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

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

This is an archive of posts from August 18 - 25, 2003 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

I found an old file card and brush at a rummage sale for $.50 in fair shape. Inset into the handle, held in place by a clip, was an unusual file pick. Soft iron, the pick had a loop handle and instead of the usual pointed pick, this one has a flattened blade with a squared off end.
It works really well! From time to time it needs to be dressed to keep it thin enough to fit in the cuts and keep the end from rounding off too much. Much more effective than a regular pick.
An old smith told me to never clean a file with hardened steel and would have been horrified at the Good Guru's wire brush technique.
There was a mention, a while back, of using the electrolytic rust removel method to sharpen files..anyone ever done this?
The Boggs resharpening co and others ,pickle files in acids to sharpen them and they are sold at reasonable prices. They don't seem to leave quite a clean a finish and appear to me to dull more quickly..but still are a bargain..especially if they are missing a few teeth.

Eric, Some recent research indicates that the minute metal particles that were previously dismissed as unimportant do much more damage to our lungs than previously thought...and metal more than other types of dust....something about forming free radicals that damage the oxy absorbing fine structures of our lungs.
A mask will seal over a beard with vasolene...but...a tight strap, good fit and a wide, soft sealing edge all help. Even a leaky mask is a bit better than nothing.
Having a beard myself, I pull the filter cartridge and mount out of the rubber mask and fit it over a snorkel mouthpiece. Inhale through the mouth, exhale through teh nose. Have used this system for years...it started as a more elaborate set up but I just kept eliminating parts till it got down to this. I have several different kinds of filter setups...and I look awful after an hour or 3, but it is better than nothing..probably.
The good Guru has a very effective system for controling dust...whenever the heavy storms flood out his shop ,he has no dust problem at all...till it dries.
Vicopper; Your postings are just plain excellent, mostly ( grin) and I sure would like to express my thanks!
   - Pete F - Monday, 08/18/03 03:30:28 EDT

Files: I've heard that some of the big machine shops keep files immersed in kerosene. Supposedly loosens the crud, including aluminum that gets in the teeth. Has anyone tried it?
   - Ron Childers - Monday, 08/18/03 07:47:23 EDT

Electrolytic rust removal and acid pickling both work, to some extent, to restore old files. The condition of the files governs how well the processes work. If you start with a file that is trashed from being rattled around in a box full of other files in your pickup truck, don't expect much. On the other hand, if you have a file that has been used properly and is just getting a bit dull or rusty, either process will work pretty well.

To restore an old file by pickling, immerse it in a 1:3 solution of muriatic acid (30%HCl) in water. Keep it up off the bottom of the bath by placing plastic or glass rods underneath it. Actually, I use throwaway plastic picnic knives for this. If you can lightly agitate the solution, it improves the performance. Let the file remain in the bath for 30 minutes and rinse/neutralize and check it. This may be all it takes for a fine cut file, coarser files may need more time or a slightly stronger solution. The process works by etching the file teeth which decreases the radius of the rounded off teeth until they act as though they were sharp. Don't expect miracles, but do expect some noticeable improvement.

Electrolytic rust removal, which consists of using the file as the anode in an electrolytic solution does somewhat the same thing as an acid etch, but without the dangerous acid. For files that are coated with rust, this is the best approach as it only removes the rust and doesn't eat away at the teeth. A 12v battery charger that will supply 6 to 10 amps will do the job. The solution is made by dissolving a cup or two of washing soda in a couple of gallons of water. Doesn't need to be exact at all. A steel or iron cathod is imersed in the solution along with (but not touching) the file and the current is turned on. You should see tiny bubbles forming on the file when it is working. 15 minutes may be enough to do the job.

It is important to prevent files from rusting, as the rust is very hard on the teeth. Not only does it abrade the teeth, it also breaks up into fine dust which clogs the teeth and promotes "loading". One way to decrease loading is to rub the file with some soapstone. Keeping it free of rust is the best way, though. A piece of hard brass sheet makes a pretty good scraper for clearing teeth, by the way.

Pete F: Thank you. I try.
   vicopper - Monday, 08/18/03 10:34:20 EDT

Files in Kerosene: I've heard this one posted here too but it sounds impractical. If you have a bunch of files in a tank of dirty kerosene you are going to need to dig around in them looking for the file you need. This is inconvienient and possibly dammages the files. The kind of stuff that clogs file teeth does not remove with solvent. It is little pieces of metal packed tightly against burrs on the teeth. And last, if you don't have a very special container for doing this you have an open container of flamable solvent in you shop. This is dangerous, will probably upset your insurance company and the local fire marshal.

IF files are getting so greasy they need to be degreased than they need to be cleaned with solvent, inspected, brushed, nits picked out and re-oiled for storage.

Power Wire Brushing: My wire brush setup is VERY non-aggressive. I use a soft fine wire wheel running on a relatively slow 1800 RPM motor. On files I run the wheel in the direction of the second cut grooves and WITH the direction of the teeth. It derusts and removes nits without damaging the file (that I can tell). Of course I have some very old files that I have probably been maintaining a little too long. . .

Most wire brush setups I have seen are much to aggressive and leave a rough cut up surface on soft steel and damage surface finishes on tools. I have no use for them except on the coarsest crustiest rust on structural type items.

Bastard Cut: When double cut (the term bastard did not come in until around WWII) are made the first cut is flattened with a file before the second cut is made.

VI's file drawings. . I have them here. An odd mix that we were going to work on . . . I will look and take some photos.

File Pick I have a very nice commercial file card but it does not have a pick. It is easy enough to make and to drill a hole for. You learn something every day.

OK. . . now you guys have me out cleaning my old files and setting up to photograph them. . . .
   - guru - Monday, 08/18/03 10:48:29 EDT

More on Dust: If the primary concern is your health and not the shop cleanliness then a supplied air hood works well. A sand blasters hood will do the trick and provides a face shield as well. If you want to DIY the air system you will need about 10 feet of light weight plastic vacuume cleaner hose (NEW). You don't want old because you don't have a clue what is in that old hose. A small blower (can be bought for $50 at a furnace/appliance parts supplier). AND a large paper air filter. Big air filters for old V-8 engines are best. New ones will cost $15 - $20 US. What you want is lots of surface area so that you do not starve the blower and the filter lasts a long time.

The air filter gets mounted between two sheet metal plates on the intake of the blower (or the blower gets mounted on the filter. . ). If you get the top and bottom of the air filter housing from a junck yard you will be way ahead. The air filter housing also lets you direct its intake away from dirt sources.

The blower, mounted overhead on a shelf hooks to the hose and the hose to the top of the hood. You now have fresh air and cooling for the hood. You can make fancy metal/plastic fittings or use duct tape.

PAW-PAW! Build one NOW! You have two junk vehicals in the yard to steal air filter housing from!

NEVER use compressed air for breathing air. Air compressors both dry the air and contaminate it with oil and heavy metal particles. The dry air can cause pneumonia and the oil worse. SPECIAL air compressors are made for breathing air and are clearly labeled so.

   - guru - Monday, 08/18/03 11:15:21 EDT

As usual I'm soaking up all this file know-how. Which only leads to more questions.
1). In the electrolytic rust removal, do you put one lead from the charger on the file itself and one on the steel cathode? Does it matter pos or neg.?
2). Will using steel files on stainless cause the same problem with rust as using steel wire wheels?
   Gronk - Monday, 08/18/03 11:22:24 EDT

Polarity: Gronk, Yes it is critical - I don't know which way is right. Used to know the chemistry well enough to say. . . 30 years ago. Anyone got the right way?

Steel Tools on Stainless: Will they contaminate? Yes and No. If you break a file tooth and it embeds in the stainless then it will rust later. Generally it is not a problem. In the Nuclear Industry they get positively nuts on this subject to the point of absurdity. They act like the entire facility where parts were made was non-ferros. That the lathe chucks were not steel, that the cutter bits, drills and taps were not HSS, that the inspection bench and the micrometer anvils were not steel or that the rigging to move the parts and was not steel. . . . WORSE, much of the HSS has cobalt in it. This really sets off alarms in Nuclear plants. . . (metaphoricaly AND literally).
   - guru - Monday, 08/18/03 11:40:38 EDT

If I remember correctly ( and I am probably wrong) The red lead goes on the sacraficial anode and the black goes on the item to be de-rusted. Watch the piece and see which one forms bubbles. Well here it is... I knew I would find the link.
   Ralph - Monday, 08/18/03 12:08:11 EDT

PVC-dust colectors. when pvc is used in dust collectors it is a good idea to run bare copper wire inside the pipe to a ground at the motor. This will dissipate static electricity in the lines that could cause a dust explosion.
   habu - Monday, 08/18/03 12:10:19 EDT

Junk vehicles are gone.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 08/18/03 12:34:23 EDT

Electrolytic Rust Removal:

Sorry, I was a bit brief on the methodology. The anode is a piece of iron or steel. I use stainless steel becuase it last longer. The other end of the circuit is the file. Anode is positive, FILE(or other rusty object) is NEGATIVE. My setup uses a 5 gallon plastic pail with a piece of stainless steel sheet wrapped around the inside wall of the bucket. I use a small handful of washing soda (sodium carbonate) for the bucket of solution. I have a 12v/6a cheapo battery charger that works okay. The clips that came on it are junk and have been replaced with good solid copper ones. It takes anywhere from 15 min to overnight to take care of the rust, depending on how bad it is. If you periodically remove the piece and wash it under running water and scrub it with a stiff brush, it seems to work better.

According to things I have read, the rust isn't really removed but rather is converted to unrusted iron at the surface of the item. Supposedly, this allows the scale to be washed away. I can't vouch for the chemistry of the situation, but the process does seem to work quite well. It also works okay to loosen tough firescale.

I hope this clears up any confusion I might have created.
   vicopper - Monday, 08/18/03 12:44:20 EDT

In case anyone really cares, I did a bit more research on the electrolytic rust removal and discovered a couple things. Rust, the red/orange/brown kind, is Fe2O3. The electrolytic process converts this to Fe3O4, which is the same as firescale, or hematite. The reason brown rust is so bad is that it is a larger molecule than the iron, so it causes flaking and pitting of the iron, constantly exposing new metal to the oxygen present. The Fe3O4 molecule is the same size as the iron molecule, basically, so it doesn't displace good metal. It also has less affinity for free oxygen so it doesn't change to brown rust, thus acting as a protective coating, to some extent. Don't be misled into thinking that you don't need to protect the surface, though. You definitely do. Something to exclude oxygen and moisture, such as oil, grease, paint or plating.

I neglected to mention earlier that the rusty item needs to be pretty clean before ging in the bath. Grease, oil, paint, etc will prevent the solution from coming into contact with the base steel and leave unconverted areas.
   vicopper - Monday, 08/18/03 13:13:28 EDT

Good ideas for a clean air system! I have all the parts on hand, I just never thought of connecting them in that way! As I have a large, bushy MOOSEtash a face mask is useless to me and when I sand blast I just can't help but to beleave that all that sand powder in the air is bad for me. As the old miners used to say you get "rocks in the box" (lungs) and that is the end of you.

Files; for a "file pick" I take an old cartrage case such as a 30-06, flatten the end in a vise and then use it to clean the files. When used, (with the teeth, not against them) the edge of the case takes on the spacing of the file groves and works well to pick out all the junk that you don't want. They are cheep, won't damage the file and are disposeable.
   - Wayne Parris - Tuesday, 08/19/03 08:46:09 EDT

I just bought a used anvil. I'm trying to figure out the manufacturer. I've cleaned off the sides of it but haven't found any company stamps or cast marks. It's around 300lb. The strange thing is the location of the pritchel hole. It's up by the chipping block on the face of the anvil. Any clues?
   StephenP - Tuesday, 08/19/03 10:31:32 EDT

Strange Anvil: Stephen, Anvils have come in many configurations other than what we consider as "standard".
European anvils normaly do not have a small pritchel hole of the type found on English and American anvils but have a large punching hole toward the horn and usualy centered on the face.

