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 8 - 15, 2005 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Does anyone here have any experience with Nazel hammers? I am looking for information on a 4B. I would like to know the ram weight and if this hammer has enough or any control for light forging. Can the hit be varied or is it everything or nothing. Thanks, Don
   - Don Ziblis - Sunday, 08/07/05 22:01:18 EDT

The guru was correct about the "joys" of self employment. I used to have a sign in our shop:
"Being self employed means working only 3/4 time
Any 18 hours per day ought to take care of it!"

After 25 years in business, it has proven true.
   Daniel Chessher - Monday, 08/08/05 08:42:26 EDT

Nazel Hammers: Don, My Nazel literature is in storage but I believe a 4B is in the over 400 pound class. If is a very powerful hammer. They have excelent control and can be used on reasonably small work. However, in this class of hammer work under 3/4" square is small, 1/2" very small and 1/4" is difficult. In stock with some width to absorb the force it is controlable. You CAN forge a point on 1/4" square but it is just as easy to make a 1/32" x 2" flat blob on the end in one blow. In fact it has the power to do this to cold stock that small.

Although large hammers of this type have very good control and can be used to produce forgings to close tollerances they ARE very powerful and can much more easily make a mess of small work than a smaller hammer. These hammers are of such a size that they normally were operated by a driver that did nothing but control the hammer while others handled the work and the tooling. For one person to do this requires very high skill and is frankly a bit nerve racking.

A hammer of this sort can quickly produce shaped top rail in a die, texture bar up to 2.5" cold, make small closed die forgings. For industrial work it can be used to produce hammers and other relatively heavy tools, do heavy drawing and much more.

SO, a hammer of this sort can be very useful and productive. But it does not replace a 100-150 pound (45-70 k) hammer for decorative work and free hand forging, UNLESS you are doing very heavy work.

In self contained hammers the stroke is shortened by the controls. When the return point is very near the surface of the work it produces very light or planishing blows. In these hammers the time between blows is constant. This is the primary character difference between self contained hammers and other types of forging hammers.
   - guru - Monday, 08/08/05 08:55:01 EDT

Self Employment: This is not for everyone. On the other hand there are some of us that for various reasons cannot work for others or do not do well being employed and it is the only recourse.

Being self employed often means working for the toughest boss there is. But it also means you can often have a flexible schedule. However, taking off usualy means working even more hours to catch up or to make up for the shortfall. There are NO paid vacations or paid benefits.

Being self employed can be very satisfying. You determine the type and quality of the product you produce. You set your business practices and warantee. You can have very high or very low standards, it is your decision. It is all on you.

Except for a couple decades in a family business I have been self employed in a varity of businesses and only worked for others a couple times. I quit three out of four of those jobs over ethical issues. I could not work for businesses that lied to or cheated their customers.

Being self employed means long hours doing many things NOT directly related to making the product. It also means having the satisfaction of being able to produce a product that you are proud of.
   - guru - Monday, 08/08/05 09:16:08 EDT

Low Carbon Steel: Vincent, Pure iron and very low carbon iron has been available ocassionaly to the blacksmithing community but currently is not. The problem is that it is an expensive product with a relatively small market.

In wire you can buy SAE 1008 carbon steel. This is very low carbon compared to mild steel which is most often A-36 today. There is also nearly carbonless silicon steel made for transformer core plates. However, this is only available in thin plate such as .024" to .032". (.6-.8mm).

For a short period of time pure iron was imported from Europe. This failed as a business venture.

One fellow had arranged to purchase steel precursor for alloy steel. This was a very low carbon high purity product used as a starting point for producing tight chemistry alloy steels. It was not quite pure iron but very close. This venture also had a problem in that all the iron was in 1/4" thick plate that was cut into flats, bars and squares. No thicker sections were available out of the 10 ton initial purchase. The fellow died and even the 1/4" material is no longer available.

So at this point you have few choices. Wire, transformer plate and old scrap wrought.
   - guru - Monday, 08/08/05 09:30:53 EDT

Self Employed.

1. Wife, Juanita, tells me that I'm "self unemployed".

2. Another original from Juanita: "I'm self employed; I tell myself, do this, do that".

3. There was a New Yorker cartoon a few years back titled, "Office Party for the Self Employed", showing a lady with cone-party hat blowing a curlycue whistle while holding a camera to take a picture of herself.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 08/08/05 10:16:51 EDT

I need the pros and cons and pitfalls of refrigerated air dryers. Which brands to buy and which to stay away from? With the unusual humidity this summer in Michigan the "water problem" is a nightmare. My compressor is set to dump water on every cycle. I have water sparaters after the aftercooler, on the BIG Blu and at a work station. I'm dumping water every 20 min and filling a pail. Maybe I should give it up till winter when there isn't any humidity. brian robertson
   goodhors - Monday, 08/08/05 11:03:28 EDT

Pure Iron- There's an ad in the current issue of the CBA news,'Pure iron from europe (to Minnesota)at good rate if pre-order is 20,000#. Current pre-orders for 5,000#.'
The Praire Forge 763-878-1694
   mike-hr - Monday, 08/08/05 11:31:55 EDT

ebay listing item 6199330514 looks very similar indeed to the russian anvil reviewed on anvilfire that has a price of $80 this one is $155, does this look like ripping people off to you or am i just overly suspicous :).
   adam matthews - Monday, 08/08/05 11:54:03 EDT

Adam Matthews, yes, that's a ripoff. Shipping is $58, so if you were to buy it at the price they ask you'd be paying $213 for a glorified $80 doorstop of dubious use. The diagonal hardy hole is a recipe for disaster as well.

Also, when asking about ebay items here, as the Guru often requests, please just use the item number, don't post the whole URL. It can break this page and put the guru that much firther behind on things like pub registrations.
   Alan-L - Monday, 08/08/05 12:19:53 EDT

i was wondering what anvil would suit me? i am only fourteen and therefore my budget is very low! i definately cannot afford a high quality forged steel anvil and i dont want an "ASO" currently i am using a heavily ddented underside of a steel weight which is hardly the best thing for forging. would a piece of rail track be ideal?
   adam matthews - Monday, 08/08/05 13:31:08 EDT

Adam; what kind of forge work do you plan on doing? Hard to tell what would suit when we don't know what you're doing...

In general I would suggest a nice chunk of 6" shafting of a medium carbon steel to work off of. *Most* of the world does not forge on things that look like a london pattern anvil yet they still seem to get stuff done.

Also talk to *everyone* you meet about smithing and needing an anvil. My main anvil right now was found talking to a guy selling used car parts at a fleamarket.

Unfortunately my loaner anvil is already loaned out here in central NM---handy to have one while your student is finding one for themselves.


   Thomas P - Monday, 08/08/05 14:19:28 EDT

I'm looking for a place I can rent to setup my equipment (propane forge, anvil, vise, etc) in the Snoqualmie Valley in Washington, preferrably in or near Duvall.

Does anyone have any ideas or leads?

   Dave Weinstein - Monday, 08/08/05 14:25:49 EDT

Dave Weinstein: Sometimes you can use storage units for stuff like that. Some even have electricity.
   AwP - Monday, 08/08/05 15:00:33 EDT

Being self-employed-- hand-to-mouth combat, simple as learning to breathe underwater. Some cautions before quitting your job: check verrrrry carefully what happens to health insurance premiums, see how the banker reacts when you inquire how he or she'd feel if you were indy re: issuing a mortgage or a car loan. Some advice based upon being solo since 1971: Get the money in front.
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 08/08/05 15:26:41 EDT

Hi Thomas P.
I would be interested in some of that wrought plate.What widths do you have and what would you want for it?I tried to email you but it was returned by that mailer demon
Thnks in advance
   Chris Makin - Monday, 08/08/05 16:24:49 EDT

Refrigerated dryers of the proper capacity will give you dry air. So will desicator dryers. For your demand, assuming a air hammer as the main demand, the desicant dryer is a lot cheaper up front. Remember that both have temp limits. Most are not rated for less than 40F. Also remember that a refrigerated dryer will use a significant amount of electricity. The refrig dryer will generate even more water than you get now, it will just do it automaticly. Remember that the condensate from most compressors carry a significant amount of oil, and many sewer systems prohibit dumping untreated condensate. Also remember that the refrig dryers will generate a significate amount of heat from the condensor. If located in the same area insure that the hot air from the dryer does not get to the compressor, causing the inlet temp to go up, and reducing the ability of the compressor to cool.

A poor mans solution to water problems getting to the final filter at the point of use is a large reciever. Plumb a large volume, say about a 150 gallon (Within reason, bigger is better) tank to the air compressor. Run the line at full exit port size of the compressor. Plumb into a larger port with a bushing. Plumb into the side,( if possible, put in a tangential nozzle to impart a swirl to force the air droplets out.) and take the air out the top dead center of the reciever. Put a fan on the reciever. This gives a little pressure drop into the reciever, and a little residence time and a lot of the water will drop out. Put a auto drain on the bottom of the reciever that runs on a timer and then adjust. The auto drain valves that use a motor driven ball valve work a lot better than the rest of the autostuff. This will intercept a lot of the water. Also help maintain even pressure to the device.

