my in-the-house shop bench is wood and probably weighs less than 100 pounds. But it is bolted to the wall, and the floor AND the vise on it has a steel bracket that extends under the bench top to the wall. . . SOLID.

   - guru - Thursday, 08/07/03 14:51:16 EDT

They got a giant Acme Anvil down at disneyworld over in the "movie" theme park.

   - Thomas Powers - Thursday, 08/07/03 15:36:38 EDT

Thanks to the GREAT guru and all other experts on the screwplate topic. It sounds like ,if I can document that John Deere had (tap and dies) screwplates, we could go ahead and use even modern tools and not be out of context with the time peroid. wish us luck for next year when we build the plow in front of God and everybody.
   Dave - Thursday, 08/07/03 15:43:46 EDT

These are some nice ideas, but it seems that the most expensive route is the way I should go. The piece has to be solid metal. The welded sheet metal anvil sounds neat, but people will know its hollow. You say an aluminum anvil would be 1/3 the weight of the iron ASO's I use? Does that mean the aluminum one would be 3 times larger? I'm looking for a finished weight of 40 to 60 pounds. I am willing to pay for the real thing.

   The Great Nippulini - Thursday, 08/07/03 18:14:58 EDT

An aluminum anvil would be three time the *volume* of a steel one of the same weight. Each linear dimension (length, width, height) would be not quite 1.5 times that of the steel one.
   Mike B - Thursday, 08/07/03 18:50:40 EDT


My wife and I are looking for a good and reasonably priced WWW source for hand made metal items of a variety of shapes and sizes for decorating our home. We do not know of a local source for these sorts of things and I did not know if you could help us?

Thank you,

Chuck and Jeni
Dallas, Texas
   Chuck and Jeni - Thursday, 08/07/03 19:01:51 EDT


Aluminum has a specific gravity about 2.65 while steel is about 7.9, so the aluminum is 1/3 the weight for the same volume. 165#/cu. ft. for aluminum vs 490#/cu. ft. for steel. BUT...

You are going to be caught in the dilemma of the cube/square law as far as physical dimensions go. If you double the dimensions of an anvil from 10"h by 6"w by 20"l to 20 x 12 x 40 you will have increased the weight by EIGHT times. The size that would result in three times the weight would only be an increase of about 40% per dimension. Say 14" by 8-1/2" by 28" or so. Visually, only a bit bigger.

I would suggest that an anvil could be fabricated from sheet steel (so a magnet will stick to it for a convincing illusion), and then filled with expanding rigid urethane foam so it sounded solid. If the bottom plate of the anvil was a bit thicker than the sides and top, it would make a pretty resounding thud when dropped on a wooden stage floor.
   vicopper - Thursday, 08/07/03 19:06:46 EDT

Guru, made an amazing discovery in our welding shop today. Way back in the dark corners I found two power hammers. The smaller one is a Mayer, similar to an LG. Looks to be in the 100# range. The larger one is a Massillon Pneumatic. The ram on this one is about 4-5" diameter but I have no idea about what kind of force it is capable of. Any ideas as to the value of these machines? They both look like they would be in working condition within hours if not immediately.
   Quenchcrack - Thursday, 08/07/03 19:41:56 EDT

TGN, I suggest that you talk to the people on the forums at backyardmetalcasting.com. Someone there may be able to cast a large aluminum anvil for you, or direct you to someone who can.

QC, Grrrrrrr! Have fun...

Warm and windy in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Thursday, 08/07/03 19:51:03 EDT

Hello Chuck and Jeni,

Bill Epps, one of the best smiths I know lives in Dallas. I think he still lives On Military pkwy in Mesquite. His contact info should be listed in the "links" section here. If it is not let me know and I will find it for you.
   Myke - Thursday, 08/07/03 19:55:50 EDT

Myke, sadly Bill has had to sell his shop due to a variety of reasons and is not currently in business.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/07/03 20:10:25 EDT

QC, great find. Looking to be in good condition and BEING in good condition are two different things.

Price depends a lot on who has them and the condition. Old hammers in plants where they no longer have a smith go for scrap. Currently 300, 400 and 500 pound Chambersburgs and Bements and others are going for scrap every day. Nazel self contained hammers for more but still way below market.