American and English made anvils for export to Europe often had the common thin rectangular heal instead of a square second horn but had the hardie and punching holes familiar to Europeans. American manufacturers also made double horned anvils for export having a step at both horns instead of their being flush with the face.

Some old anvils had hardie or square punching holes in the side of the face. These had to curve outward and open on the side of the anvil since they were over the body. This is a very old style and is fairly rare.

The best that can be done when there are no markings is to have an expert look at the anvil. Anvils made by Mousehole forge and by smiths trained at mousehole all have the same general shape and feet. One telling trait of Mousehole anvils is a sharp ridge under the horn making its cross section an inverted tear drop where it joins the body. Anvils made by some American manufacturers often have distinctive features but so many copied each other that it is often hard to tell without clear markings. Late Hay-Buddens have a distinctive flat section under the horn that is not very graceful but is definitely unique. Of course there have been Chinese cast iron copies of Hay-Buddens made in recent years that look identical. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/19/03 10:59:02 EDT

Thanks for all the file cleaning tips gang. I won't be passing up so many at yard sales and such.
   Gronk - Tuesday, 08/19/03 11:35:21 EDT

Sand Blasting WARNING! Sand blasting can be VERY bad for your health. The dust is not a minor problem. Most sand is silicon and when it breaks up and makes fine dust you have the #1 ingrediant for silicosis. Silicosis is a debilitating lung disease and is usually diagnosed as emphysema.

Other problems. . . Paints have all kinds of metalic compounds in them as pigment. Most reds, yellows and oranges have cadnium, some blues cobalt and all colors of old paint may have lead oxides. These are all toxic and since heavy metal exposure is cummulative you never know when you are going to absord one microgram too much. . .

Although sand blasting does not take off galvanizing very well it DOES remove some and breathing dust or fumes from the old type cadnium galvanizing is just plain leathal.

Heavy metal exposure can come from many sources, leaded gasoline, lead paint, burning galvanizing, melting brass, copper and lead alloys, burning common high strength welding rods with manganese. There is no cure for heavy metal poisioning. Generally it is a long, slow, painful debilatating disease.

SO. . . sand blasting can get you TWO ways and neither one is very nice.

Respirators: The third way these things can get you is by trying to do the right thing and wearing a full face respirator that you are not in physical condition to use. Any filter mask makes it harder to breathe as well as recirculationg some carbon dioxide. The result is extra stress on your lungs and heart. In industry you have to found medicaly fit before training to use or wearing a full face respirator. If you are going to wear one in your shop go see a doctor first. In most cities if you tell them what you need to be checked for they will know the tests they perform for industry. Note however that the Federal standards are rather lax and will approve almost anyone. They approved me when they should not have. If you have had asthma or other breathing problems, heart problems or failed a stress test you probably KNOW you shouldn't be wearing a full face respirator.

Supplied air hoods are not as convienient as a respirator due to the tethered hose. But they are much safer AND the cool fresh air can actually make you more comfortable while you work.

Be sure to filter the air going to the supplied air hood. If you are making dust anywhere in your shop it will probably travel to where ever your blower is setup. The dust you can SEE is generally not the problem. It is the dust that you can't see.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/19/03 12:20:14 EDT

Viruses and Telemarketing: Someone out there that frequents anvilfire has the WORM_SOBIG.F a Klez derivitive that forges return addresses. I am getting bounced mail using my address. . Virus scanners should really stop sending bounce messages since most post Klez viruses do not use the true return address. . . Thus the anti-virus program becomes a spam device. .

Are you a Sprint customer? Slammers are at it again. We had a call from someone representing themselves as "a billing agent for Sprint" offering special long distance rates and "one bill billing". It is all lies. They are not agents of Sprint (or AT&T). I called Sprint to check on this and was told that my account clearly had "do not telemarket" on it as well as a "pick freeze".

I have not had trouble with slammers in about 5 years or more. The pic-freeze warns them off. I remembered a few seconds too late that this same company had called once before and I had told them to "take me off your call list". I should have stayed on long enough to get the companies name and address. . . But I tend to be very abrupt with these folks. They are theives invading my house. . .

During the height of the slammers (telephone account theives) I was advised by the telephone company to NEVER respond to any incoming calls about telephone service. Always call the listed customer service number, not a number given to you by the caller. Ask for any offers to be sent by print mail.

The caller this morning acted shocked and insulted when I said "No you are not Sprint. NO, do nothing to my telephone account". These folks are great actors and it is part of the con. These are NOT honest telemarketers trying to make a living. They are theives and they know it and they DO get upset when you catch them at it.

Most of you over 40 probably remember "slamming" but I was surprised that my relatively savy apprentice had not. He is just a little too young to have had a telphone at the height of the problem. SO, the above is for all you 20-30 somethings that missed it.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/19/03 13:51:03 EDT

I have a whisper momma gas forge that I have been using weekends for about 2yrs.Lately when I fire it up it seems to sputter a little until it warms up.Could the orifices need cleaning?
   Chris Makin - Tuesday, 08/19/03 16:08:33 EDT

Just starting out to learn the art of black smithing. For a few years now, I have been making chainmaille both as armor and as other decorative pieces. I am looking for information about 'swap meets' or similar, where I might meet others with common interests and also pick up some of the tools and knowledge I will need. my goals are to learn this and to attain a certain level of sufficiency, that i might be able to acutally consider leaving my current job of high stress high tech start-ups and move to a quieter, simpler life. Does anyone have any suggestions they would be willing to share?

Thanks for the access to a great web site!

   Zylogue - Tuesday, 08/19/03 18:47:47 EDT

Chris, It could be dirt or corrosion in the injection orifice or just dirt or bugs in the burner tube. Locally the mud dauber wasps fill every hole and sheltered spot from 1/4" UP with their mud nests. It only takes a few days for them to build a considerable obstruction. Plain old spider webs can cause problems too.

I would take the gas pipe off the burner and the burner off the forge and inspect them.

Sometimes the forge end of the burners over heat and melt OR they scale up so bad they obstruct the flow. Clean and scrap off the scale. I coat the working ends inside and out with ITC-213.

NC uses a fairly small precision orifice. You should not stick anything that could scratch the brass into it. A standard pipe cleaner should work.

You may also want to inspect you hoses and blow them out. Ocassionaly things get in them when they are not hooked up. Open the valve and blow out the entire line with it removed from the burner. I've had mud daubers build nests in hoses that were disconected for a couple days. The grit can ruin a good regulator.

You will find that the bolts holding the burner on get rusted from the condensation in the forge shell. I put Never-Seize on these so they will come apart the next time.

When you reinstall the gas pipe on the burner be sure it is centered in the burner(s).

In very humid weather the refractory in forges tends to absorb moisture. While this is steaming off inside the forge it can make the forge waffle or sputter. This is most noticable after doing repairs or coating with ITC-100. Once the forge is good and dry it runs right.

One last thing. . If you keep the interior of your forge TOO clean they are hard to keep lit. Some dust of crumbled fire brick on the floor will heat up and maintain ignition very quickly. Lack of something to keep the fire going is rare but it does happen especially on new forges that are kept very clean.

   - guru - Tuesday, 08/19/03 18:59:04 EDT

Meets Z, Try our ABANA-Chapter.com page. Find your local group. Many of these groups rotate where they hold meetings to cover a wide area and others have local "sub groups" (or forges). So don't be dissapointed if they are not right next door. On the other hand, many folks drive 100 miles to go to monthly meetings.

We have lots of coverage of the kinds of things that go on at blacksmith meet large and small in our NEWS.

Then. . WE are here, and that means everywhere from Sweden to New Zeland and all points inbetween.

Blacksmithing quieter? Simpler? Maybe, But plasma torches and laser cutting are part of many blacksmith shops as well as hammer and anvil. And being self employed is an all together different kind of stress. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/19/03 19:09:31 EDT


It's a bit of a toss up whether Jock or I work for the meanest mother in the valley. Mine tells me that if I don't work, I don't eat. I work for myself. Mind you, I wouldn't change that for anything in the world, but it's a factor to consider. And Jock works for the same kind of boss I do.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 08/19/03 21:17:07 EDT

Zylogue, Quad-State is fast approaching---*iff* you are located in the United States within driving distance of western Ohio. Check it out at their website www.sofasounds.com.

If you are in Oz, WE, etc let us know and we can dig up some contacts there as well.

   - Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 08/20/03 07:25:36 EDT

Virus Load: I had 35 virus bounce mails this AM and they are still trickling in. Those are undeliverable or filtered mails out of thousands. These were probably sent by one person's computer overnight.

Since this person is an anvilfire visitor many of you may have recieved similar mail in MY NAME. It is a forgery, please do not open it. If I send you unexpected mail it will NEVER include attachments. If I have something to show you it will have a link to on-line content.

Some of the viruses now send mail that LOOKS like bounce mail including their attachment. They are hoping that you (or someone in your office) will think the attachment was something you tried to send someone else and open it to see what didn't get through. . . Some even include headers claiming "Certified Virus Free by XXX software". . .

The other ploy is "Important message, Details in attachment". . . Out local TV station had a rather moronic report on this one claiming they were lucky that their anti-virus filters removed the attachment. In this case I'd rather be smart than lucky. Filters only work on recognized viruses. Weeks can go by between when a virus spreads world wide and when your anti-virus company creates a filter.

To make matters worse I am now getting responses from various places that think I tried to contact them. . . more spam.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/20/03 08:51:14 EDT

I am in the UK and trying to locate and purchase an Armitage Anvil as a gift for my Father.

We are relatives of the Armitage family from Mousehole forge, Sheffield, (still have a copy of the sale of the premises along with details of wages in my loft) but unfortunately none of the anvils have been left in the family.

Any ideas, as I don't know anything about anvils or where to get them?

Thanks in anticipation

Lee Armitage
   Lee Armitage - Wednesday, 08/20/03 09:30:55 EDT

Where can I find a source for weldable candle drip cups?
   David Shoemaker - Wednesday, 08/20/03 12:13:09 EDT


Since I dont see an answer to your post, I will offer my 2c. I dont know of any UK suppliers but I would start with the BABA site http://www.baba.org.uk/ and try to chase down all the links in the UK. Schools and institutions may not have any to sell but they can be a rich source of contacts. Here in the US buying anvils is an iffy proposition. There is a lot of junk out there and also quite a few fakes. Furthermore, some of the sellers are less than scrupulous or just plain ignorant. The safest bet for someone who doesnt know much about anvils is to buy from a smith, or a dealer who supplies to mainly to smiths. These people care about their reputations and are not likely to steer you wrong.

American smiths tend to be obssessive about anvils (face it guys - you need counseling!) and their history. I imagine Brit smiths are much the same and, in light of your family history, would welcome a chance to help you.

It it would be worthwhile to do a bit of reading and learn the distinguishing characteristics of Mouseholes. (I confess I dont know much about mouseholes) You will get further with anvil enthusiasts if you can hold up your end in an "anvil conversation". Anvils in America/Postman is the standard ref here and does have quite a bit of info on Mouseholes. You can see a review in the reviews section at this site http://www.anvilfire.com/bookrev/

   - adam - Wednesday, 08/20/03 12:24:00 EDT


In addition to ANVILS IN AMERICA, Richard Postman has written a history titled MOUSEHOLE FORGE, with Johan and Julia Hatfield, the current ownders. There is a review of that book on the bookshelf page, also.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 08/20/03 12:36:51 EDT

M&H Armitage Anvils: The problem with trying to find an M&H Armitage Mousehole anvil in Great Britian is that they were all made for export and sold in the U.S.