Even if putting in the refrig dryer, the reciever setup helps the dryer handle the hot muggy air of summer.
   ptree - Monday, 08/08/05 16:41:56 EDT

Dave Weinstein: Check around that area for historical sites, such as period farms or villages. Some already have a blacksmith and may well be looking for a smith to make do-dads for the visitors. Great place to sell simple items, such as leaf key chains and S-hooks.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 08/08/05 16:46:00 EDT

Ebay anvil: First, the seller does not give a brand, place of origin and admits there is no identification. The comments that it "rings like a bell and is hardened and tempered steel" are commonly given for these cheap anvils by unscroupulas dealers. In fact the dealer probably knows nothing about the product or anvils in general. The cast steel Russian anvil was a low grade unhardened steel anvil.

Note that the diagonal hardy hole is the mark of a cheap Chinese anvil made exclusively for the ebay and flea market trade. There is no warantee and shipping is not refundable.

For the money you can buy a good used anvil at a blacksmith's meet. Old used anvils that are infinitely better tools than ASO's. The problem with this statement is that in the near future the fleamarkets will be filled with beat up old ASO's and identifying a "good old anvil" will become much more difficult.

As to the value of ASO's. Cheap anvils WERE made and sold by the catalog companies in the late 1800's and early 1900's. These were often listed as "chilled cast iron" and were honestly sold as bottom of the line. I have yet to see an example of these old ASO's. Meanwhile there are still millions of the old good quality anvils still in circulation.

SO, find your local blacksmith organization (or the closest one) and go to some meetings. There are usualy folks there selling old anvils and others you can ask for an opinion on the price and quality.

RR-rail anvils are far from ideal. Consider the average weight of 15 to 20 pounds and the optimum anvil to hammer ratio of 50:1. This gives you a little 12 to 16 oz. (340 to 454 gram) hammer. Larger hammers will bounce the anvil around. This means they are suitable only for very small work and very frustrating for anthing of any size. Much work HAS been done using these but you will be MUCH happier with something in the 100 pound and up range.

   - guru - Monday, 08/08/05 17:26:12 EDT

does anyone know of a good reference for building codes (railing)

   david - Monday, 08/08/05 17:45:48 EDT

Does anyone here own a refrigerated air dryer? Heard any good or bad stories? brian
   goodhors - Monday, 08/08/05 18:07:44 EDT

Water in the lines. . Goodhors, Steve Barringer of the Power Hammer School is using Ingersol-Rand refrigerated driers and gets ZERO condensate at the regulator filter. Last summer they had so much water that they had to put a bleed off valve at the first hammer to continously drain water from the lines. These are not cheap devices but they do the job.

Cost of operation is about the same as a small window air conditioner. Since this is a seasonal problem the added cost is also seasonal.

The cheapest method of extracting water is to have a reciever at the end of the line just before the machine. If T'ed off the line most of the water condenses in the long supply line and drops into the reciever. See ptree's comments above.

Do not use PVC pipe for air lines. The pressure changes and pulsations will cause the pipe to shatter. Besides the danger of plastic shrapnel there is also the problem of the air compressor running non-stop in the middle of the night.
   - guru - Monday, 08/08/05 18:14:40 EDT

I have tried making nailhearers, but they do not hold up. just purchased one, high quality tool steel, but do not think it is made correctly. Before I go back to the seller, I want to be sure I know what I am talking about. On the tool there is a raised section and under that is the dish section. Then there is the square taper. On this tool the large end of the square taper is on the raised section while the small end of the squared taper is on the dished section. Does this make sense to have it this way or should it be with the small square taper on the raised section and the large square taper on the dish section.
   bobk - Monday, 08/08/05 18:20:48 EDT

Frank Turley, The blower fan arived today. It looks like it will fit right in at first glance. Thanks! Steve
   SGensh - Monday, 08/08/05 18:38:37 EDT

Chris; what I have is the remenants of the old Ohio Pennitentiary water tower tank. *none* of it is flat and pieces range from around 25# to over 150# I currently do not have a good way of cutting it and don't want to go into it as a business; however I am always interested in helping out people trying to make stuff the old ways; so for someone needing a little ammount I could probably use the angle grinder and slice a chunk off. If someone wanted a large piece they would need to come look it over and pick it up here in central NM.

The address is correct for this post---my system automatically puts in the old one and I haven't dug into how to get it changed (mozilla on linux).

BobK usually nail headers are "back relieved" so that the top part grabs the nailstock so you can form the head, yet be easy to pop the nail out when you are done. To me it sounds like yours is inverted. How well does it make nails?

David; since building codes have a tendency to be local and this is an internationally visited site could you indicate what country you are in...?

   Thomas P - Monday, 08/08/05 18:43:14 EDT

David-- You can usually find the Uniform Building Code (UBC)as well as other codes (plumbing, wiring) in the public library. It is a smallish book, quite expensive to buy a current one new. (Older ones abound in used book stores, and the code doesn't change much.) Local codes, as Thomas indicates, may follow their own standards, however. Beware with railings of the stickout top and bottom, space between pickets or balusters, and kinks, nooks and crannies that might catch the inspector's wedding ring. King Supply makes a cast finial that once did just that. Serves me right for using it.
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 08/08/05 18:55:50 EDT

More on railings-- I saw a little kid get his head stuck between the post of a railing and the wall at the ice cream shop at Washington State U. in Pullman last summer and for a lonnnnnng, agonizing moment, it was just awful. The kid-- and he was not in the least microcephalic-- was absolutely terrified, his mom was going into panic and there was not a damned thing anybody could do for fear of snapping the tiny spine. Finally he worked it loose himself. If he'd hurt himself I think there'd be bankrupt iron shop out there today. Follow the code.
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 08/08/05 19:01:35 EDT

Building Codes: David, This is not simple. Every jurisdiction in the US (county by county, parish by parish) adopts, adapts, modifies and enforces the BOCA Uniform Building Code differently (despite its title). Often one version is current and the inspectors go by the version they own or learned on. The jurisdiction may specify a non-current version as well. I am told that a few places adopted the proposed no-climb rules before they were shot down and NOT included in the UBC.

NOMMA is probably your best source for code issues. But you will need to check the local codes. Often this is best done by contacting others in your locality.

Note that the BOCA building codes (as well as ASTM specs they refer to) are very specific in a few cases and VERY non-specific in others. They will tell you what load something must withstand but not how to do it. ASTM will tell you how to test it. . . Engineering specifics are not included in the code and are up to you or the architect.
   - guru - Monday, 08/08/05 19:02:27 EDT

Hi Guru,
I have a customer who has been buying sae52100 steel bearing from me. His application is high shock loading ( high performance racing engine tappet roller bearings. We have looked at M50 material but we are not sure that the additional load carrying capabilities are great enough to warrent the considerable price primum. approximately 2.5 to 3 times. Any thoughts?
   tom shields - Monday, 08/08/05 19:16:49 EDT

Nail Heading: As Thomas said it sounds backward in your description. The large end of the tapered hole goes DOWN. Note however that some makers countersink the hole and only a short section remains to be tapered. This is still DOWN.

Using a nail header is somewhat of a trick. Although some instructions call for stopping the taper on the bar in the hole this tends to get stuck in the header. The best working method is to make the nail smaller than the bar and a slip fit into the header. Then the bar is cut leaving some material above the shoulder to make the head. The nail is heated on the nearly cut bar, inserted into the header, broken off then headed with five sharp blows. The nail should pop right out when quenched.

To head spikes (heads on final sized bar) you need to do so in a vise either with or without heading dies OR upset the head on the bar then use a header. I prefer using the vise.

How to use a header is such a problem that when Doug Merkel sells nail headers he demonstrates making a nail with every one he sells. He uses a little micro forge to heat the bar stock taking less than 5 minutes to make a nail from the time he lights the little forge. The nail is absolute proof that the header works.
   - guru - Monday, 08/08/05 19:25:55 EDT

Nail headers are something I know a tiny bit about. Had to make over 3K nails for the Fort and so our headers were put to the test. ALso I honestly think your nail making technique is important. it is easy enough to goof it up so even the best header will not work. Have a look at Iforge demo number 48 and see if this header is simular toyour header
   Ralph - Monday, 08/08/05 19:45:59 EDT

Nail Headers.

Bobk, The reason for a tapered hole in a RIVET HEADER is to easily release the parallel sided rivet shank from the tool. Otherwise, the rivet chokes in the hole after the head is forged. The hole is a little bigger on the bottom of the tool, the side opposite the head portion.

Since a nail shank is forged already with a taper, it will release it self from a hole tapered in either direction or even a parallel sided hole. It is not as problematic as when making a rivet.