Little Giants of all sizes have been selling for roughly the same price for many years. The demand is high for the little 25 pound hammers that you can haul in a mini-pickup or the trunk of a large car. . Fresly rebuilt they are selling for around $4,000 (about 10 x when sold new). The typical US price is closer to $1,500 to $2,000 for all sizes.

I do not know Massillon. If it is a self contained then I would guess that it is about a 100 pound hammer. If it is a mechanical hammer with in-line pneumatic coupling I would stay away from it. These had a lot of problems and were not very successful.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/07/03 20:24:39 EDT

Guru, what you say is certainly true about the condition of the hammers. Both are too big for my tiny work area in the garage. I guestimated they might fetch $1500-$2,000 each but the plant manager said they were not worth the trouble to sell them, even at that price. Sadly, they will probably just sit there a remember better times. Our company hasn't had a blacksmith in over 20 years. No one I spoke to even remembers what they were used for. On a positive note, I received my Saltfork Craftsmen swage block today. Another project for this weekend!
   Quenchcrack - Thursday, 08/07/03 21:01:08 EDT

I am really sorry to hear that. Bill was directly responsible for my starting in blacksmithing. I guess all good things must end sometime, but it is still sad.
   Myke - Thursday, 08/07/03 22:39:59 EDT

Mr. Bill, My .02... I have made welding and work/layout tables from 3/16" plate to 1.5" thick plate with a couple half inch and 5/8" tables thrown in for good neasure. By far, the easiest to get and keep flat are the 1.5" thick top plate tables. Weld some 2 inch pipe legs to the bottom of the plate every three feet and some 3" channel around the legs near the floor with a 4 inch toe space. Bottom shelf on top of the 3" channel.

The guru is right that welding on even 3/4" thick plate in the sizes you mentioned will warp the table if anything other than a tack weld. I have no measurable distortion welding 2" pipe legs to the 1.5" thick tops.

It is also far easier to get flat plate when it is thicker. And around here, scrap guys would rather sell you a thick plate than a thin plate. The thicker ones are more work to cut up for scrap to remelt.

To get a thinner plate welded to a frame with minimal distortion, drill holes in the plate and plug weld the plate to the frame through the holes. Bolting is easier to keep flat. Some bolted tables let the top bounce a little. Rattly tops are bad. Firm robust tops are good.

I guess tops that slip CAN be good too. But not for welding. grin.

I second forgetting the casters.

Get thick plate if you can. No frame support needed beyond the legs. Less work and better in the long run in my opinion. Sometimes less $ per pound from the scrap guy. To each his own. The only down side to a thick top is it takes bigger clamps to clamp stuff to the edge of the table.

TGN, slush cast a lead anvil. Solid, but hollow. AND you can tell the "unusually entertained" audience that it's LEAD. Heavier than steel!


Don't forget to lick your fingers.
   - Tony - Thursday, 08/07/03 23:18:02 EDT

Just posted to say: AYE!!
greetings all:-) hope you all are great. nice sunny day here in sweden.
   - OErjan - Friday, 08/08/03 04:36:28 EDT

More light anvils: I think that the lightest, most realistic model would be made from plate. Say 1/4" steel. But it is quite a piece of sculpture as 1/4" plate is a LOT tougher than it looks.

Any casting is going to need a pattern. This is either a wood/plastic model OR an actual anvil. The problem with using an actual anvil as a pattern is fairly obvious, it is HEAVY and hard to handle. But on the technical side it must also have tapered surfaces (draft) so that it can be gotten out of the sand. The draft is machined off the face and base of a finished anvil so the face and base would have to be temporarily built up. OR a three or four piece mold must be created. Both methods requires that an anvil that was original a casting as old forged anvils do not have draft.

No matter how it is done the pattern and mold making costs are going to be significant. You could find an amature pattern maker that would make the pattern for what a LARGE new anvil cost (Over $1,000) and then still have to arrange to have the thing cast.

In the normal scheme of things for production work, a wood pattern is made first, then cast in aluminium and then refinished and the aluminium pattern used as the production pattern.

Of course we are not talking about a production situation but the point is the pattern starts life as wood, plastic, foam. . . and you don't make a casting without some kind of pattern.

A big wood anvil with a thick steel plate screwed to the top could look realistic AND sound more like an anvil when struck with a hammer. And still weigh less than aluminium.
   - guru - Friday, 08/08/03 10:25:55 EDT


hmmmm . . . it sounds familiar . . .