I've owned several and if someone really wanted one they are not hard to find among used tool dealers in the US. However, they are VERY rare in Great Britian and almost non-existant in Europe and elsewhere. The British anvil manufacturers seemed to have sales territories and other makers mostly unknown in the US supplied India and Australia.

If you wish to purchase one from the US the price for the anvil will vary from $150 to $250 for a 100 to 125 pound anvil. Add to that crating and shiping.

I would recommend an anvil in that weight range because they are the most common. Smaller ones are quite rare. Larger are going to be expensive to ship.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/20/03 13:15:52 EDT

Candle Hardware: David, Kayne and Son sell both cups and pans.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/20/03 13:19:10 EDT

Interesting. I plan on using my 84lb Mousehole anvil this weekend. Every year, a group of Blacksmiths do a demonstration at Hartwick Pines State Park, near Grayling Michigan. If I remember right, there must have been about 30 of us there last year. It's always a fun time when a large group of smiths get together, and the public gets a chance to see, to buy, and sometimes to acually beat the heck out of a piece of metal themselves. So that is where I am off to in the morning. Fun times ahead!
   Bob H - Wednesday, 08/20/03 15:21:40 EDT

What is the formula to figure CFPS out of a blower?
   - Aksmith - Wednesday, 08/20/03 18:12:22 EDT

Blower output:

It would take a bunch of work to calculate the output of a blower. Swept area of impeller, speed, static pressure, Reynolds factor of the housing design, available motor power, etc. I don't do that kind of figuring, I just get the numbers off the critter and look it up. If I can't find the model numbers, I just take the measurements and try to find something similar in the catalogeus and work from that. If there is an easy way to figure out cfs on a blower I don't know it, but it would be a nice thing to know.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 08/20/03 20:14:28 EDT

I'll second the Great Guru about the virus storm. We're getting all sorts of nasty stuff at our NPS address, which is Federal. Our IT folks are on the ball and we have the latest and best virus protection updates, but some is still seeping through. Usually I only see about one a week, but suddenly it seems like a dozen or so are showing up every day, plus the "bouncers" for messages going out spoofing my work address!

It's a nasty world out there. Y'all be careful.

Warm and humid on the banks of the lower Potomac. The wif has put the A/C back on in the bedroom, so I have to put on some additional clothes and throw on another blanket. I'll be glad when winter comes and I can freeze honestly instead of spending money and using energy to do so. ;-)

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 08/20/03 22:59:00 EDT

I've gotten no less than fifteen mails infected with the latest iteration of the Sobig virus just tonight. Fortunately, my AVG anti-virus scanner catches them all, but who can ever be sure? I'm almost ready to join Jock's camp and dump Microslop entirely.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 08/20/03 23:56:29 EDT

The best dust collection site on the web - http://cnets.net/~eclectic/woodworking/cyclone/Index.html; and if you are cheap, solid plans for building your own system. For dusty environments where comfort and vision are important, try a battery operated full flow hardhat style faceshield. HEPA filter on air pump and laminar flow behind the faceshield. Used by woodworkers who have developed allergies to specific wood species. The 3M Power Visor is one example - the simplest and lightest but also the most expensive. The Dust Bee Gone mask is another option (looks like a medical mask) but only good to 3 microns. However, it does work fairly well with facial hair.
   - dloc - Thursday, 08/21/03 00:49:19 EDT

Thomas P

When you said Oz , did you mean Australia??

If so , more info please..

Also on the subject of anvil's ,a Peter W. 3-4 hunred wieght $1000+ depending on condition.


fine 3-25 deg cel. in Ipswich Aust today
   - wayne - Thursday, 08/21/03 07:15:56 EDT

Wayne, I did mean the Australia/NZ area; however it was folks like you I was thinking of pointing him at. The archives can probably list a couple other smiths from up thataway as I recall several discussing the problems of equipment finding over the last several years. (up and down in space is rather a silly concept)

This is truly an international forum and we need to keep that in mind.

Thomas hot and hazy in central Ohio, USA, NA, NH, Sol III
   - Thomas Powers - Thursday, 08/21/03 10:08:52 EDT

would also like to avoid microsoft if possible. will probably get an apple this week for home...apple should work well with AF, correct??
   rugg - Thursday, 08/21/03 10:24:35 EDT

blower cfm: AK, I have a Gingery book which gives formulas for calculating blower output and allowing for slippage. I'd be happy to send you a scan of the relevant pages but his formulas are for flat blade fans. Most blowers that one comes across have curved blades thatonly partially cover the output. The intention, I think is to sacrifice efficiency for quietness.

More useful is his design for a simple pressure gauge made from plastic tubing filled with water. It works on the venturi principle. Even if you can calibrate it, it could provide relative measurements.
   adam - Thursday, 08/21/03 10:27:00 EDT

Glass for lamps: where can I find a supplier for glass lamp covers? I am looking for simple, unadorned shapes.
   adam - Thursday, 08/21/03 10:28:39 EDT

oops! meant "even if you CAN'T calibrate it" ... ahem!

First, pants THEN shoes.

First, pillage THEN burn.

First, proof THEN post.

mebbe I'll learn someday :)

   adam - Thursday, 08/21/03 10:31:40 EDT

Apple/Mac vs. PC's and Viruses: Rugg, We try to keep anvilfire Netscape compatible and most MAC's run Mozzila a Netscape relative. However, I've never tested anvilfire on a MAC. I've SEEN it on a MAC and it looked OK. . . But we run a LOT of Javascript that is tested to work on both IE and Netscape. But I do not have a MAC test platform.

Compared to the number of folks running MACs (pretty low) we get almost no complaints from MAC folks. Our biggest complaint group are those using various versions of IE that are bad/unstable versions. I used to test under IE 4.0 and everything worked perfect. I now use IE 6.0.28 and anvilfire works fine but it screwed my Win98 machine so that it is totaly buggy.

If you want to be sure that anvilfire works on a MAC send me one. . . (see home page for my address) I need one of the new ones with built in video editing capability. A nice anvilfire marroon one would be fine ;)

A MAC will not completely solve the problem of viruses. MAC 's have their own virus problems. However, they have NOTHING like OE for spreading viruses but you WILL be sent just as many by folks that insist that they can tame Microsoft products with patches and antivirus software (it obviously doesn't work). Yesterday I got over 100 virus mails ALL mailed from systems using MS-OE.

OBTW - I run Netscape 4.78. All 5x and 6x versions do not work at all. Paw-paw is running 7.0 and claims it is OK.

anvilfire should still work on Netscape 4.0 except for the store's SSL validation. We are still designing for 640 wide screens (mostly) but need to start taking advantage of a wider format.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/21/03 11:07:44 EDT

Coincidentally, I *have* used Anvilfire on a Mac... and it worked perfectly. I did use Internet Explorer for Mac, rather than Mozilla/Netscape, though. However, on Mac it's a lot more stable/less buggy than on PC. Go figure!

P.S. For general information, Guru, I run Opera 7.0 on a good PC running WinME and have no problems with AF at all.

Back to school in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   - T Gold - Thursday, 08/21/03 11:53:25 EDT

I have more that one question but it all boils down to being cheap. I am a high school Agriscience teacher and we are going to get started doing some blacksmithing in class. We have rounded up about everything we need to get started except an anvil. I have found one but it is in pretty bad shape, the edges are rounded off and the top face is pretty roughed up. Is there any way to "rebuild" this anvil? I have consided "half soling" it with a piece of channel iron, but i don't want to do anything that would finsh the old anvil off for good. any advice would be a help.
   lamar - Thursday, 08/21/03 11:59:43 EDT


From you question I can tell you have a long ways to go. Start with our anvil series on our 21st Century page.

Anvils have a hardened tool steel face and the entirity of the anvil must be a solid mass. Repairs are a job for an expert and even some of those botch it. My recomendation is to NEVER repair an anvil unless it is useless as-is.

Everyone has this misconception that anvils need sharp corners. What for? To make sharp corners in forgings? NO! Forgings are supposed to have round inside corners. . . So what are sharp corners on anvils for? To look pretty, mar work and get chipped off by newbies. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 08/21/03 12:12:18 EDT

T Gold,

Thanks for the input. We TRY to make anvilfire compatible to as many browsers as possible but it is very difficult. This is the opposite of industry trends which immediately jump to the newest technology and abandon users that prefer not to upgrade softweare.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/21/03 12:18:05 EDT

Iamar: Anvils can be repaired but it is tricky. Round edges are not a serious problem. Students are going to miss a lot and chip sharp edges. You can make hardy tools with any edge you like. A belt sander or a grinder with a flap disc can do a lot to restore a face plate. But again, students will put dings in the face.

How cheap? For less than $100 you can buy a very serviceable 110# Russian anvil from Harbor freight - see the review under http://www.anvilfire.com/21centbs/. It will need some grinding and is a bit softer than is ideal but this is an advantage for students since its unlikely to chip. IMO an ideal school anvil. Do be careful when you order as HF also sells a number of almost worthless cast iron anvils. (Almost - I use a 15# as a doorstop - makes a nice conversation piece)
   adam - Thursday, 08/21/03 12:49:47 EDT

Adam, the info on the gauge would be welcome. Just need to know if I'm pushing enough cfps, don't need exact numbers. Thanks
   AKsmith - Thursday, 08/21/03 13:15:47 EDT

Aksmith - there's a Gingery book on centrifugal blowers with blacksmith/home shop calculations for blowers. Not even sure where my copy is at the moment. It would be available from Lindsay, I'm sure.

Browsers: Running Netscape 7.1 with no problems. Really liked 4.7x and 4.8 better, but some vendor sites have features that require later versions. Getting ready to try 7.2. Anvilfire is fine on all of these, by the way. Also starting to play with Linux, but it'll be some time before I'm doing my surfing on the Linux machine. I try to give shop time priority over computer time. ;)

   Steve A - Thursday, 08/21/03 13:30:51 EDT

And a welding question. Yes, forge welding! I've done a few forge welds - faggot welds and the kind where I can wire the pieces together and move them in and out of the fire as one piece. Working up to a drop the tongs attempt. So far when I've needed to do things like put a handle on a shaft, I've done an arc or gas weld and forged it out. Anyway, on to the question...

I've always been admonished to work a piece that's been welded at or near welding heat. Had a couple experiences where it comes loose if I try working at normal forging heat, too. Not always, but some. Now, It Seems To Me that if the steel fuses in welding, then when the weld is finished, it should work like one solid piece at normal forging temperatures. Make sense? At what point, or how do I tell, when the piece goes from being a "Welded Joint, Handle With Care" to a "Piece Of Steel, Go Ahead And Forge As Usual"? I suppose the obvious way to tell is to try forging it, and if it's a good weld it'll be fine? If it's not a good weld, well, it'll come apart, I guess?