I would make a header out of hot work steel such as H13, S1, or S7. It takes quite a few heats to punch the hole through the toolhead, but it can be done. The hot punch will have a long, slender taper on it, and you'll get only a few licks per heat. I don't hollow the bottom of my tools; I keep the toolhead fairly thick.

You can make a heading tool out of high carbon steel, but it will have a shorter life than if made from good hot work steel. In use, the top of the tool will get "all wallered out", as we used to say in Missouri.

Punch all the way through, normally from bottom to top, until you get a thin, compressed burr ready to backpunch. Many times the burr will show itself as a slight bump. The hot punch doesn't usually break through, because of the tool steel's high tensile strength. When you turn the piece over for backpunching, flatten the "bump" first with your hammer. After ridding yourself of the burr, give the tool a full anneal, so that you can later needle-file the hole in order to clean it up. Then harden and temper.

Nail making.
They make lots of nails at Williamsburg & elsewhere. It helps to get the point first, and this is probably best done at the far radiused edge of the anvil or over the middle or base of the horn. Less chance of hitting the face of the anvil. To get nails approximately the same length, after short pointing them, make a white-out correction pen mark on your anvil face or square blocking
stake, about an inch or so in, away from you and your near "realtively sharp" edge. By putting the point on the mark each time and shouldering on two sides only with half-face blows, the point will draw out uniformly, and you'll have your two shoulders to act as a stop in the heading tool. If your careful drawing, the nails will be about the same length.

The shoulders leave a lopsided head when you notch-cut above the shoulders for the head, so when the taper is inserted in the tool and the bar wrung off, you use angle blows from the gitgo to try to center the head.

If it's a clinch nail, don't quench it after heading.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 08/08/05 19:56:03 EDT

M50 Steel vs. 52100: I couldn't find this steel in my print references so I went to Google.

# 52100 steel is the standard steel used to manufacture off-the-shelf bearings. It provides excellent strength and wear characteristics and is able to withstand moderate impact loading conditions. With optional high temperature heat treatment, 52100 will maintain adequate hardness at operating temperatures up to 400°F.

# M50 steel is most commonly used when operating temperatures range between 400°F and 1000°F. Because M50 maintains hardness and capacity better than standard bearing steels, it is ideal for use in high temperature applications.

I could not find the physical properties of M50 but there are a LOT of comparisons claiming "almost as good as M50" indicating that everyone is looking for a cheaper alternative to what appears to be the best steel for many applications.
   - guru - Monday, 08/08/05 19:59:30 EDT

Looks like Dawn and I will be in Huston in about 2 weeks time. Going to go to a Cancer center for consultation etc. Not sure how long we will be there. If anyone would like to visit let me know
   Ralph - Monday, 08/08/05 20:40:02 EDT

Railing & Codes : Railings in public places have to meet ADA [Americans with Disability Act]codes as well as local building codes, at least that is what they are telling us in Pa. There is a booklet by ADA that gives the rules. ADA seems to cover keeping the wheelchairs on the ramps and providing end terminations that can be found with a kane BEFORE You actually get to the steps.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 08/08/05 20:55:05 EDT

If you have an air compressor, you have water in the air, sorry, that is just the way it works. You can either deal with it at the recieving end with float drains, filters, etc., or prevent it from entering the system at all by installing a refer dryer unit. At my shop, the 25 HP I-R unit has an auto drain on the tank, which is great if I'm only using one hammer (by myself), even in the summer . However, when we have a school, or are useing more than one hammer at a time, the refer driers are required. I have 2 50 cfm driers hooked up together to give 100 cfm of coverage. There is NO moisture at my hammers. The 5 Big Blu hammers ran flawlessly for the past 2 classes. ALL air hammers like dry air. Please protect your investment with a refer dryer. Regards.
   Whitetrash - Monday, 08/08/05 20:58:45 EDT

Curious for some feedback on the powder torch for bronze and nickel plating of forgings, specificaly the all states propane unit.

Thanks, Ray
   Ray - Monday, 08/08/05 21:07:32 EDT

I guess I should have read a few more posts before making my last post. The Guru's comment about PVC pipe is quite correct, however, the reason the PVC fails, is that it can not stand the oils coming from the compressor. The oils cause the PVC to break down and fail. It WILL fail. I would think that one could come up with a 'junkyard' air drier (distilled air?). Check out the I-R web site for refer units. Regards.
   Whitetrash - Monday, 08/08/05 21:14:12 EDT

Adam Matthews: Check out local scrap yards. For example, the one I use has a piece of stainless about 3" x 6" x 8". You would not be able to wear out that dude. By using pieces, you can have a hardy hole receiver welded on the side of something like this.

On nail headers: I cheat and drill out the size hole head I want, hot heat and then drift with a square tapered punch.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 08/08/05 21:20:48 EDT

Just an adder note to the air dryer discussion. As has been said, a large receiver will get much of the water out just by providing a low velocity place for free water to drop out. However, a receiver will never get all of the water out. Dew point, the point where water will condense in air, is very dependent on temperature. When air expands, as it does through the valving and cylinder on an air hammer, it cools down. When it cools, more water drops out. You need an air dryer of some sort to remove more water. A very good refrigerated dryer can remove water down to a 35 degree F or so PRESSURE DEW POINT. This is NOT good enough to make sure water in air lines will not freeze in Northern climate winter temperatures. All air dryers take a large quantity of energy.
   - Tony - Monday, 08/08/05 21:26:21 EDT

Thanks for the input. My system is plumbed with 3/4" black pipe with high pressure fittings.(I had the help from a retired GM pipefitter. So it's kind of overbuilt.) The pipe is all overhead with drops from "T"s with safety values and shut offs. Don't get me wrong I like the Big Blu but to be honest I fell in love with Steve's "air system" more than the hammer itself.
Is the consensus that IR dryers are the best? A local MI company makes a product called Ultraair; has anybody used one?
   goodhors - Monday, 08/08/05 21:32:34 EDT

Hello, I want to build an outdoor coal storage bin that can hold 3 tons of coal. After looking through the archives I found ideas for a coal bins such as, to slope it for easier retrieval and that 120 cubic feet should be adequate. However, I don't know how to support that slope under such extreme weight. Do you have any plans for such a project? Also, if made of wood (as i planned it) is that adequate weatherproofing for southeastern new york exposure? If you can't help me do you know where I could find help? Thank you for your time and hopefully your help.
   Bosha - Monday, 08/08/05 21:47:25 EDT

Bosha-- how about incorporating a mechanical motor-driven screw to get the coal into the shop as needed?
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 08/08/05 21:55:18 EDT

Self contained power hammer:

After years of trying to convince myself otherwise, I now realise that I NEED a powerhammer. I don't have a large source of air so it will have to be a self contained hammer. The brands available are Striker, Anyang, Blacker and Sahinler. Does anybody have any thoughts on any of these machines?
   Bob G - Monday, 08/08/05 21:56:26 EDT

Ray: Be sure to check the cost of the metal powder to be sure it is cost effective, I don't have any experience using one of those for plating, You may cover fine detail work in an effort to get complete coverage. An exposed area of the steel will be atacked by galvanic corosion if out in the weather.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 08/08/05 22:18:03 EDT

Junckyard air drier? If You could find a heat exchanger that will handle the pressure and flow rate, You would be off to a good start. If You have well water and can affford to waste it, You could use that as the cooling method and remove a lot more water with a reciever tank than a tank alone. Evaporating refrigerant in the heat exchanger would be a little more ambitious, and a lot colder- that is what the comercial unit does.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 08/08/05 22:29:15 EDT

Dave: what are your sources for the metal powder, and what could one figure costs at for a square foot coverage in nickel plating at a 1/16"
Thanks, Ray
   - Ray - Monday, 08/08/05 22:34:25 EDT

Bob G. Check out the Phoenix forging hammer. www.phoenixhammer.com
   - Mani - Monday, 08/08/05 22:45:02 EDT

Thanks for the info on the nail headers. I have enough to go back to the seller and ask them to make it correctly.
   bobk - Monday, 08/08/05 23:02:39 EDT

Thomas / Pete

Thanks for the help. I also found out the briquettes are a no/no. I don't have the space/location to produce my own charcoal. However, I'll look into that Wal-mart chunk charcoal this week. I'm considering building in a port on my forge blower pipe where some propane or natural gas can be pumped in. Is this charcoal/gas forge idea alright or is it a neesh neesh. Thanks for all the help.