   Escher - Friday, 08/08/03 10:48:48 EDT

I have e-mailed Nimba Anvil Co. about having their Titan model cast in aluminum. They already have molds and cast with steel on a regular basis. I haven't heard from them yet. The Titan model is 120 lbs., so by your calculations an aluminum one should be about 40 pounds. That's exactly what I am looking for. If all else fails, the all mighty Guru's last bit of advice will work, a wood anvil plated with steel.

   The Great Nippulini - Friday, 08/08/03 11:31:46 EDT

for my layout tables which i built with 2" pipe legs I set the crossbar high enough to get a jack under (in this case 8"from floor) this way i can jack up the table and slip the casters I attached to short pieces of 3" pipe over the table legs,lower and roll to my hearts content. NOt terribly convienent but it beats dragging them around with a truck .
   aaron - Friday, 08/08/03 11:36:22 EDT

Portability: My father-in-law had a table saw stand that had a center mounted caster that raised and lowered on a simple lever. Normaly the caster was UP and the saw set steadily on the floor. To move the saw you pressed down on the lever with your foot to raise the saw and shifted the lever to the side under a catch. The saw then rolled while balanced on the single wheel. It did not roll well but it DID roll and was very convienient for the ocassional move. I thought it was pretty slick. Looked like a design out of an old Mechanics Illustrated. Something similar in steel would be handy on a variety of machines and tools.
   - guru - Friday, 08/08/03 13:38:52 EDT

I've come across discarded die plates of blanking dies which are available in my city. Supposing they are D2, can I anneal them and reuse them for my blanking dies purpose. What shall be the effect on the hardness of the plates if they are annealed and hardened twice?

I shall be obliged if you guide me in this matter.
Best regards
   Zafarul Ahsan - Friday, 08/08/03 13:46:59 EDT

Reusing Die Steel: Zafarul, Yes you can anneal, machine and heat treat the steel. To anneal D2 requires a slow furnace cooling at a rate of 40°C or 22°F per hour from 870-900°C (1600-1650°F) down to below the critical temperature (A2 or magnetic point).

As long as the steel is not cracked from its previous use you can reuse it if you take the same care with the steel as you would new.
   - guru - Friday, 08/08/03 14:51:30 EDT

I saw a wood anvil with a steel top on ebay the other day... how odd that it would come up here (No, I have no idea what it was for... do any of you? I thought it might have been a ship's anvil. It looked like it would float).

I'm curious; with my anvil, I have to make do with a clamp where most people have pritchels and hardies. However, I remember hearing about Japanese smiths with their square plain anvils in lots of books and from people; how did the Japanese get around the inherent lack of versatility of a plain anvil, does anyone know? Might be some tricks I can pick up for my situation.

Sunny in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Friday, 08/08/03 15:34:49 EDT

THe square anvil was/is in use for a lot longer than the 'traditional' anvils we see today. For those operations that might benefit from a hardy or pritchel hole they would have mad some sort of stake tool and used it in a stump etc.
   Ralph - Friday, 08/08/03 16:17:47 EDT

T. Gold, do you remember where this wooden anvil is located at on eBay? I tried to search it, but nothing is coming up.

   The Great Nippulini - Friday, 08/08/03 17:33:39 EDT

I need to know the names of mechanical punches for punching holes in railing channel. Fly press, flywheel press, punch press. Where can I find used american or european presses? Thanks much...
   - andrew - Friday, 08/08/03 17:44:17 EDT

The horn and heel are handy, but you can get nice bends by feeding stock over the anvil edge and using incremental leverage blows just beyond the anvil. Much scroll work is done without the horn; lots is done on the anvil face.

For punching, a bolster can be made. It can be a plate with sized holes, a small iron piece with a single hole, or a square or flat piece bent to a "U' for chisel work.

For cutting, there is no reason not to use a top hot chisel into a soft metal chisel plate, the latter residing below your workpiece.
   Framl Turley - Friday, 08/08/03 18:41:31 EDT

Punching Machines: Andrew, fly press, punch press, OBI press, ironworker, power press, foot press, ball bearing "C" punch, hydraulic punch. . . There are MANY machines capable of doing the job.

Generaly fly presses and punch presses require extra tooling (I'm writing an article on that at this very moment). Power presses and foot presses such as those made by Roper Whitney and almost all ironworkers take the punch fitted directly to the ram and come with a die shoe to accept dies within the machines size range. No extra tooling is required.