   Steve A - Thursday, 08/21/03 13:41:18 EDT

I have a shaft that is 2 11/16" in dia. It is standing verticle with about 2600lbs on top.(end force) The shaft holds a large pc. of 8" casing. There are 6 arms 33' in length bolted to the casing. This making a 66' dia. All of this is supported by the 2 11/16" shaft. This 2 11/16" shaft needs to be extreamly tough. I was thinking of useing a 4340 alloy. Do ya'll have any suggestions? (caint spel)

   Kelly - Thursday, 08/21/03 14:17:52 EDT

I am presently collecting parts and knowledge concerning gas forges my question is, are these hooked up to a blower? if so where? I have read Ron Reils burner page and am still not clear on this point. any input is greatly appreciated.
   - JEFF. - Thursday, 08/21/03 14:59:02 EDT

gas burners. There are two main types atmospheric (sucks in the air by venturi action) and blown. Rons page is devoted to atmospheric burners. He and the others mentioned there pretty much pioneered this technology the point where their designs are far superior to what one finds on most commercial forges with venturi action burners.

Venturi burners work well and require fewer parts but they are much more tricky to set up and tune. With a blower there is pressure to spare and the design is much less critical. Also, venturi burners depend on the fast moving gas stream to draw air, this means small orifices and high operating pressures.
   adam - Thursday, 08/21/03 15:18:31 EDT


Ron Reil's burners are mostly naturally aspirated. Some gas forges use blown burners, on the other hand. I have perused Ron's forge/burner site and found it to be very complete, though he doesn't give plans due to liability concerns. If you study, not jsut read, his web site, and study the other sites he links to, such as Rex's site and Larry Zoeller's, I'm sure you'll be able to discover pretty much all the information you need to build a forge.

Basically, any gas forge is an insulated box to contain the heat from one or more burners. The burners may be naturally aspirated (venturi-type) or forced-air (blower-type). Either method will work, if properly designed. There is more finesse required when designing a venturi-type burner. With forced air, all you need is a controllable source of air upstream from a controllable gas source and you have a burner. Some inportant factors are BTU's/volume of the forge, backpressure of the forge venting vs burner input, thermal mass of the refractory in the forge, and the type of work the forge is designed for.

The simplest gas forge is nothing more than a hollowed-out soft firebrick or a can lined with Kaowool and a Bernz-O-Matic propane torch aimed into the cavity. Everything else is just fine-tuning for size, heat capability, shape, ease of operation, safety, etc.

When you get a bit further along in your search for background information and get to the point where you have specific questions, ask them and you'll get a dozen different answers, mostly correct. Lots of us here have made one or more forges, from tiny to huge.
   vicopper - Thursday, 08/21/03 15:30:23 EDT

Steve welds... Yes it should become one piece. But often times it just is a surface weld, and as long as it is not a structural suport it will be fine. As to knowing, the only way is to forge it and see. Unless if you have an xray or radiographic test set up at home.....
Way back when ( when PawPaw was a younster ..grin) Naysmth(sp?) got curious and started testing to failure chain on Royal Navy Ships ( British) if I remember correctly it was on the order of a 80% fail rate......
   Ralph - Thursday, 08/21/03 16:29:09 EDT

Shaft Engineering: Kelly, 4340 is a good tough steel used for all kinds of shafting. As always, heat treating is important.

The critical thing in a design like this is column loading, which is related to length, which you did not give. Column loading calcs are not straight forward and have a lot to do with unbalance which you seem to have a lot of. . . This is a case where a 24" shaft length might work but a 36" length be tweeky and a 48" collapse on assembly. . .

On designs like this if you THINK you need a high strength alloy and don't know exactly then there is probably something wrong with the design.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/21/03 16:46:33 EDT

Welds: Steve, A proper forge weld should be equivalent to the base metal. However, a lot can go wrong. Burnt metal is burnt forever and very weak if you mannage a weld. The problem Ralph was refering to was due to slag inclusions from improper scarfing of welds. Once Nasmyth identified the problem then reliability soared. He was actually contracted to find out why random links failed at much lower stress than others. The problem was random shaped scarfs, some concave, some flat, some convex. The flat and concave scarfs trapped slag in the joint reducing the weld area to the edges. Convex scarfs assured that flux and slag was pushed out of the joint.

Forge welded wrought iron anchor chain remained the standard for another 75 years after Nasmyth's research. Bridges with forge welded wrought iron tension rods remained the standard until the 1950's. . .

Most smiths prefer to forge welds near a welding heat "just in case". But as you mentioned you should not have to. The problem is the quality of an individual's forge welding not the weld or the process.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/21/03 17:09:29 EDT

Forge welds can be structural---they used to weld up the drive shafts for *large* engines out of wrought iron---but large work has a bit more leeway in welding than small work as it stays in the welding range a lot longer and you are usually working it with tools that give a bit more oomph than a 3# hammer.

If you have an iffy weld working it hot can help the metal deform rather than the weld go "ping", unless it neeeds to be structural in which case it might be better to stress it before it has someone depending on it.

Thomas---when a billet welds up it's a solid piece of steel but even then some layers may deform more than others and so you can have a layer tear.
   - Thomas Powers - Thursday, 08/21/03 17:20:48 EDT

I was not trying to say they can not be structural, I was just saying that usually in todays world most smiths will break out the arc welder as it is reliable and fast.

Did you see that short film on anchor and chain making at the Flagstaff Conference.... NOW that was WELDING... :^)
   Ralph - Thursday, 08/21/03 17:42:45 EDT

200lb beaudry and co. 4 sell 2 peice xy adj 7.5 3phase
running in my shop now if you want a test drive
so how do i get this on the power hammer page

   - gordons forge - Thursday, 08/21/03 21:40:49 EDT

how do i list a power hammer for sail
   gordons forge - Thursday, 08/21/03 21:45:35 EDT

Insulating refractory question:

I'm building a new forge. This one will have an arched roof made out of insulating castable refractory. The insulation will be in a metal shell - a half-pipe. Is there anything I could, or even should, do to strengthen it? Chances are it will crack at some time in the future due to heat. Since it's arched, a crack straight through will probably not affect much. But multiple cracks at the wrong angle could let a chunk fall out.

I have a roll of stainless steel wire. Would using this as a sort of "rebar" make a difference? Any other thoughts?

   MarcG - Thursday, 08/21/03 22:11:02 EDT


Sorry for the delay in follow-up; work has been crazy. Thanks to all for your suggestions on dust control. A few more questions, and I'll leave you be.

Vicopper: The woodworking mags and sites have tons of powerful dust collectors, and I have some cash put by, so I would buy one, instead of building. But they are all designed to catch non-metal dust, it seems. I have a vision of grinding sparks setting those big canvas bags ablaze. Perhaps I could put one of those 5-gallon settling buckets in line before the grinding dust gets to the blower, and put a couple inches of water in the bucket? Has anyone done something like this? Or, more to the point, has anyone seen a dedicated dust collector for metal grinding dust? (Yes, I know I'm being lazy -- I can search the web, but if someone has gone down this road before, I could avoid a bunch of blind alleys...)

I'll look for positive-pressure masks. That may be the best way to go. The beard is staying on, by the way. My wife has seen only one picture of me, from college days, without a beard, and her fits of giggles made me swear NEVER to shave it off!

Pete F: Cosmic, about the snorkel idea. Just before I posted my last question, the same thing occurred to me; just stick a filter on the end of a pipe, and suck air through it. Did you completely fab the snorkel yourself? The plastic parts that respirators are made from would not seem to lend themselves to assembly by a bonehead fabricator like me -- on the other hand, if duct tape made a satisfactory seal, I could take a shot at it.

Thanks to all.
   - Eric T - Thursday, 08/21/03 23:28:32 EDT


Do you realize what's going to happen to your beard if you tape the mask to your face????

   Paw Paw - Friday, 08/22/03 02:38:57 EDT

Eric, we don't believe that story about the beard for a minute. You might try putting some magnets in plastic bags and when they get covered with metal grit reverse them and the grit stays in the bag.
   Ron C - Friday, 08/22/03 08:23:33 EDT

Hello, This is Kelly again. Sorry for not giving a lgth. The 2 11/16" vertical shaft sticks up 33" out of a flange brg. about 3" out of the brg. is where the 8" casing is connected w/ a collar. The 8" casing that goe's over the 2 11/16 is 60" long. It has a 1" thick plate that bottoms out on the 2 11/16". The 8" casing is what the 33' arms are bolted to. (6 of them) I've seen this same design running and allways been leary of the shaft. I had thought a 4340 shaft, about a 30rc w/ a 110 yield. But I don't really know, I'm guessing. My elders tell me 4340 is the bad boy of shafting. Is this right? I'm also looking for an electrical collector. It's for a 120v transfer. I've seen agriculture type collector like would be used on a farm. But I can't seem to locate one. Do you have any sugestions
   Kelly - Friday, 08/22/03 08:34:42 EDT

Odd Project: Kelly, and all asking for design help. Please read this.

It would REALLY help to tell us exactly what you are building instead of forcing us to guess. And even with details the best we can do for you on a complicated design is guess at its suitability.

IF you are copying an existing design that works, then do so closely.

To get a deffinitive answer to your structural question you will need assembly and detail drawings. You will need to explain the use of the device and pay an engineer for the time necessary to analyze the design.

A forum like this is not a good place to ask structural design advice becuase anyone trying to help is going to ask you more questions than you probably have answers for.

Kelly, Your word picture still leaves out many details such a how the shaft is supported below the bearing, the shaft's total length, how things are attached to it and the shape and length of the "casing". However, even with all this the best we could do is guess that the shaft is heavy enough or not. Doing calculations on something like this is time consuming and usualy requires research to boot. The first engineering question that comes up after the assembly details is where is the center of gravity of the load? This may be a simple mechanical center OR it may need to include a live load. In both cases it must be calculated.

SAE 4340 and 4140 are very good shafting materials. How things are connected make a big difference. Keyways weaken shafts. Welds weaken shafts, especialy if there is any undercutting or the steel (especialy especialy high strength steel) was not pre and post heat treated.

The problem with high strength materials is that when they fail they usualy break, not bend. The difference in failure mode can be tremoundous. A part that bends and slumps over is a lot different than one that snaps off. When weight is not critical it is a better design policy to work with lower stressed materials and have a non-catastrophic failure mode.

How loads are defined are important to a structural design. Loads are rarely static and even when you THINK they are they probably are not. The fact that this thing is a shaft on bearings indicates that it probably rotates. Even at low speeds rotating loads can be significant. Imbalance load on a large device like this with a lot of overhang is probably much greater than the static load of a few thousand pounds.

At a minium I would look at the load when the thing is supported horizontal instead of vertical. MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK and most other engineering references have the formulas for an overhung load. I would make the assumption above (horizontal) and add any live loads in the worst situation. The load and bearing placement will determine possible load multipliers (due to leverage) and are also needed to determine deflection. This would give you a rough idea if the shaft is grossly overloaded.

Then you would want to do a critical speed calculation. This tells you if the assembly is running at a speed where its normal vibration will multiply itself and cause its distruction. This is the phenonoma you will notice in high speed things like grinders where they vibrate harshly at several points as they speed up or slow down. Running at critical speed is disasterous. Critical speed is not necessarily a fast speed and can be very slow in designs such as your where there is a large overhung load.

Live loads (loads that change or move) must always be looked at from the worst case. If people are being supported then greater saftey factors are applied and the engineer MUST be a licensed Professional Engineer (PE).

Live loads include but are not limited to, anything that is attached and removed, moving loads, wind, rain, ice and snow loads, seismic loads, livestock and incidental human loads. An example of the last is when someone comes by, thinks the thing looks like fun to hang from, jumps up and hangs from one of the arms or does a couple pull ups.