   Andre - Monday, 08/08/05 23:57:11 EDT

Ray: I havn't purchased any at the going price, the Eutectic brand kit I got used had a bunch of different alloys with it. I have been told they get about $50 a pound for it, but I never priced any.You may be able to get it for a lot less than list on the net. The normal use is the build up of worn parts that would be extremely expensive to replace, so a fairly high cost can be justified. I would guess that it would take about 3# to cover 1 Sq. Ft.at about 1/16" thick, because there will not quite be 100% transfer efficiency. I don't know if pure nikel is available, most of the alloys are formulated for specific uses. Have You looked into electroplating? finishing.com is a huge website that includes plating,You will probably find more help there.
   Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 08/09/05 02:29:03 EDT

Mixed Fires: Each type of fire has its own properties and my experiance with mixed fuels (oxy-acetylene in a coke or coal fire) is that neither do the job they way they are supposed to. You get a mess that does not heat or burn properly. The only mixed fires that I have seen have a slight advantage is when a lump of coal is tossed into a gas forge. Many gas forges tend to be oxidizing and the extra carbon from the volitiles gassing off in the forge help neutralize the atmosphere. This is not a normal practice and all it is doing is compensating for poor forge design.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/09/05 08:16:13 EDT

As many of you may or may not know I recently purchased an old Craftsmen 15" drill press from around the 1970s. Well I finaly finished restoring and cleaning it and I reatached the motor. This is when the problem came in when I set the belts to the highest speed ratio and turned it on the motor would start out slow and making loud electrical cracks. As it would gain speed it would puff smoke not large amounts but enough to make one worry and it smelled horible as if wire insulation was being burned. Now anyone know what would cause this? Belt tension too high perhaps? I did disasemble the motor and clean it out and reoil the berings, could I have messed up the alignment? Perhaps it was oil burning off, but sure didnt smell like it. Any sugestions?
   Michael Gora - Tuesday, 08/09/05 10:51:39 EDT

As the Guru says mixing fuels is generally a bad idea. Charcoal needs a lot of oxygen so pre-burning that oxygen just makes the charcoal fire oxygen starved (can you say even more CO than normal?) If you were really working on getting higher heats then building a recuperative system to preheat the combustion air would help---but also be a pain to maintain and you have to watch out for overheating components that woulkd be fine in a "regular" forge.

For knife heat treating I will often stick a closed end section of pipe in a forge, (propane or coal) with some crushed charcoal in the bottom of it to make a heating chamber with very low O2 atmosphere---you can really cut down on scaling that way!

When I was making nails in my basement with the little 1 firebrick forge and propane torch I made some disposable nailheaders using a piece of cold rolled wheich I drilled slightly smaller than the nail wanted, then back relieved with a larger drill bit and then used a masonry nail to drift the tapered square hole shape in *cold*. Didn't last very long but very fast cheap and easy to make for the couple of dozen nails I needed to make for a project. (nail stock was election sign frame...)

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 08/09/05 11:01:59 EDT

Smoking motor: The worst case is bad insulation in the motor resulting in turn-to-turn shorts. This would mean you need a new motor. If you are lucky, the centrifugal starting switch is hung up and the starting winding stays energized for too long. This is not uncommon on old motors that have been stored and will also make smoke, but if you free up the switch, you will salvage the motor. Make sure nothing is binding (the shaft turns freely), and then take the motor apart and examine the appearance and smell of the insulation. If it's burnt, it's too late, but if you fix the problem right away, you can often save the motor.
   Walking Dog - Tuesday, 08/09/05 11:59:42 EDT

Ray & Dave Boyer - pure nickel powder is available in the marketplace - I'm not certain what it runs a pound in small quantities. We purchase large amounts to use as an alloying powder with iron powder when producing iron powder blends for customers. (A blend typically consists of a base of iron powder, a lubricant such as zinc stearate or Acrawax, carbon in the form of graphite powder, and alloying element powders such as nickel or copper. I work for a company that manufactures atomized iron powder for the powder metallurgy industry.) Our supplier of nickel powder is Inco. Unfortunately, we don't repackage and sell small quantities of powder. We'd like all blends produced to be in full truckload quantities. On the other hand, knowing that something exists can help in locating it via the internet. Good luck with your projects.
   - Gavainh - Tuesday, 08/09/05 12:25:28 EDT

Thomas P.
I could use a piece 10" square of either thickness for an art project.Let me know if this is possible my email cfm1511@netzero.com
Thanks in advance
   Chris Makin - Tuesday, 08/09/05 13:49:02 EDT

Smoking Motor: Michael, It sounds like you crossed some wires or screwed up the centrifugal switch as Walking Dog mentioned.

In fractional HP single phase motors with capacitors the centrifugal switch is closed when not running. It connects the capacitor circuit to a special offset "start" winding. If the switch stays closed for more than a couple seconds the start windings burn out. If you hit the switch at about 3 seconds (the moment smoke appears if you are looking directly at the motor) then it MAY be OK. More than 5 seconds and the motor is fried.

From your description of the sounds I think you screwed up the windings or shorted a wire when you took the motor apart.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/09/05 14:50:28 EDT

Having trouble getting my coke to burn so far ive only tried using wood and paper with only a small fire does it need to be a big fire? or is it better to use a gas torch?
   - Owen - Tuesday, 08/09/05 17:19:05 EDT

Coke- I had a hard time starting a coke fire also- tried wood-paper torch etc- finially found if I put some
Kingsford matchlite charcoal and got it going and added the coke it started easy
   - ptpiddler - Tuesday, 08/09/05 17:30:26 EDT

Owen, Add some small kindling to the top of the Matchlight charcoal and put on some type of charcoal starter fluid, give the forge a pretty good air flow after the kindling blackens. Then add the coke a bit at a time and you'll be up and cookin' in about 10-15 minutes.
   Thumper - Tuesday, 08/09/05 18:51:06 EDT

Russian and Chinese anvils: Since Harbor Freight quit handling the Russian anvils, some ebay moguls have jumped in to fill the void. HF sold these anvils for about $80 but the ebay'ers let you bid them up to 2-3 times that much then stick it to you on freight. We should clearly point out that at $80 they were a good buy. At $150-250 they are a rip off. John Ruskin said "There is nothing that an unscrupulous man cannot make a bit shabbier, and sell a bit cheaper and those who buy on price alone are this man's lawful prey."
   quenchcrack - Tuesday, 08/09/05 19:21:47 EDT

I am trying to find a place where I could order/purchase a replacement part for my large Rock Island 574 vise. The part that I need is the female nut that the vise screw uses to cause the vice jaws to open and close.
   QuoteG - Tuesday, 08/09/05 19:26:48 EDT

Owen coak is notorious for hard starting. Mayhap you do not have enough air flow?
Personally I would make a decent kindling fire once it was blazing start adding coke. ( BTW is this 'coke" industrial coke? ) or is it coke from your coal fire? if the latter it should light well enough witha few pieces of newspaper rolled up
   Ralph - Tuesday, 08/09/05 19:40:57 EDT

Whats the story with treadle hammers,are they worthwhile or should a just wait and get a power hammer,also how about the small hydraulic presses like the ones sold by Riverside machine?I'm a knife maker and never pound on anything thicker than 1/4"....but then again with a power hammer I just might want to make Damascus! thank-you
   - Arthur - Tuesday, 08/09/05 20:19:10 EDT

"Bob G. Check out the Phoenix forging hammer. www.phoenixhammer.com"

They're not self contained!
   - Bob G - Tuesday, 08/09/05 20:30:26 EDT

QuoteG: Try McMaster-Carr (chi.sales@mcmaster.com). I have catalog #111 and large square nuts are on page 2986. They go up to six threads per inch in 1 1/2" size. However, I thought I saw somewhere in their catalog where they had other nuts listed more suitable for vise jaw rods.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 08/09/05 21:01:44 EDT

It is a common misconception that motoes run on electricity: What they really run on is SMOKE. If too much of the smoke comes out You may have to send it out to a shop where they can put in NEW smoke. Now really, Folks: Check that the starting switch is not bound up mechanically [as per Walking Dog], Verify that the wires are all hooked up for the voltage You are running off of [As per GURU], be sure the starting switch contacts are cleen & free of oil. After all the above, try the motor only [with the belt off] The motor should come up to speed instantly, any smoke any time is WAY TOO MUCH SMOKE. When You turn the motor off it should make a click as it is slowing down which may or may not be followed by a light rubbing sound. This type of motor has a limited starting torque, if everything isn't free turning [which it should be], You could have problems at the highest speeds, don't make the belts excessively tight at first. The noise You describe may be the starting switch opening and closing with a BIG arc, could be caused by any of the above reasons. Do You have, and are You handy with an OHM meter? Hope You could tolerate the beginning humor. Dave Boyer
   Amish Electrician - Tuesday, 08/09/05 21:12:36 EDT

Gavin: I really don't know enough about the sprayt torch alloys. They have a lot of nikel in them, but there may be other things that are important to the process,the companies treat it like High & Mighty Magic, as with anything that is or once was propritary. I guess thet if it has Nikel in it Inco knows more about it than anybody else, however Eutectic-Castolin has made this "low temp surface alloying" process It's baby, if quite a long time ago.
   Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 08/09/05 21:28:13 EDT


Treadle hammers are great for operations that require one hand to hold the stock and the other hand to hold the tooling. Leaves you no hands to swing a hammer, so the treadle hammer lets you swing it with your foot. Good if you only need a few blows, and not real rapid ones. They have very good control of how hard you hit, anything from a light tap to a smashing blow.