Used, these machines are found at every used equipment dealer and more often than not in the junkyard. The old mechanical clutch machines have been deemed too dangerous to be able to meet OSHA regulations and are being scraped by the millions. If anyone asks for more than scrap price then they are asking TOO much. Most dealers are avoiding them so they go to scrap.

New punch presses that meet the new requirements have air clutches and two handed safety controls. One of the problems with most of the old machines is they were originaly setup to be foot operated and this let you get your hands under the operating press. Too many people lost hands. Another problem is that the old mechanical clutches tend to double cycle once in a while. That second unexpected cycle would occur as the operator was reaching in to remove or replace work. . .
   - guru - Friday, 08/08/03 20:24:50 EDT

TGN, sorry to say, no. It was a while back; it's long gone. Simple enough to make though; just picture an anvil that would be around 150lbs if it were metal, then make it out of wood and put a 1/4" steel plate on the top.
   T. Gold - Friday, 08/08/03 20:46:53 EDT

recently I saw a show of a blacksmith in Atlanta Georgia
making decorative entrance gates. he was using some sort of a hand bender to make final adjustments to some scrolls he was making. It was mounted to the floor and it worked horizontally,about waist high. He said its was invented some time ago possibly around 1900. Do you know what this bender is and where I can get some plans to build one myself. Thanks so much for your time Guru,,,
   - dick moeller - Friday, 08/08/03 20:52:51 EDT

Bender: Dick, check out part two of our bender article, it is probably a Hossfeld bender. If its a Hossfeld, Centaur Forge sells them new and Shop Outfitters makes a light weight knock off (its American made). I have 1 and 1/2 of one. The problem is dies. You can find lots of used Hossfelds but rarely do they come with dies.
   - guru - Friday, 08/08/03 21:00:38 EDT

www.DoNotCall.Gov: Register NOW. Stop telephone spam!

Over 30 million Americans have registered. That is more than enough to elect a president. Lets see if we can register enough to put the telemarketers out of business!

Spammers NEXT!
   - guru - Friday, 08/08/03 21:20:33 EDT

Oil drain plug: I know you are all dying to hear the outcome. I used a torch to head the head of the plug to dull red and was able to turn it with a large pipe wrench. No need for the welder.
   adam - Friday, 08/08/03 22:35:39 EDT

Layout Table.
As always I appreciate the answers that I get from this site. I have always been in a small shop space and needed to have all equipment movable. I like the idea of a HEAVY table that has a cam operated caster system to make it movable. I will work on a lever actuated, over center, self-locking mechanism to lift the table onto wheels. Before you laugh yourself silly, I have done that with heavy theater scenery. I just needed you guys to pop the idea back into my head. Thanks!
Mr. Bill
   Mr. Bill - Friday, 08/08/03 22:37:38 EDT

I looked up in centaur forge catalog,and that is exactly what I saw the Atlanta Smith using. Thanks so much for all your help. Once again I bow to the master. Again thanks for help. Dick
   - dick moeller - Friday, 08/08/03 23:45:59 EDT

Signed uo the day it was avalible

   Ralph - Friday, 08/08/03 23:54:21 EDT

I don't know if this is another internet urban legend or not but I recieved this today from a friend:

Interesting.................... (From a friend in Seattle)

This week I received a card in the mail that looked all right -- It said "vote for your favorite cola - Pepsi or Coke-and receive a complementary 12 pack" It didn't look suspicious--but for some reason I kept looking at it. THEN I FOUND IT !!
At the bottom of the card here is a VERY small statement. It is SO small it is hard to read--but here is what it says----" By completing this form, you agree that sponsors and co-sponsors of this offer may telephone you , even if your number is found on a do not call registry or list "

This REALLY upset me and I just wanted all my friends to be aware of this way to get around the "do not call" law !! Just think how many people will send this in and their do not call registry will be NO GOOD !! The company's name is MARKET SOLUTION.

Please send this to all your friends that signed up for " do not call" . I think this is just one of what we will get in the future--so READ EVERYTHING before you SIGN AND SEND !! AND TELL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT IT.!!!! PLEASE!!
   Habu - Saturday, 08/09/03 00:20:18 EDT

The pub is working! Rougues gallery is still off-line
   - guru - Saturday, 08/09/03 01:14:47 EDT

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