Incidental human loads also include those that have caused well publicized catastrophic accidents in recent years - too many people dancing on a bridge (1980's), too many people on a balcony (UVA 2002), too many people on an un-approved deck (Chicago 2003). In all of these cases there were dozens of injuries and fatalities. They sound like unexpected incidents but each one was a gross failure of the engineer involved to apply live load factors. In the case of any floor (deck, bridge, ladder) you must assume that at one time there will be 100% saturation and that there is cyclic impact loads (3 to 4 x the static). Mobs of people do these things both intentionaly and unintensionaly but from an engineering standpoint it doesn't matter. All that matters is that the engineer should expect the worst case. THEN normal engineering practice is to apply a 5x safety factor. In load supporting components these safety factors usualy multiply the 5x factor of the component resulting in a 25x factor. This is normal in situations involving lifing people.

These may not apply in your case. But since we are quessing at what you are building IT COULD BE part of a circus ride or playground equipment supporting dozens of people. . .????

Not telling your engineer exactly what your device is used for is like not telling your doctor about those recurring chest pains you have been having. . . .

The questions that have come up above include:
  1. exact mechanical arrangement
  2. application of the device
  3. centers of gravity (require details of every part)
  4. load definitions.
  5. rotational speed.
Those are just the beginning whether you do the calculations yourself or pay an engineer to do them.

My Best Guess without Calculations: Given a static load of 2600 pounds at 3 feet horizontal and rotational speed of 0 the deflection could be significant (approx. 1/4" or more). Vertical at very slow rotational speeds (less than 5 PRM) and no live or unbalanced loads it is probably OK. As rotational speed increases (+10 PRM or so) the device will quickly pass the horizontal loading equivalent and the load CG will be off center by the amount of the deflection AT the dynamic loading. Critical speed on this device could be very low.

In other words it will work but your hunch that it is a marginal design may be correct. Note that the shaft alloy and hardness do not effect the deflection.

If you think this answer is long . . well its a full day's job to analyze something like this given all the details.

Your "collector" is also called a "slip ring" or "cord reel". There are numerous outfits that make them. One common use of these devices is on cord reels. They used to be very common on electrolux vacuume cleaners. The next most common place they are found is in service stations or garages where a trouble light is suspended from a cord. McMaster-Carr has several pages of them on-line (mcmaster.com - search term 'cord, reels' ).

However, most of these applications are on small shafts. McMaster-Carr also sells seperate slip ring packages but they are enclosed and I'm not sure if they would work with the shaft size you are using (on top?). If you need a large industrial type slip ring assembly the place to start looking is Thomas Register. They too are on-line. You can use the system for free by using the unregistered guest feature.

   - guru - Friday, 08/22/03 12:18:00 EDT

I am looking for design plans to construct a small (very small) bessemer converter. Do you know where I can find some plans, or anyone I may contact? DM
   David - Friday, 08/22/03 10:47:47 EDT

Thanks for the answers about forge welds. Two years ago I figured forge welding was one technique I'd never really be all that interested in. Then I saw it done once, tried it once, saw it done a few more times, tried it a couple more times, and now I'm fascinated with it. But the secret is in the technique. Guess I should've figured that. ;) Just gotta practice enough to make good welds. And test and cut and etch... There's fun here for some time to come. :)

Stress and strain and load calculations. One principle I always apply is that if a design makes me queasy, there's likely a good reason for the queasiness. As a result, people look at a lot of stuff I build and say, "Well, you didn't mean for it to fall down, did you?" Kind of bothers me that when I design structures by the book, so many people think it looks heavy. Makes me worry that a lot of things are being built too light. Might work on a nice day, but what about when the wind kicks up and the snow falls?

A mechanical engineer once told me - laughing - that if an electrical engineer thinks it's strong enough, it's strong enough. The ME was looking at the number of screws that were really needed to hold a box together. The EE was trying to make it EMI-tight. Note that this is not a recommendation to just find a handy EE and ask him if a shaft looks strong enough. ;)

   Steve A - Friday, 08/22/03 13:10:31 EDT


I was a construction contractor for a while. Built a closet in a school, one of the parents asked why I built with a doubled and lapped top plate. He said that was Florida Hurricane technique. I told him that nothing had ever fallen down that I had built and I didn't plan on the first one being that closet. He went away and left me alone. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Friday, 08/22/03 13:39:39 EDT

Bessemer Converter: David, someone may have built small demonstration converters but I have never heard of one within the blacksmithing community. Currently folks are experimenting with bloomery iron and there are a few small iron casting operations. The fireworks of a converter blow are really spectacular which also means dangerous. . .

Early experiments in the field were done in reverbatory puddling furnaces where they were several tons of cast iron in the melt. So the process started out in a significant size. James Nasmyth used a "steam rake" blowing steam into the melt to increase the rate of pure iron creation in the puddle. He ended his experiments after Bessemer's public announcement of his process.

The converter is just one part of the process. Iron is first melted, then converted, carbon and alloying ingrediants added, then rolled. So you have a three or four step process and a rolling mill (or forging operation) are a key part of the process. Don't forget the air compressor.

Iron is smelted or re-melted in another furnace or coupla as a seperate process. It is then poured into the converter and blown. The converter is mounted on trunions so that it can be tilted. Air is fed through the trunnion, then through a pipe on the outside of the converter and to a ring on the bottom with nozzels entering the bottom of the converter. The converter is filled while nearly horizontal to prevent cloging the jets, it is then tilted verticaly by a system of gears (like a safety ladel), blown and then tilted to pour the finished steel.

Starting with good phosophorus free iron almost pure iron is the product of the converter. Carbon and alloying ingrediants such as manganese are added after the blast to produce steel. Later developements includied lining the converter with lime to reduce the phosophorus commomly found in most iron.

The steel was poured into ingots, cooled, then reheated to roll finished product.

Even built to convert as little as 100 pounds of iron this is a serious project. Tilting the converter needs to be a very controlled and I suspect that the valving of the air was automaticly controlled by ports in the trunnion (I may be wrong but that is how I would control it).

Part of the problem with scaling something like this down is heat loss. The smaller the volume of metal the faster is is going to cool. So there is probably some minimum size that you can get away with. Due to cooling you will need to be sure to preheat the converter (probably to a low red) before filling with melted iron. Having a 100+ pound mass of iron freeze on you where you don't want it to is a serious problem. I think the metal gains heat during the blow from the combustion of carbon and trace elements . .

All the books I have on this subject are history and encylopedic volumes. They do not get into technical details.

Sounds like a fun put involved process. Are you already melting iron? That is step one and not a small thing to do.
   - guru - Friday, 08/22/03 13:47:32 EDT

Forge Refractory: I have a cast refractory piece shaped like an inverted U. It has developed one crack but thats all. You can use SS wire to reinforce the refractory. I use SS lathe turnings that I scrounged from a machine shop.

Forge weld: The acid test (told to me by Coal on SlackTub)is to bend the weld at red heat over the horn. If it doesnt open then its good. I did this for a while until I felt confident in my technique. I should probably do some more.

As for working welds: I have wondered about this too and my guess is : Heavy forging of the welded area means the metal has to flow. And when it does, it tries to flow in layers and slide over itself. The welded surface, even with a good weld is weaker than the surrounding material (Frank Turley told me 70% is the best you can hope for) and so all the shearing action tends to concentrate on this interface and cause separation. If the weld is near welding heat, the metal is very plastic and the shearing action is weaker, and also, since the weld is nearly gas tight, it will continue to weld.

In an industrial set up where they do hundreds of welds a day, they can control conditions very tightly and get welds of identical quality every time. But in a smithy, most people prefer not to take chances with their welds and they baby them.

I am still looking for a source for lampshade glass. Anyone? Please?
   adam - Friday, 08/22/03 13:51:31 EDT

Large slip ring assemblies are available from the larger sign supply houses. They are used on large rotating signs and are designed for pipes of 6" diameter and up and electrical loads of up to hundreds of amps. Las Vegas is a good place to start checking.
   vicopper - Friday, 08/22/03 13:54:37 EDT

Thank ya'll for all your advise. Its very helpful.
   Kelly - Friday, 08/22/03 14:02:46 EDT

Microwave Foundry?

Anyone heard about this?

Microwave Foundry
   tanix - Friday, 08/22/03 14:11:02 EDT

Sorry, link is http://home.c2i.net/metaphor/mvpage.html
   tanix - Friday, 08/22/03 14:11:38 EDT

Bessemer/Kelly Converters: Kelly did his early experiments using a refractory lined barrel so I would suppose you could get it down to a relatively small scale. You could also use the "lance" version to avoid having to mess with tilting *and* air supply.

The reaction is *extremely* *exothermic*---read that as violent and dangerous

The smallest scale I could think of would be melting CI in a crucible and then using a *small* air lance on it---from a distace, full splash proof suit,liability insurance out the wazoo---tell them you will be working with nuclear materials---probably make the rates cheaper

And yes when a friend gets his cupola finished I do want to try it myself; load a ladle, position under an air source, run screaming away and apply air from a great distance.

Getting the ammount/rate of air callibrated will be one of the problems, I hope our friend with the farm doesn't mind a few burned spots in the yard.....

   - Thomas Powers - Friday, 08/22/03 14:12:09 EDT

A "few" burned spots .. . .? HAHAHAHAHAHAHahahahahahahha or as they say in the pub ROTFLAMO

The full body liquid metal proof suit is going to cost more than a little mechanism. . . gears are cheap when you consider the consequences in this case. You could also use a lever with a counter weight that goes over center to hold the thing in position. Hook the air valve to the lever and a long cable to the both. Gotta use cable, rope doesn't last long in this situation. You also want parts that still work after having mounds of slag and metal dumped on them.

An portable old cement mixer looks kinda like the right shape for a Bessemer Converter. . . Includes gears and a tilting mechanism.

The classic route was to tap the furnace, the iron runs from the furnace directly into the converter, then the converter is tilted and blasted. . . no stray steps or lost time.

   - guru - Friday, 08/22/03 15:24:39 EDT


Lamp shade glass. Tinted stained glass from a hobby shop? Michaels maybe? I'll try to go by the local store and see if they have any.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 08/22/03 15:53:34 EDT

I was wondering if you could help me with a question. What is the difference between a german style hammer and a cross pein? after seing pictures of them both i can't notice a clear diffrence. I was also wondering what tasks a spanish club hammer is used.

   chaestoma - Friday, 08/22/03 16:47:42 EDT

Wow I got more input in a couple of hours from this list than I have been able to get concerning the chance of building a small bessemer converter than a week of asking around. From the photos I've seen it appears to be quite the "extreme exothermic" process. I like the idea of rigging something such as a "portable cement mixer" running the iron into something like an over built cement mixer with air jets, the mixers I've seen hold various amounts up to about a few hundred pounds of concrete any comments... besides life insurance? David
   David - Friday, 08/22/03 17:00:51 EDT


Michaels doesn't carry it, but there is a local store that has anything you could need. How much, what kind, what colors, etc. Bear in mind that I know next door to nothing about stained glass, so give all the details you can. If you can't find it where you are, let me know, I'll pick it up here and mail it to you.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 08/22/03 17:09:10 EDT


Life insurance, liability insurance, property insurance, more life insurance, and LOTS of liability insurance. And don't forget life insurance! This is NOT going to be a cheap project if you do it right. If you won't do it right, you'd be much better of not doing it. This is as dangerous as driving an oxygen truck while smoking a cigarette!

Care to go BOOM????
   Paw Paw - Friday, 08/22/03 17:12:09 EDT

If you mean more like the blown-glass shades for *oil lamps* (ie not flat plates), send me an email. I'm a moderately skilled glassblower, and the shades for oil lamps are generally very easy to make.