Treadle hammers don't do the best job of prolonged operations like drawing out long stock. That's where a powerhammer shines. Powerhammers, properly set up, can delive light or heavy blows, from one to a thousand. They usually hit pretty quick, between 120 and 300 blows a minute. Poorly set up ones are a huge pain in the neck.

Small hydraulic presses are too slow for forging work. The cycle time is too long unless you have a huge motor and pump and plenty of reservoir. To be effective for forging, they need to be pretty powerful and fast at the same time. This means cubic dollars. You might want to consider a flypress instead.

Flypresses are relatively inexpensive, quick, controllable and versatile. See flypress.com for some more info.

For doing billets, you might consider a McDonald rolling mill. This is quiet, powerful and relatively inexpensive to build. Check the Anvilfire store for plans. Also check there for powerhammer books to learn a bit more about the theory and habits of powerhammers. Thje simplest of the lot is the treadle hammer, though. Cheap to build, easy to use and very effective.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 08/09/05 23:11:43 EDT

Has Anybody out there tried to fit a log splitter with forging dies? I was working on a 34 ton splitter for a friend/customer, and tried it out as a press brake, worked pretty good for that.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 08/10/05 00:24:33 EDT

While you're at it, why not a mounted jackhammer with a foot controlled throttle.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 08/10/05 06:23:29 EDT

Ken-The jackhammer forging hammer has been done by at least one person. Virgil England of Alaska wrote an article on it a number of years ago in Knives Illistrated. Looks like his arrangement would be good for light work, but a proper power hammer would be better for heavy stuff. In the article, he was using it for for small pieces of bronze for a sculpture.

   Patrick Nowak - Wednesday, 08/10/05 07:27:30 EDT

When I took the motor apart I did not discounect or really mess with the coils. I will go through what I did. The motor had three body pieces a top bottom and middle. I took off the top and bottom while doing this the only thing I disconected was the ground wire. After disconecting everything I took a fine painting brush and just lightly brushes all the old saw dust off of everything using a vacume to suck it away. I then applied a light coat of 3in1 oil to the bearings. After that all I did was put it back together again. I tried it out when I got home and the thing dosent smoke at all when when it is on a lower ratio or there is no load on it at all. The motor does make the click noise and slight rubing when I turn it off as you described Amish Electrician. (Yes with a name like that how coul I not tolerate the cheesey begining humor.) I will try taking it apart again and check the switch when I get back from sunny Boca Raton. Anyone want some beach sand or seashells hehe?
   Michael Gora - Wednesday, 08/10/05 07:43:00 EDT

HOw does a treadle hammer work? I have seen some pictures but there was not enough detail for me to understand the mechanism.
   JLW - Wednesday, 08/10/05 07:58:04 EDT


The simplest and most basic of treadle hammers is the old Oliver from the 19th century. It was little more than a sledge hammer mounted on a pivot by the anvil, with a foot-operated treadle to pull the hammer head down to hit the work. All treadle hammers since then have been based on the same general concept, just refined and made more complicated.

One type of treadle hammer is the basic Oliver type, but with the hammer head made of pipe or shafting and having its own anvil, usually more pipe or shafting. The hammer head is supported on parallel arms that pivot on the main support column. A set of springs holds the hammer up against gravity, and a treadle is connected to the arms to pull the hammer head down.

That basic design has been modified to have the hammer head contained in a guide system so that it travels up and down in a straight line rather than an arc. Still, the same basic concept.

The anvil of most treadle hammers is designed with a "hardy hole" in it to receive bottom tools such as swages, dies or platens. The hammer head may have a receiver in it as well, or hand-held top tools may be used. Fundamentally, the treadle hammer is a tool to replace a second person acting as a striker. The mechanism to support the hammer head and pull it down can be as simple as you like (think Oliver) or as complicated as a sewing machine (Bruce Freeman's Grasshopper).
   vicopper - Wednesday, 08/10/05 08:26:57 EDT

Patrick Nowak: Bear in mind many hobby blacksmiths don't work with stock much larger than 1/2". Thus, something like a jackhammer powerhammer capable of being operated off of a standard 5HP shop compressor may be all they need. Personally, I could get along quite nicely with a 25-pound Little Giant.

JLW: Essentially a treadle hammer is a heavy weight (I believe around 60 pounds) held upright by springs. When the foot pedel is activated it swings the weight down so as to arrive flat on the bottom anvil surface. They can be equipped with a variety of tooling. Clay Spencer, in NC, is pretty well acknowledged the master of them. Some what a larger version of the old Olivers, which were more or less sledge hammers heads intended to replace strikers.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 08/10/05 08:33:58 EDT

Where can I find Shaklee Basic I?

   Chris - Wednesday, 08/10/05 08:40:01 EDT

Chris; Try looking in the phone book under "Shaklee". Most distributors (at least in larger towns) are listed.
   3dogs - Wednesday, 08/10/05 09:28:35 EDT

Dave Boyer,

I returned recently from Little Deer Isle, Maine, and visited with Bonnie Billings, a welder/smith who does work for the "lobstah hauluhs", among others. He's made some cold-working jigs for his log splitter. He can cold bend and shape 3/4" round into rings and links, for example.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 08/10/05 09:31:55 EDT

Treadle Hammer: See our book review of Werk und Werkzeug des Kunstschmieds By Otto Schmirler. I reproduced the treadle hammer drawing from this 1981 classic. Click on the image for a large detail.

Treadle hammers have also been used as part of chainmakers setups and a fine example is shown in Chain Making in the Black Country by Ron Moss, also shown in detail in our review. This is a classic type used for hundreds of years or longer.

Clay Spencer of NC-ABANA advanced the treadle hammer and its tooling to the modern standard. His plans are some of the best. Jere Kirkpatrick is also a treadle hammer manufacturer, demonstrator and sells how-to video tapes.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/10/05 10:21:46 EDT

Jack Hammer Forging: Ingersol used to have a jack hammer upsetter built into their hammer point forging machines. Due to the speed of the blows theses are very powerful tools. They also use air at a very high volume. Since the power of these tools comes from speed they are also hard to control. The small hand held air hammers are very good for chiseling and detail forging.

Treadle Hammers: Note that the limitation of these devices is that they are manually powered. There is an absolute limit to how much energy a human can expend. Although great for detail forging they are NOT a replacement for a power hammer for drawing. They DO provide controlled heavy blows replacing a striker for many applications.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/10/05 10:37:00 EDT

Chris, you can order it online from shaklee.net around 14.00 (USD), but if you do a search on shaklee basic I ,you should get a bunch of hit and maybe a better price.
   daveb - Wednesday, 08/10/05 10:40:15 EDT

Rock Island Vise Parts: Sadly Rock Island and most of the other great American vise makers are no more. That makes them all orphan tools that you are pretty much on your own to maintain. At one time McMaster-Carr kept a supply of vise parts for many brands. However, I have not seen this service listed in several years.

The part you are looking for is fairly simple. However, depending on the thread it may have to be chased on a lathe. Large acme taps are made but would cost nearly as much as having the part made at a machine shop. But there is also a possibility that the thread is square not a 15° acme.

Depending on the size and condition of the vise it would be worth several hundred dollars to have a part made. The big versions (8" jaws - over 100 [pounds) of these tools sold for up to $1800 new and the smaller ones several hundred. On the other hand you could probably buy several old ones in decent condition for what have a part made would cost. This is one of those places that those of us that have the capacity to make our own repairs DO and those that cannot should pass on the item or sell it cheap to someone that can.

I have had good luck and bad luck with old vises. I put a leg vise together from parts only to find that the screw worked at closing but was stripped at 1/2" out. . . I bought one vise at an auction for $100 to find that it had been poorly repaired and that fixing it was worth much more than the vise. But I was also given a nice 130# Prentise vise that only needed an hours work to be perfect and bought another larger one WITH a 500# bench for less than $200. I have a collection of leg vises that are all in good condition. In a shop that does a variety of work you cannot have enough vises. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/10/05 11:36:59 EDT

What kind of mechanical advantage does the treadle hammer provide. YOu have a 50#weight but you also have the springs working against you. Is it any more than substituting leg power for arm power?
   John W - Wednesday, 08/10/05 12:14:17 EDT

John W.: Although folks like Clay Spencer do wonderful things with a treadle hammer, my observation is for most it is essentually a striker. You can hold the stock and the tool, such as a punch, and let the hammer be the striker. Plus you don't have to bail them out of jail and they don't show up drunk.

Is it a blacksmith can't have too many vises or vices?
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 08/10/05 12:24:47 EDT

Treadle hammer: JLW check out Helmut HillenKamp's article - very clear pictures:

   adam - Wednesday, 08/10/05 12:24:49 EDT

daveb: Check out my eBay store, Poor Boy Blacksmith Tools by going to the Navigator link and then down to advertisers. I Shaklee Basic I by the pint, which is enough to make up a 5-gallon batch.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 08/10/05 12:26:16 EDT

Air hammer forging.