David's bessemer converter:
I originally got interested in blacksmithing because it was the only thing that interested me as much as steelcasting once I figured out that steelcasting wasn't a "home hobby". David, if you get this running, I want pictures! And I second Thomas's suggestion; the easiest way to do this would probably be a CI cupola tapped into a strongly preheated crucible (maybe sitting in a purpose-built gas furnace?), and then do the bubbly fiery fun thing (VBG). Good luck!

Moving into "winter" (buckets of rain) in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T Gold - Friday, 08/22/03 17:32:45 EDT

Adam; Give us a clue as to what kind of lamps you want to put shades on. Would the shades they put on ceiling fan lights be OK? Are you in the Arts & Crafts/Mission genre looking for Isinglas (mica sheets)? Stained glass? There are numerous suppliers out there. 3dogs. Headin' fer ABQ in the mornin'!
   3dogs - Friday, 08/22/03 17:52:25 EDT

Adam; It is 6:10 PM here in Michigan. If there is something I can get for you in the next hour or so, let me know. I'll be arriving in ABQ tomorrow afternoon. 3dogs
   3dogs - Friday, 08/22/03 18:15:38 EDT

Electronics question.
A person I know is working on a project. He is somehow useing a hetorodyne to gather frequency waves and then project them in matched beats, So the wave can be picked up more clearly. Thus, Being able to use a cell phone in an over crowded places such as bars, shoping malls, ect. ect.
Places that you couldn't normaly use such a devise. Do ya'll tell me if there is such a thing? If you can't, Can you tell me who might can answer this question?
   Kelly - Friday, 08/22/03 18:18:01 EDT

Kelly; We might have an answer for you if we're dealin with a coal fired cell phone, here. (BOG)
   3dogs - Friday, 08/22/03 18:22:13 EDT


Without meaning to give you a bad time, we are blacksmiths, not electronics technicians. Though some of us have worked in and with radio a bit.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 08/22/03 18:44:24 EDT

Hi there!

I work for a custom lighting manufacturer. We have a client who has requested non-standard chain. We have been looking into this, but are having a hard time finding heavy duty chain that can hold a 200lb + light fixture that doesn't look "standard." We have found one place that can provide us with what we need but their prices are outrageous.

Can anyone help? I'm interested in line drawings of heavy duty decorative chain as well as prices per yard.


   Jazan Hufnagel - Friday, 08/22/03 19:08:22 EDT

Bessemer Converter from Mixer David, The cement mixer would just be a starting shell. These things are a metal shell lined with refractory and then a layer of "lime" I'm not sure of the consistancey or actual compound. The real thing was lined with layers of refractory bricks. Insulating bricks on the outer layer and then hard metal resistant bricks on the inner surface. Those are then parged and covered with the high lime refractory which is a consumable surface.

In a small unit the shell would want to be insulated with insulating bricks the (thin direction) or Kaowool board. Inside that you would want a shell of castable refractory about 2" thick. The castable must be cured (dried for a week or two) then calcined (fired to a red heat). After that it needs a coating resistant to liquid metal and fluxes. ITC recommends their ITC-100 as a primer and then ITC-296-A. Metal components exposed to high temperatures should be coated with ITC-213 and then ITC-296-A.

I do not have a clue what the blowing nozzels are made of but I know they are steel pipe up until they penetrate the shell and insulation. After that they may just be holes in the refractory.

Basicaly you are building a big specialized crucible using the same techniques as used to build a smelting furnace or coupla.
   - guru - Friday, 08/22/03 19:26:29 EDT

Is there a roller type bender plan somewhere that will bend handrail and square stock into a helix? I assume that the stock is fed in hot and pulled through by tongs after becoming rigid... Also, has anyone figured out how to make a stainless or brass bristled fireplace broom? These are mighty handy with wood coals...
   - andrew - Friday, 08/22/03 19:26:45 EDT

Glass: PawPaw, 3dogs, TGold thanks for the help. I am looking for simple smooth bells, quarter rounds, cylinders,half cylinders etc in white frosted glass. Shapes that I can use to make sconces and ceiling fixtures. Nothing elaborate or ornate - that part will be the ironwork. I hope that somewhere there is an online or mail order supplier with a large variety to choose from.

I cant really start designing a lamp until I know the size of the glass. I have looked in local suppliers but all I find is this ugly ornate glass or complete spheres.
   adam - Friday, 08/22/03 20:04:42 EDT


Almost every server in the country was under a hack attack today. Our server and others on the same server farm were being probed by repeated FTP requests every second testing logins and passwords. As a result I have had to turn off FTP access to our server. This attack as slowed the entire Internet today probably costing the US economy millions of dollars.

So, is it individual pranksters or terrorists?

If you have FTP access to our server it is OFF for the weekend.
   - guru - Friday, 08/22/03 20:30:47 EDT


Could you cut lamp chimneys to get the cylinders of glass and sand blast them to frost them? You might be able to get some of the other shapes, depending on how/where you cut the chimney's. Most old hard ware stores carry them, and I think Wally World does too. Look in the lighting section. And come to think of it, Lowes and Home Depot carry them, too.


Doesn't really matter whether it's pranksters or terrorists, the result is the same.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 08/22/03 20:43:22 EDT

Helix Bender: There are none that I know of that are made to do top rail. This is a rather odd bend on edge. Standard slip rolls allow for adusting the rolls at angles to each other for rolling cones. A spiral rail roll would require similar adjustments but a more acute angles.

You can roll a plain helix by runnig bar through cylinder rolls at an angle. My tire bender only has 4" wide rolls so you cannot get much angle in it but it will roll 3/4" square into a 24" circle. Normal sheet metal rolls are too light for this kind of thing but big plate rolls will do it. A friend of mine built a narrow plate rolls with about 8" rolls. . . I think it is two feet wide. I suspect it has the width and stiffness to do top rail. He had it for sale but I do not think he sold it.

Wire fireplase brush. . . hmmmmm I used to make brooms using commercial brushes, cut off the handle and mount in a cover with a wrought handle. They were not very pretty so I made very few. However, it seems that you could find some type of commericial wire brush and do the same.

   - guru - Friday, 08/22/03 21:19:26 EDT

Too tired to spellll . . . going to be out much of the day tomarrow. . .
   - guru - Friday, 08/22/03 21:21:13 EDT

Adam,;That's kinda what I had in mind when I suggested the ceiling fan accessories. Around here, there are about a bazillion styles to be had in crystal, molded, tulip,etc, etc, especially for the upscale Fisher brand fans. Good luck, 3dogs (maybe we can hook up some time when I'm in NM)
   3dogs - Friday, 08/22/03 22:46:39 EDT

Adam, I can make those for you AND sandblast them, given specifications. However, I strongly recommend that you look around a bit before sending me an email, as mass-produced stuff will probably be cheaper than me blowing them by hand and mailing them from Hawaii to you.
   T Gold - Friday, 08/22/03 23:12:09 EDT

Adam, there are some mail order companies that carry glass etchant to use with stencils (which they also may carry). I believe some paste can be used to frost as well. Coleman propane lantern globes are available(straight wall). Dietz kero globes are common as well.

Kelly, super het receivers in close proximity can cause problems with each other. This can be palyed around with a couple of boom boxes close to each other and tunes to the same frequency(assuming the boom boxes use a super het receiver. The concept is used for reception in those receivers. If two are too close together, problems could arise-crowded area. Good antennas and location are the primary make/or break in radio communication. Using an external antenna designed for the phone can help. Some antennas need a metal ground to work well- most cb antennas, especially mag-mounts. Marine stuff often does not need themetal ground because it was designed this way.
   - ironspider - Friday, 08/22/03 23:15:52 EDT

I have been asked to do a demo at one of our local California missions. Can anyone point me towards a source of period style clothing. Pre-made or patterns would be a big help.
   Steve - Saturday, 08/23/03 01:02:08 EDT

Lampshades and lamp parts- a good place to start is American De Rosa Lampparts in LA- 800-777-4440
They have a range of glass shades as well as all kinds of sockets, switches, cordsets, etc. They are wholesale, with a minimum order. My catalog is a few years old, and it says 35$ minimum, might be more now. But their prices are really good- old style lamp chimneys are a couple of bucks, frosted globes are 4 to 8 bucks depending on size. If you are going to make a dozen, or a hundred, this is the place. For just one, go to your local lighting supply store- the kind that has a storefront with 500 light fixtures in it.

Rolling helixes for handrails- angle or section rolls will do this- big powered machines that cost 4 to 10 thousand dollars. They are adjustable for just about any size bar or round, the hard way or the easy way, and the helix part takes a little jiggering, but can be done quite easily cold. Mine will bend up to 4" x 5/8" the easy way, or the hard way. Any radius, any length.
Try www.eaglebendingmachines.com
   - Ries - Saturday, 08/23/03 01:15:10 EDT


What Period?
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 08/23/03 07:47:58 EDT

Custom Chain: Jazan, response coming by mail.
   - guru - Saturday, 08/23/03 09:00:40 EDT

Haven't been on for a while....

Electrical collectors. United Electric makes very good electrical collectors. We use them all the time for power, control and data. Many different versions and sizes are available. uea-inc.com

Kelly, like the guru said, you need to provide pictorial and end use information on what you are doing. A 2-11/16 shaft supporting a 66 foot diameter sounds very light for most typical applications which are not as balanced as you think they are. The guru has so far given you what a good engineer might charge you $1000 for. I am a licensed PE.

aksmith, there is no quick formula for blower cfs. Lots of interrelated stuff. What vicopper said was good.

Eric T. search for "spark trap". Yes, you need to keep the sparks off the fabric dust collector bags. There are stainless steel felt filters that work well. Pricey.
   - Tony - Saturday, 08/23/03 09:17:49 EDT

Word Pictures - Odd Project: . . Tony, I misread the 33 feet as 33 inches (REALLY NEED DRAWINGS!). A 33 foot lever is a LOT of leverage. The weight of the unit means that this thing has tension wires and the whole assembly is highly stressed. . . Forget critical speed, look out that too many crows don't land on one arm. . . What the heck IS this thing?
   - guru - Saturday, 08/23/03 10:10:05 EDT

3dogs, TGold, Ries, PawPaw and everyone, thanks for the help with lamp glass. I have sent for the deRosa Catalog. Right now I am looking for simple stuff - Hand blown is a an interesting possiblity for the future.
   adam - Saturday, 08/23/03 13:31:43 EDT

PS. thanks to ironspider too. 3dogs do look me up when you are in my area. Email me when the time comes - I will send you phone # and address. Please bear in mind that I have two cats! :)
   adam - Saturday, 08/23/03 13:34:52 EDT

I am in the process of making a gate that requires a 16 3/8" radius. I am using 1" square tin wal tubing. What would be the eassies way to make this radius with minamal tools?
   C A Smith - Saturday, 08/23/03 14:14:12 EDT

I tried this once befor and it seams the massage didn't go. so let me try again.
I am in the process of making a patio gate that requires a 16 3/8" radius. I am using 1" square tubing. What would be the eassies way to make this bend with the minnamal tools?
   C A Smith - Saturday, 08/23/03 14:19:31 EDT

Kelly - sounds like a repeater to me. Common in VHF and UHF ham radio, police radio systems, emergency medical, construction comms... Cell phones are VHF/UHF frequencies. A heterodyne device that gathers waves sounds like a radio reciever. Receiving and retransmitting is what a repeater does. Might want to look for an electronic hobbyists forum, or one of the fora that go with some of the electronics journals. Try searching on EE Times, Electronic Design, or Electronic Design News (EDN), or American Radio Relay League (ARRL).

Adam - how about at a lighting store? Maybe the lighting section of Lowe's or HD, but I'm thinking of the suppliers where electrical contractors and interior decorators go. Seems like replacement shades for ceiling fans and light fixtures might work. Or maybe replacement globes for Coleman lanterns? Oops, not frosted. Have you tried Lehman's? They have replacement globes and shades for all kinds of kerosene lamps, some of which are frosted.

Pranksters or terrorists - I was raised with the understanding that it wasn't a prank when folks got hurt. The cost of this stuff is hurt. I think it can also be called theft of services. The people who pay for the services are deprived of what they paid for. And "it was supposed to be funny" didn't hold up when property got damaged or - far, far worse - people had to be patched up.


   Steve A - Saturday, 08/23/03 15:11:49 EDT

I just sent for the catalog as well for future product reference, I included that I saw on Anvilfire. If you would include a plug for Anvilfire whenever you make contact with a company, ESPECIALLY their sales dept it may help swing some ad business to this site. A LOT of free advertisement happens on this site, so aside from the CSI membership a little grassroots PR don't hurt a thing.
   Mills - Saturday, 08/23/03 18:02:53 EDT

I just deleted a message with SoBig-F attached to it. I know the government says they've managed to shut down the 20 "master" computers that were infected, but the worm is still out there, watch for it!
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 08/23/03 18:35:35 EDT

   gemsetuk anthony bain - Saturday, 08/23/03 19:35:21 EDT

   gemsetuk anthony bain - Saturday, 08/23/03 19:45:15 EDT

Paw Paw,
I am interested in late 1700's clothing during the Mission period of early California. Any info would be appreciated.
   Steve - Saturday, 08/23/03 20:55:35 EDT

Scorifier: Check Roi Grande Supply, http://www.riogrande.com or 550 Silver and Supply, http://www.metalworks.com. One of them should carry small crucibles that are suitable for affixing a handle to. I haven't seen any that come supplied with a handle, but a simple wire handle around a bilge-shaped small crucible would work just fine, though I personally prefer properly fitted pouring tongs.
   vicopper - Saturday, 08/23/03 21:05:25 EDT

Steve: Heck, just check that store in LA that sells old movie studio clothes. They should have something from Zorro. (grin)
   vicopper - Saturday, 08/23/03 21:06:18 EDT


Contact me off list and I'll put you in touch with a blacksmith from that area.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 08/23/03 21:23:41 EDT

Vicopper, I have the current Rio Grande right here, and they do sell a melting dish with a handle. Item # 704-119 would probably be Anthony's best bet. Other jewelry suppliers also sell similar products, and screw-on tongs for the general-purpose round ceramic melting dishes.
   T Gold - Saturday, 08/23/03 22:10:40 EDT

Steve, Californio clothing. Head scarf, 25-28" square folded in a triangle, tied in back. A drop-sleeve, long sleeved shirt, mountain man style [see crazycrow.com], either front buttoned or over-the-head with placket. Fairly tight trousers, but bell bottomed, usually dark blue, lapped side seam with buttons all the way from waist to bottom. They were not buttoned below the knee, the style. Maybe a sash, but not long enough to interfere with forge work. Big leather apron. Leather shoes or moccasins. Reference: the booklet for Juniors, "Dos Californios", Bellerophon Books, 122 Helena Ave., Santa Barbara, California 93101.

Steve and Adam, A little correction ref what Adam said about about forge welding. I don't think I ever said that 70% was all you could get. Dan Kral did some lap welds and took them to an engineering test lab in Anoka, Minnesota. Whe the welds were tensile strength tested, they averaged 70% as strong as the parent stock. I said, "That's pretty good". A buddy said that he occasionally got a perfect forge weld where you couldn't separate it with Sherman
tanks. I said, "Me too. How often?". He said, scratching his chin, "Maybe one out of 300". I said, "Me too!". A good test of a lap weld is to twist it hot.

Chaestoma asked about the German cross peen. They usually have a square face with slight corner chamfers. The face is rockered (crowned) a little. The peen taper is wide, not like the Swedish hammer where it is necked and thinned. I don't know what a Spanish club hammer is. Is it a round sphere on the working end? It might be a harness maker's stuffing hammer for horse collars.

Hufnagel, Yours is a good surname in the horseshoeing world. We've mentioned before in the forum a type of old fashioned surveyor's chain. A link would be a straight length with a turned circular loop at either end. Made carefully in a jig, they would come out the same length. With heavy enough stock, you wouldn't need to weld. It would be custom made and hand made, so of course it would cost a bit.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 08/23/03 23:09:00 EDT

Frank Turley:

Email sent to you regarding a student of yours.
   vicopper - Sunday, 08/24/03 00:03:41 EDT

Hey I'm interested in becoming a blacksmith and I need help on how to get started like supplies I would need and information where i could find these items and a book on how to craft swords becuz i would like to be a smith like in medevil times to make swords to sell to collectors.
   Anthony - Sunday, 08/24/03 00:33:11 EDT

First thing you need do is go to the "Getting Started" section here and anvilfire. Read that. Then also try to find a local group of smiths and join them. Often tools equipment and most importanly training/help will be forth coming from these folks.
Read the Guru area of this site. Look thru the archeives. ANd then also ask questions, especially as you go along with your smithing.
You might also consider joining CSI to help keep anvilfire going. After you read all that is avalible on here and then see how truely exceptional this web site is you will want it to keep going
   Ralph - Sunday, 08/24/03 01:58:27 EDT

Steve, I'm rethinking the late 1700's period regarding leg covering. During that time, long trousers had not come into vogue, so the men wore britches (breeches). The Hispanic ones were not too unlike modern day shorts, except the outside seam was buttoned. There were usually 6 buttons down each side, the top three only were buttoned. Long cotton stockings were worn, and I'm guessing that in a shop situation, "botas" might have been worn to protect the worker's calves. A bota is one of a pair of half-leggings which reach from the lower knee to shoe top. These half leggings were also worn by some "mountain men". Again, see crazycrow.com. A better book by Bellerophon is "Early Los Angeles" and has more about clothing styles than des "Dos Californios". See www.bellerophonbooks.com/california.htm
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 08/24/03 09:38:16 EDT

Selling to Collectors / Learning: Anthony, after going through our getting started section and our book reviews you may also want to consider a degree in art, history, art history, or a more specialized masters or doctorate degree in the subject you want to produce collectors items in. Selling to collectors is a highly competitive field requiring a high degree of competence in the subject as well as high skill level. Swords and armor in collector's class is some of the highest art in metalworking. I takes years of serious study in a variety of fields. The top bladesmiths often have masters and doctorates in metalurgy and engineering or at least an equivalent skill level in these fields.

Although I do not give much credence to the almighty sheep skin (diploma), most of the world does. Artisans with multiple degrees from various recognized schools are treated with more respect than folks with the equivalent or better in self education or on-the-job training. The degrees give one a competitive edge even if one has lower skills or talent than someone else that is self educated.
   - guru - Sunday, 08/24/03 19:37:08 EDT

Guru, regarding your comments about diplomas: I have occasionally met people with PhD's that were bought from a diploma mill. I recognized the name of the school on the diploma from ads in Airline Magazines. "Credit for life experience" is what they advertise. It is a shame that people must buy these degrees but most of them are now much farther up the corporate ladder than I am. Just having a legitimate degree is no longer a real advantage. Many companies won't even hire you without a Masters or PhD.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 08/24/03 19:57:51 EDT

re: Late 1700's clothing - I can't comment on what was worn in California, but a couple of merchants that us colonial reenactors use carry clothing and patterns for Eastern USA at that time. Ones that come to mind are: Smoke & Fire, Druid's Oak, and Joseph Townsend. I think all three have web sites, I normally just check tham out at large reenactments or sew my own.
re: Bessemer Furnace - unless they've moved it, one was on display in Pittsburgh in the area around "Station Square" the old P & LE railraod station that was converted into restaurants and specialty shops. For reference, when I saw it my first impression was "mini-BOF". It looked to be about 1/5th the size of the BOF (Basic Oxygen Furnace aka as an L-D converter)in the one shop I worked in, which was rated for 250 tons.
   gavainh - Sunday, 08/24/03 23:10:44 EDT

3-Dogs coming to see me Monday or Tuesday.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 08/25/03 00:14:30 EDT

Will I is came back, looks like no one may understand what I am up to. Will I am making a paito gate, for a friend, with a rounded top, the radius on the top is about 16.375". I have the problem that is how to make this rounded top with 1" square thin wall tubing. Can I cut some wood to this radius and put the tubing on it, then use a jack to press the tubing with the wood into a two point jig, or is there a better way? I only make stuff for pepole that I know, being that I just do this as an hobbie.
Frank Turley, I do live in your area (Arroyo Cuyamungue, Pojoaue area) if you or other simth's in the Santa Fe area could help I would Appreciate it.
   Chester - Monday, 08/25/03 01:12:13 EDT

At last, something to contribute ....
Respirators: I was re-reading the posts on particles and respirators and thought some folks might be interested to know that particle generation almost always follows a 1/dia (cubed) size distribution. It's called third power distribution in the Particle Counting business. What this means is that as the size gets smaller, the number of particles gets exponentially large. If you graph this function it looks like a sapling in a light breeze leaning towards the y axis. What all this means is that there are particles you don't see and lot's of them, and they are bad for your lungs.

Also, on dust collection. The fear of a dust explosion in PVC pipe is a myth. No need for a ground wire. There was a very scientific and thorough study of this done in the woodworking community which concluded that there isn't enough dust per unit volume to warrant this concern. I may be able to find this article if anyone really wants to read it.

regards to all
   chris smith - Monday, 08/25/03 07:14:01 EDT

Dust explosions:

Chris, a piece of copper wire is really cheap insurance, if you ask me. No matter how small the chances of a dust explosion, the math you spoke of says there are a lot more of the little particles that can flash than there are of the big particles you can see. I saw a grain elevator explosion once when I was very young and it convinced me not to take avoidable chances.
   vicopper - Monday, 08/25/03 08:52:13 EDT

Chester, look at the conduit benders designed to bend round thin wall pipe to a radius. Same sort of design should work if you can make a die to fit sq wall. Do you need just one of these or 700000?

   - Thomas Powers - Monday, 08/25/03 09:05:21 EDT

Guru, a couple of us are considering building a fly press and we were trying to find a sorce for the 4 start screw and nuts. can you give us the specs, and a possable sorce for the screw?

thanks again for the wonderful site, after 6 weeks of browseing I am still finding "new" info.

   habu - Monday, 08/25/03 09:34:37 EDT

Large Radius Tube Bender: I've started on this post about 5 times over the past few days and been interupted every time. . . You DON'T want to know how my weekend went.

For a large radius in TW tubing you can use a wooden form. However, it needs to fit snuggly on the sides of the tube like any other. Usualy these are built on a sheet of plywood and then a second sheet of plywood attached on the open side. In the near past you could use two sheets of 1/2" plywood to get the 1" thickness but now plywood is being made to an undersize (it is marked 15/32"). Today you will need to do something different.

When the fixture is built you just pull (bend) the tubing around the curve by hand. Start with extra length and cut it off when finished.

Unless you need the light weight of the tubing it is much easier to bend a solid bar as there is no problem of it collapsing or kinking.
   - guru - Monday, 08/25/03 09:59:21 EDT

We are redecorating - (I say "we" euphemistically - I can choose any color I like so long as it's blue :) ) - and I got the subcontract to make lights and move fixtures. Some questions.

What is the thread dia & pitch is used on lighting fixtures?

My house is 50's construction with very few ground wires. Certainly none is available for the lighting circuits. Will steel fixtures be okay provide I am careful with the wiring. No sharp corners, strain relief etc?