A friend uses an air hammer/needle scaler for upsetting. He clamps the piece in the vice, like normal, and hammers away. It seems to be faster, on 1/2" or smaller, than the hammering. mostly because the upsetting goes straighter and he doesn't have to do that extra straightening step.
   - Marc - Wednesday, 08/10/05 12:45:23 EDT


Treadle hammers provide "mechanical advantage' in a couple of ways. First, there is the advantage that you can't swing a 60# hammer, unless you're Goliath. The springs simply overcome gravity just enough to hold the hammer head up. Not much effort is required to overcome the springs resistance. After having overcome the spring, you have all that wonderful mass and moomentum working for you.

Never lose sight of the fact that the treadle hammer is powered by your leg. Much stronger than your arm; try doing a few one-arm pushups is you have any doubts. This allows you to set the ratio of the treadle travel to head movement to get pretty high head speed if you want. Since F=MA, that additional acceleration adds right up. There is no way you could *accelerate* that heavy a hammer with your arm.

The biggest mechanical advantage however, is that a treadle hammer frees up one whole arm/hand for holding tooling. Since you only have two hands, that's like doubling your efficiency at some tasks.

   vicopper - Wednesday, 08/10/05 12:49:34 EDT

Thanks Ken, but Chris was needing it :)
   daveb - Wednesday, 08/10/05 13:16:36 EDT

The Hillenkamp page is excellent. I liked his design. Looks fairly straightforward to build too. I wrote to ask him about the fastening of the secondary spring. The picture was a little shy on detail. Thanks for the reference.
   John W - Wednesday, 08/10/05 14:41:30 EDT

I've seen mandrels in lots of books. Was it used only for straightening rings or did it have other uses? What was the vertical groove running from top to bottom for?
   Claudio T - Wednesday, 08/10/05 15:30:06 EDT

We have a different way of measuring sheet metal. In English books they talk about gauge. 14 gauge 16 gauge etc. Is 16 gauge 1.6mm?
   Claudio T - Wednesday, 08/10/05 15:36:12 EDT


The groove is so the tips of the tongs have a place to go while holding the ring on the mandrel.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 08/10/05 16:26:50 EDT

16 AWG (American Wire Gauge) is .051" or 1.3mm. 16 Std. gauge steel is .059" or 1.5mm. 16 SWG (Imperial Wire Gauge) is .064" or 1.6mm. Pick your gauge. I like decimal sizes, as they don't vary so radically.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 08/10/05 16:34:31 EDT

Claudio, when referring to gage for sheet metal, there are many different meanings depending on what is specified. If you can get a Machineries manual, there is a section that gives all the different thickness for the different gage call outs.
According to my 13th edition,, per the Standard gage no. 16 gage is 0.0598" thick. Then you also need to refer to the standard tolerences chart. If you want the one best introduction to the wacky system used in many parts of the world for measuring things a machineries manual is best.
   ptree - Wednesday, 08/10/05 16:36:50 EDT


It sounds to me like a circuit breaker on your motor might be opening and closing with the higher starting current at the higher ratio. But I don't really know if they put circuit breakers like that on motors. I'd take any access plates off and look for evidence of arcing.
   Mike B - Wednesday, 08/10/05 17:20:34 EDT

Hey Guys 'n' Dolls,
I have a gate to be installed in a granite column. There's no way I'm moving this column but the client insists upon leading the pin into the holes to be drilled, (noting the instances in europe where she saw such things). The gate is still in the design stages and the price yet to be quoted. What excatly is the method of getting lead to pour into a horizontal hole? I'm wondering whether the lead is just to keep water out of the hole (so it doesn't freeze and crack), and it's the barbs on the pin that holds the gate? All my other experience is attaching to wood or to metal strap bolted to stone. Where might I fight lierature about this as well? Thanks in advance. _Joe
   Rodriguez - Wednesday, 08/10/05 17:26:38 EDT

Mandrel groove: I was told that this was used for chain making. The groove accomodates the previous link
   adam - Wednesday, 08/10/05 17:51:45 EDT

Just a suggestion for someone who might want to play with the concept for a small air hammer. Let someone else build your frame by using something like a 12 ton or larger hydraulic press. Replace the jack assembly with the head and use the existing press table for bottom dies.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 08/10/05 18:43:11 EDT

Question on shrinkage of mild steel. I'm building a winch for my trebuchet, and the diameter of the sides will be around 5'. I want to put on a steel band, similar to wagon wheels, but not sure how to adjust the size so that when the steel is hot, it will drop in place.
   Shdwdrgn - Wednesday, 08/10/05 19:03:21 EDT

Groove in Cone Mandrels: Some have them some do not. They are supposedly "tong" grooves. All I have used did not have them and the lack was not noticable. However I found when designing a pattern and core box that the groove if it is a slot as often is the case can be used to support the core. This makes mold making a LOT easier. Even with this support chaplets are needed to prevent side to side movement and floating of the core.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/10/05 19:27:49 EDT

I want to install a 36" diameter architectural bronze medallion in a public walkway. I would reaaly like to patina this with blue shades. What should I use? How will last/look like wiith people wlaking on it and if foot traffic can damage is there a protectant - like a wax- we should use? Please advise. Thank you,

as always, gsl
   geeg - Wednesday, 08/10/05 19:33:04 EDT

Rodriguez, You can use lead wool tamped into your hole rather than trying to pour lead horizontally. You have to tamp it tightly from the start of filling the hole not just wad it in and hit it at the end.
   SGensh - Wednesday, 08/10/05 19:45:19 EDT

Hey, I'm just getting into blacksmithing and have a small shop assembled, 100lb. anvil, box of rusted tongs, hammers, hardies, and the like. I've made a couple wall hooks and tongs and I was wondering what other projects would be good to start on?

*kudos to the Guru for the swordmaking page, I got sick of it when I had told a dozen people what I was getting into and 8 people had immediately requested swords*
   Logan Goddard - Wednesday, 08/10/05 19:45:44 EDT

Shrinking a band. Rule of thumb when sizing tires is to make the inside circumference the thickness of the tire (or band) smaller then the out side circumfirnce. Measure with a traveler. When good and hot the steel expands aproximatly 1/8 of an inch per foot. For a five foot diameter just get it warm enough so it shows a dull (very dull) red in subdued light and it should drop right on.
Tip, when measuring with the traveller, make sure it turns in the same direction when you measure the wheel, and tire.

This answer brought to you by the letters C,S,I and the colour blue.
   JimG - Wednesday, 08/10/05 20:11:21 EDT

Logan Goodard: Good reference/projects books:

1. The Art of Blacksmithing by Alex W. Bealer. Read it cover to cover at least twice. While there aren't all that many projects in it, it will give you a good orientation.

2. Practical Projects for the Blacksmith by Ted Tucker. Packed with projects designed to be simple enough for a semi-talented Jr. High School student to do - as that is who he was teaching at the time.

3. 101 Metal Projects for the Novice Blacksmith: A "How-to" Shop Manual for the Beginners by Al Cannella.

These, plus others which might interest you, are available through at least one of the forum advertisers. I (Poor Boy Blacksmith Tools) am the only one to sell #3.

Once you have some experience under your belt you might consider subscribing to some periodicals, such as joining ABANA and receiving The Anvil's Ring and The Hammer's Blow, Jerry Hoffman's the Blacksmithing Journal and George Dixon's The Artist-Blacksmith Quarterly.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 08/10/05 20:29:45 EDT

Pouring Lead Horizontaly: This is done like any horizontal pour, with a dam and riser that gets cut off. Daming compound (Damntite Brand) is molded around a sheet metal funnel form and the whole thing propped in place. After the pour you trim the excess lead with a chisel. Leave some extra so that you can tighten the lead by hammering, then trim again.

Note that properly designed anchors for large gates often go nearly through the column or are at least 16 to 18" long. I prefer the bent tail type that are set in the stonework as it is built. On a large entry gate with heavy frame we reccomended a structural steel beam under the driveway with steel verticals that the anchors were attached to and the stone work built around the whole. The gates weighed around a thousand pounds each and we garanteed that they would not sag.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/10/05 20:42:15 EDT

Thanks Ken.
   Logan Goddard - Wednesday, 08/10/05 20:44:00 EDT

Logan Goddard,

For a couple hundred good projects, check out the iForge page right here on Anvilfire. Each project has directions. Access the page on the pull-down menu.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 08/10/05 21:12:54 EDT

Michael G: if the motor workes OK on the lower speeds, I am going to suggest that the bearings are full of old,gummy,mostly dried up lube which is making a lot of drag at high speed. Not the motor bearings, but the jackshaft and especially the spindle bearings. The easy way would be to drench them in Liquid wrench and run at a moderate speed for a while to see if they free up, keep the belts loose enough to slip easily if something gets tight. The more agressive aproach would be to disasemble everything and soak all the bearings, or replace them. Those craftsman motors usually had a thermal overload, a little red button on the end bell that had to be manually reset.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 08/10/05 21:40:40 EDT


I'm looking for a simple "tapping head" but so far the anvilfire.com "Drilling 102, accessories" web page is the only reference I have found to the type of unit I have used in the past and want to buy. Can you tell me who still makes/sells heads like the one in the drawing on your web page?