To move fixtures to a different location without opening up a lot of sheet rock, I plan to cut a shallow notch in intervening studs and joists - about 3/8" just enough to sink the wire - will this compromise the structural soundness of the frame? It's a single story 2x4 construction with 2x12 joists.
   adam - Monday, 08/25/03 10:51:13 EDT

Frank: Sorry about the misquote.

Habu: I was thinking just the same thing. Please let us know what you find out about the fast thread. I was thinking one would probably have to pay a machinist to make them.
   adam - Monday, 08/25/03 10:54:15 EDT

Four Start Fly Press Power Screws: Habu, I doubt you are going to find one of these off the shelf from a commercial supplier. Fast lead power screws are mostly ball screws now days. The screws on a forging fly press are a very special screw. Not only are they a four start but they have threads ON threads at the top for the stop nut and the ends are machined for a special thrust bearing. The threads are also not standard Acme (14.5° side) threads but actual square threads (probably 10-degree modified square threads, 5° side) which makes them even more special.

These extreamly fast threads cannot be turned on many lathes that are otherwise capable of machining the diameter. Example, my old Southbend makes much coarser leads than many other larger machines. It will cut 2 TPI. That means you can make a big honking 1/2" square power thread with it. But if you make a four start thread at that feed rate you only have a 1/8" thread. . . . SO, to make 4 start 1/2" square thread you need a machine that can go 1/2 TPI (a single start V thread would have crests every 2"). I suspect it is possible on most change gear lathes but is very rare on smaller machines with quick change gear boxes.

Flypresses do not just use a "nut" for the external threads, they thread the housing for a length of 1-1/2 to 2 times the diameter of the screw. The threads are chased just like the screw is on a very large machine.

It is not a technically complicated job but it requires having the right machinery and a detailed plan of the parts. Thread "specs" would be right out of MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK. However, there is no standard for power threads of this type, they are engineered by the manufacturer on a case by case basis. Detailed screw drawings from me (or any other decent machinery designer) would cost about what the big #6 flypress sells for.

If your time is worth anything then it would be cheaper to buy a flypress (or three) from Kayne and Son. These are very well built machines for the money.
   - guru - Monday, 08/25/03 11:19:41 EDT

Electrical: Adam, all new electrical circuits should have proper grounding going all the way back to the distribution panel AND the panel should have a good ground (not just a wire to a water pipe). When electrical cable is burried under the plaster you are required to run the steel armored MC cable. The armored shell is grounded box to box AND it includes a bare ground wire. Your local electrical code may require protective metal plates at the framing to prevent a nail from piercing the wire at so future date.

On old construction where 2x4's were REAL 2x4's or at least 1-9/16" a small notch will not matter much. However, on floors and ceilings I would not run them in a straight line. If the building has lath and plaster the armoured cable is run in sub plaster or between laths.

Chandeliers, lamps and similar electrical devices screw onto 1/16-27 NPT or NPS pipe threads. This is left over the the old gas lighting days.
   - guru - Monday, 08/25/03 11:37:05 EDT

As regards Guru's Large Radius Tube Bender, I think 3 pieces of today's (3/8") plywood would total 33/32". Would that work for the 1" tubing?
   - ironspider - Monday, 08/25/03 14:59:01 EDT

in the iforge weilding I demo I am very unclear as to what is meant by the neutral part of the fire vs the other parts. can anyone explain or show some pictures or something to help clarify that. maybe a diagram crosscut for a coal fire in a forge?
   dragon-boy - Monday, 08/25/03 16:31:16 EDT

Guru, Thanks for the info on the Threads, I'm a novice at this stuff myself but my brother is a tool and die maker who owns a full CNC shop (lathe, mill, edm,ect). He thought it might be a fun project for the two of us. I think you have given us enough to tell if it is practical.

And like the farmer who was holding up a piglet to an apple tree so he could eat, and was asked if it wasn't very time consuming, He replied "whats time to a pig?"
   habu - Monday, 08/25/03 16:43:11 EDT

Hello I recently purchased a Little Giant Power Hammer.I need to find the upper and lower dies .I have never used a power hammer before are their any vidos out showing the use of a power hammer or any text available please any help will be greatly apprecated thankyou GLEN glenco21@msn.com
   Glen Rogers - Monday, 08/25/03 18:32:49 EDT

Hello I recently purchased a Little Giant Power Hammer.I need to find the upper and lower dies .I have never used a power hammer before are their any vidos out showing the use of a power hammer or any text available please any help will be greatly apprecated thankyou GLEN glenco21@msn.com
   Glen Rogers - Monday, 08/25/03 18:34:55 EDT

Dragon-Boy, In a bottom blast forge where the tuyere is at the bottom of the fire pot, the hot spot or heart of your fire is about 5 to 6 inches above the tuyere. If you have a deep coke bed, much of the oxygen will be consumed in the combustion process befor it reaches the workpiece. Therefore, the heart of your fire will be "neutral" or "reducing" in terms of oxygen. The workpiece will be in the heart of the fire; do not put it in at an angle [like a dipstick].

Glen Rogers, Contact Sid Suedmeier of Nebraska City, Nebraska. He rebuilds and has parts.

   Frank Turley - Monday, 08/25/03 19:13:34 EDT

I have recently acquired an anvil, 150 lbs with two ship anchors stamped into the front bottom edge. The only other marking is an "R" on the right side. Which I would guess stands for " right side". It also has a rather strange and difficult to describe shape to the horn, it is not an even taper but rather like an abrupt reduction almost nipple like end to the horn. Go figure ? Any thoughts as to the age and principle design use ?
Thank you.
   - Tim - Monday, 08/25/03 21:35:45 EDT

im looking for steel #'s so far have 4140 for tongs does this cover swages hardies cutters or do i need a list of numbers
   colinau - Monday, 08/25/03 22:27:33 EDT

Tube Bender: Ironspider, 1/32 loose is a lot of slop in a tube bender, especialy a wooden one. 1/64" (.015" - .4mm) tight would be better. The idea is to prevent the sides of the tubing from buckling outward and then the tube kinking.
   - guru - Monday, 08/25/03 22:29:58 EDT

Fly Press Screw: habu, The best I can determine (without measuring one) the little #4 and #5 presses use approximately a 1/2" (2TPI) square, 4 lead screw with about a 30 degree lead angle. The small presses use a 1.875" thread and the larger a 2.375". The thread pitch on the larger is proportionately heavier.

Not having taken one apart I do not know what the thrust bearing end looks like. There is also a friction adjustment on the thrust end so that you can adjust the press so that the wheel stays put OR turns on its own from gravity.

The top of the thread has a tapered hex shank that the flywheel or flyball assembly fits. This is so that the position of the pull handle can be adjusted by lifting the flywheel off and repositioning it. There are also extra holes drilled and taped in the wheel. Between the two the position of the handle can be put where it is most comfortable.

   - guru - Monday, 08/25/03 22:54:23 EDT

Dust explosions: Chris smith, yes please find the dust explosion article please. I'm all for thorough scientific studies, and I seriously DO want to read the article. But I personally know an engineer who had a woodworking dust explosion in his basement shop. Ignited by his wood stove is the thought, but explosive dust levels do occur. Air moving through piping can and does create a static charge. And woodworking dust collectors burn all the time. Run the wire through the plastic dust collection pipe. Better yet, use grounded metal pipe. Less bad fumes when it does burn.

Lighting Fixture mounting threads can also be 1/8-27 non tapered pipe thread.
   - Tony - Monday, 08/25/03 23:03:52 EDT

Dust Explosions: Many metals burn including iron, but iron is a low hazzard. For one thing, when you grind steel dry, much of the iron is burned in the process. The dust is iron oxide and grinder dust. Neither is good to breathe but both are pretty non-flamable.

In the second grade I took a "science" experiment to school that demonstrated a dust explosion. It was right out of one of my childrens science experiments books. . . A funnel hooked to a rubber hose had a small pice of tissue paper put in to close the hole. About a 1/2 cup of corn starch was put in the funnel and it was taper to the side of a desk. Then a candle was lit and set next to the funnel. Over that a large flour storage can was placed to enclose the funel with the candle. Then, we blew into the hose, hard.

WHOMPH! The big can flew off on a column of flame that reached 6 or 8 feet (luckily those old schools had 16 foot ceilings). Not a spec of dust. It all burned! While everyone was yelling do it again, do it again, and before our teacher regained her composure we had reloaded and, did it AGAIN! . . .

It doesn't take much material to make a big dust explosion. But it is usualy a problem associated with fine dust that burns easily. Fine organics with a low flash point and high energy release such as grain husks, flour and bean skin that are created in grain handling operations are the worst. Fine sawdust or wood flour from sanding is also very dangerous. Heavy dust that is hard to keep floating is rarely a hazzard. Steel dust which has a high flash point is almost never a hazzard but light metals such aluminium or flamable metals such as zinc can be.

The problem with belt sanders is that they are good for grinding EVERYTHING. You may have nice safe iron oxide dust one day and solvent rich heart wood pine dust the next. . .
   - guru - Monday, 08/25/03 23:58:43 EDT

Guru, thanks for the information on the slop in the tube bender.
   - ironspider - Monday, 08/25/03 23:58:48 EDT

Metals Specs: Colinau, Tongs are typicaly made of mild steel (SAE 1018-1020, ASTM A-36) or 1030. The reason being that tongs are frequently heated and quenched over and over again. A hardenable steel is not good because it will eventualy get hardened without tempering and shatter. It even occasionaly happend to mild steel tongs.

For other tools there are more suitable steels than tool types. Hardies and any edge tool should be high carbon steel from SAE 1095 to tool steels with over 1% carbon. Hotwork edge tools are typicaly high carbon high alloy tool steels that remain hard at a red heat like HSS. For tools of this type as well as hammers and punchs many smiths like S-7 because it is commonly available and is easy to heat treat. Tools for shaping such as fullers, flatters and some hammers are made from medium carbon alloy steels like 4140 but many that are factory made are higher carbon and tempered softer. This produces a VERY tough mar resistant tool that can still be dressed with a file.

Some folks use H-13 for hot work tools such a punches and chisles. H-27 is rated higher.

For machined parts W-1, O-1 and A-2 are commonly available in annealed and precision finished stock. Because they are commonly available tool steels they often find their way into blacksmith shops Nd are used for a variety of tools. The three have roughly the same properties but are hardened and tempered differently. The "W" in W-1 stands for Water hardening, the "O" for oil hardening and the "A" for air. W-1 is the cheapest and A-2 the most expensive.

For springs in spring clapper dies mild steel is used. But a common spring steel 5160 is used for pry bars, punches, cold chisles, hammers and other tools. It is a very tough steel and air hardens in thin sections like blades, oil hardens in normal sections. Many smiths use scrap springs, guessing they are 5160, to make various tools. However, there are as many more steels for springs as there are steels for tools.

Some smiths only deal with one or two steels in their shops and others have racks full of specialty steels. Books like MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK cover dozens of steels individualy and by group with suggested uses and handling. Start there if you want to begin learning about steels.

NOTE: Most smiths have or buy one or two tool steels like S-7 or SAE 5160, learn to use them and then make everything that needs to be tool steel out of that steel. Everything else is mild or structural steel.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/26/03 00:28:20 EDT

guru many thanks on steel gave me all the answers i need
I use railway line as an anvil is there an easier way to make a square hole (hardie) than a 1" drill & a square file
   colinau - Tuesday, 08/26/03 02:02:43 EDT

[ CSI - anvilfire MEMBERS Group | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]
Counter    Copyright © 2003 Jock Dempsey, www.anvilfire.com Cummulative_Arc GSC