Thanks in Advance
   Keith Anderson - Wednesday, 08/10/05 23:14:39 EDT

Kieth A - Tapping head: I couldn't find the picture You saw, but the ones I have experience with were "Tapmatic" brand. I would try MSC Industrial Suply Co.@ mscdirect.com or 1-800-645-7270. They are simple to use, not cheap to buy.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 08/10/05 23:36:54 EDT

to the ebay anvil know-it-all: it is a free country, however, unless you are getting paid, there is no reason for you to educate anvil sellers unless you really crave patting yourself on the back. believe it or not, you do, at times, give inaccurate information. you use one reference to base your unsolicited advise. in the process, you are contributing to increased buyer cost and actually run off serious bidders. you frequently give advise at this site where you have zero knowledge or experience, even to individuals who are experts on the topics discussed. you may mean well, but the fact remains; you have a very superficial understanding spanning a wide range of techniques , processes , and scientific basis pertaining to manipulating metal. take a long look at yourself and take a break....
   - frustrated - Thursday, 08/11/05 01:22:53 EDT

to the ebay anvil know-it-all: it is a free country, however, unless you are getting paid, there is no reason for you to educate anvil sellers unless you really crave patting yourself on the back. believe it or not, you do, at times, give inaccurate information. you use one reference to base your unsolicited advise. in the process, you are contributing to increased buyer cost and actually run off serious bidders. you frequently give advise at this site where you have zero knowledge or experience, even to individuals who are experts on the topics discussed. you may mean well, but the fact remains; you have a very superficial understanding spanning a wide range of techniques , processes , and scientific basis pertaining to manipulating metal. take a long look at yourself and take a break....
   - frustrated - Thursday, 08/11/05 01:24:24 EDT

does anyone know where i could get good step by step diagrams to make roses, rams heads etc
   marc - Thursday, 08/11/05 02:29:07 EDT

Marc, yes! This web site look in teh upper right corner for the NAVIGATE anvilfire pull down. go to iForge. You find all you need.
   Ralph - Thursday, 08/11/05 03:45:13 EDT

I thought that the picture and directions on HillenKamp's website about making roses were really excellent.
   JLW - Thursday, 08/11/05 06:50:15 EDT

Does galvanized steele pose a health risk if used as a cooking grill? Please reply to lori@stadleyandwright.com
   - steve jackson - Thursday, 08/11/05 08:08:54 EDT

Treadle Hammers:

If blacksmiths had three arms, they wouldn't need treadle hammers. :-)

Slots and Cone Mandrels:

In their heyday these were very popular with wheelwrights and others forging bands held with knee tongs (the jaws bent down at a right-angle). They are great for rounding out hub bands or just about any other ring. The slot does speed things up, but is not always necessary.

I guess it could be used for chain, but mostly if the chain link was round and the thickness of the link was no more than 1/2 of the width of the slot. Hmmmm; probably not that usual, a custom mandrel or chain making setup would be more versatile and efficient.

As for other uses, cone mandrels can be used for any operation that you can press them into. For instance, I've used mine, with a little soapstone marking, to bend various radiuses of 90 degree corners into bars and rods for decorative effect.

eBay Anvils:

Seems to me it's a legitimate function to help folks sort the wheat from the chaff. I will point out that some of the chaff may end up baked into the bread, and some of the wheat may end up on the threshing floor, but it sure beats having to graze your way across the wheat field. However, your post is somewhat ambiguous, so I can't tell if it's a general chastisement of folks overreaching their knowledge, or if it's disgruntlement because some folks were prevented from buying the wrong tool, or too expensive a tool for the job they wished to do.

People come here for not just knowledge, but advice and experience. If they were to ask us about buying our brother's-in-law car, I doubt that any of us would stint in relating our knowledge about the car, our experience with the brother-in-law in terms of honesty and driving habits, and advise as to whether it was a good deal or not.

That's what friends do for each other, and we assume people posting here are friends. So maybe we should shut up and let people make their own mistakes? That just doesn’t fit into my world view. They still don’t have to take our advice, but if they ask for it, we give it.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atl) - Thursday, 08/11/05 08:34:44 EDT

Cone Mandrel. I made a couple of froes where the welded eye needed to by tapered. I welded the eyed straight with a "loop weld", drifted it a bit to get it rounding. By applying it to the top of the big mandrel and the use of judicious hammering, I was able to get the necessary taper for the wooden haft.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 08/11/05 09:51:47 EDT

steve jackson-- galvanized steel emits a nasty yellowish crudola when heated that I would not want in my burgers. Also, beware those pretty grills out of refrigerators-- they are coated with some REALLY toxic plating. Cadmium? I forget, but don't use it.
   Miles Undercut - Thursday, 08/11/05 10:01:46 EDT

Steve *YES* it does pose a health hazard; a typical grill will reach temps that will burn off the zinc; you may want to look up "Metal Fume Fever" or look at the safety demo on the I-forge page---we're a bit touchy on this subject lately as we just lost a dear and respected friend and smith due to complications from zinc exposure. A grill will be a smaller ammount but it is cumulative...I would go with stainless steel if you don't want a plain steel grill.

I'll bet the "one reference" is "Anvils in America and it is *THE* reference for information on anvils; so much so that anybody *not* referring to it when researching an anvil should be considered suspect. However I feel his pain I have had things shoot into the stratosphere at auctions cause someone who wasn't bidding talked them up...

   Thomas P - Thursday, 08/11/05 10:36:43 EDT

steve jackson-- Instead of being ironic (haha, that's a pun, son!) I should be explicit: galvanized steel emits extremely toxic zinc fumes when heated. Inhaling enough of those fumes can make one extremely sick and can be fatal. Use something else in your barbie.
   Miles Undercut - Thursday, 08/11/05 10:37:17 EDT

ebay anvils..
Frustrated,.. if your selling a load of c*&p, then fair enough, and if an 'expert' is emailing you unsolicited and telling you as much, then i dont really think thats their business to do that.
However, if someone asks on here, " is that anvil any good", and they receive 'experts' opinion they then have additional information to make a buying decision which seems fair enough to me!
Sometimes im sure people do overstretch their knowledge (is this called learning??), but often its in a gereral 'throw some ideas around kinda way ' which results in guidence of some form for the person asking the question.
The one topic im 100% sure that the advice will be sound on is anvils though, and I assimilated a lot of info from here, and other sources before buying one, and have not regretted my research!

anyway rant over - John (power hammer expert!! :)
   John N - Thursday, 08/11/05 10:39:11 EDT

fustrated: Since it is obviously me you are referring to, the name really is Kenneth (Ken) Scharabok. On my birth certificate and numerous documents since. I do not use nicknames or alias'. My AOL account user id is scharabo only because I was limited to no more than eight letters when I joined. It is also my eBay user id. At least I'm man enough to associate my opinions, etc. with my given name. If you are going to called me a SOB, please attribute it accordingly.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 08/11/05 11:35:19 EDT

Is it "Frustrated's" ox which is being gored? Where better, then, than the most highly frequented blacksmithing website on the planet, is one to get the straight poop on anvils? We, as a group, mostly comprised of PAYING members, and like-minded guests, are going to look after our own interests, and those of our friends, and we WILL circle the wagons if necessary. What say the Congregation?
   3dogs - Thursday, 08/11/05 12:07:59 EDT

Amen, 3dogs! In fact, dispensing information, advice and educaton is our primary function. I'm glad to see we're doing that. The facts are always friendly, as Pop used to say. Knowledge is power and all that.

Should Ken offer unsolicited advice to eBay sellers of blacksmithing items? Why not? Advice, opinions, information...isn't that what the Web is for? Or is it only for a few sharpshooters to get a great deal from an unknowing seller. Or perhaps for an unscrupulous seller to fob off garbage on the unsuspecting for inflated prices, using misleading sales talk?

Since I think that daylight is the enemy of deceit, I don't mind Ken giving advice to sellers at all. I've bought a lot of things on eBay, and it hasn't hurt me any. Knowledgeable bidders will drive the price up, no matter what. As will knowledgeable sellers. Not all of them got that way from Ken's advice.

So pay what a thing is worth and quit carping, "frustrated". In particular, if you have a bone to pick with Ken or with anyone here, it would be more reasonable and mature to to address it directly to he whom you think is the "offending" party. To do so, you need only click on the name on the post and an email window will open so you can vent your spleen directly at the intended victim. Had you posted your name or email address, I would have directed this to you by email, for instance.
   vicopper - Thursday, 08/11/05 12:31:58 EDT

yep Amen. What Bruce, 3Dogs & Rich said.

The marketplace works best when both buyers and sellers are well informed. Good prices will encourage sellers to seek out more anvils to sell. Many of these anvils would otherwise end up a scrap. As smiths we *need* a good market where we can find tools at fair prices. Sure its always nice to get a steal but its not anyone's birthright.

Also, its a popular sport on this forum to pubicly revile ebay sellers for incorrect, misleading or just plain deceptive descriptions. If its wrong to mislead people then its right to set them straight. Can't have it both ways.
   adam - Thursday, 08/11/05 12:42:33 EDT

For any bronze subjected to the weather, colors other than brown or green will not last long no mater what kind of protective finish you have applied. If you add to the problem of weathering, the fact that this bronze is installed in a walkway and is constantly being abraded by foot traffic, then you will find that there is no permenant way to keep a patina on it. Most artists will patina thier bronze and protect it with microcrystelne wax that is appiied to the metal that has been heated with a torch. You want the bronze to look good for a grand opening or a dedication. After the foot traffic starts the metal will weather naturally so there is no upkeep required.
   - Bill Stanley - Thursday, 08/11/05 13:16:07 EDT

anyone know where i can look at some BBQ smoker plans? havent had much luck with prior searches. i bought one from a retailer and find the fire box difficult to work with. getting rid of the ash is also a pain. bass pro shops have a wide variety but none really impressed me. some of y'all have to be smoker fiends. thanks..
   rugg - Thursday, 08/11/05 18:25:14 EDT

Frustrated, you are probably not aware of the problems we have had with ebay sellers representing poor quality anvils as Professional Grade and then stealing Anvilfire photos and reviews to put into their auctions. We have all seen a lot of abuse of the un-educated anvil consumer. We don't have much sympathy for anyone who distorts the truth to make a buck. If you are not one of those, stick around and learn something. All honorable people are welcome here. If you are an unscrupulous seller, this will not be a comfortable place for you to visit.
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 08/11/05 19:45:33 EDT

I ate excellent smoked meats from Possum's shop built smoker. I would guess that he would share the plans. Look in the archives or on Iforge for his address. He made an excellent smoker, and he has fed the crowd at his hammer-in in Salem In. for a couple of years.
   ptree - Thursday, 08/11/05 20:04:30 EDT

i have most of the parts for a press. i have the pump and motor plus the spool valve and hydraulic cylender and tank. i think that all these parts will build a press of about 20 ton. will this be enough tonage to forge weld thin damascas or patern weld knife blades? i will be using mostley chain and cable material with some stacked material like saw blade material and mild steel. very few billets will be more than 1
   - ron60 - Thursday, 08/11/05 21:08:29 EDT

i have most of the parts for a press. i have the pump and motor plus the spool valve and hydraulic cylender and tank. i think that all these parts will build a press of about 20 ton. will this be enough tonage to forge weld thin damascas or patern weld knife blades? i will be using mostley chain and cable material with some stacked material like saw blade material and mild steel. very few billets will be more than 1" thick. should i try for a larger press. i have a coal and propane forge for the heat, both will reach welding heat easily. thanks much for any help
ron60 vein mountain forge works.
   - ron60 - Thursday, 08/11/05 21:09:19 EDT

Re: Frustrated. I didnt know that you could post here without leaving a valid email address. As an ignorant newbie/wannabe blacksmith, I dont see what "F"'s problem is unless he is selling junk and can't stand an honest opinion. Ken has the integrity to sign his name and put his reputation behind his opinions. No one has to accept advice posted here and I think that if and when someone writes crap here someone, either a guru or someone else who has expertise on the subject is going to set them straight. So there! That is my opinion.
   JLW - Thursday, 08/11/05 21:50:15 EDT

FWIW. I like the groove on cone mandrels.
I had welded chains onto 150mm rings then needed to true-up the ring, The groove let the chain fall into out of the way.
   - Sven - Thursday, 08/11/05 22:16:24 EDT

Ken is a really nice person and is just trying to give useful information and time to others. I know ebay bidding can be frustrating at times. He does not hide who he is when offering advise. He also makes mistakes like all of us. He is quick to correct himself when he is wrong. I think all the anvils would go to the same dollar amount weather advise was given or not. Thousands of blacksmiths or future smiths are well informed and lusting over there "DREAM" anvil viewing everyone one offered forsale on ebay everyday. Frustrated we do not know who you are, but think you may just be anvil frustrated. Get it out by banging some hot iron on railroad track if that is all you can find. Be quick to think and slow to speak of others.
   burntforge - Thursday, 08/11/05 22:42:54 EDT

Rugg:I built 3 smokers that some friends use in the BBQ catering buisiness. These are insulated, thermostat controlled propane fired slow cooker/smokers with a box to put wood in for smoke. They have 3 racks in them, top for baked potatoes, middle for meat [pig or chickens] and the bottom for smoked baked beans. The ones I built varied from 24"X 36" racks to 36"X 72" racks, the one they liked best was 30"X 48". These may be more involved than what You want, but would be good for a club or firehouse. They have been using the ones I built every season starting in '88. The basic design was copied from one they already had. If You want more info on this type of smoker E- mail me.
   Dave Boyer - Thursday, 08/11/05 22:48:42 EDT

It is my opinion that to 'Weld the layers you should do it by hand. But I press is GREAT to help straighten, and with dies it can help a lot in developing different patterns.
Every time I tried welding with a press the parts sorta squshed( a highly technical smithing term) apart
   Ralph - Thursday, 08/11/05 23:27:27 EDT

Thanks for all the great advice you have given me and for what I've learned by reading your answers to others here.
   sriver - Friday, 08/12/05 01:43:37 EDT

For background I suspect fustrated's current problem* is an eBay listing (6200231263) for essentially 'an anvil', noting they had been told it could be a PW and if anyone knew differently please let them know. It was clearly an American Star anvil cicra early 1850-late 1860s per Anvils in America. I said it was semi-rare, as it is due to a short production period. He cites my lack of anvil knowledge (and, yes, I am sometimes not completely correct), but how many other people could look at the pictures and immediately recognized it as an AS?

I am almost certain they had a somewhat similar post a couple of months back to where I am making every anvil seller on eBay into an instant anvil expect who then cites their anvils as rare (not usually the case) and jacks up the price (not usually the case either - although bidding may increase). In general I am causing the prices of anvils on eBay to be significantly increased while I should be looking out for buyers (like him) and not the seller. OK, I hereby accept credit in furthering the anvil knowledge of the average Joe Blow America. If I have leveled the playing field somewhat between sellers and folks who want to buy their anvils cheap for resale or use, then so be it.

I do not profit from this as I very, very seldom sell an anvil and don't sell Anvils in America either.

*I'm pretty sure in past post this person also implied I was somehow 'ripping off' novice blacksmiths with my Poor Boy Blacksmith Tools store on eBay. I wasn't basically doing anything they couldn't do for themselves if they had the equipment, skill and knowledge to do so. OK, isn't that known as free enterprise? I am indeed offering a custom order service for lower quality, but usually perfectly serviceable for their intended usage, tools. My tools are rather clearly indicated as being of lower quality (and priced accordingly) than professional commercial sellers. Most beginning or novice blacksmiths don't need professional grade tooling to start out.

When I make mistakes I welcome him bringing them to my attention. As noted, it then becomes a learning experience.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 08/12/05 04:58:51 EDT

re ebay anvils..... (again)

im slightly confused here ken.. is 'frustrated' the person selling the anvil, or someone who was bidding on it who diddnt want the anvils true 'identity' known? if its the anvil seller they asked in the advert for more infomation if anyone knew what it was (hence not unsolicited advice), if its the prospective buyer after a bargin tough s*%t, thats how ebay / a free market economy works! keep up the good work :)
   John N - Friday, 08/12/05 05:48:42 EDT

John N: Unless I am really mistaken, fustrated is an anvil buyer for resale. They hope to find those selling cheap, because they are unidentified, and then resell them with the identification. In the particular listing cited, the buyer asked for advise. In other (most actually) cases I volunteer the information as 'unsolicited advice'. Sometimes it is used, sometimes it isn't. If an anvil is listed in a category other than Collectibles/Tools, Hardware & Locks/Tools/Blacksmithing I recommend they change categories. Some sellers paint the anvil thinking it will sell better and I have recommend they remove the paint so the buyers can see there aren't hidden defects. I've heard more than one story of a flat anvil plate turning out to be paint over body putty.

Fustrated's point is, in his opinion, I am going well above and beyond the duty buy telling the sellers what it is they are selling.

Actually I don't fool with those selling the Asian imports. They know what they are and it is their own conscience they sleep with. In one of my listings (6124538030)I do offer advise on them.

And, for fustrated, I have no intent to stop offering this unsolicited advice. They are welcome to complain to eBay if they feel it is buyer interference.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 08/12/05 08:07:13 EDT


Thanks for you helpful and friendly advice and comments both here and off-line.
   - Tom H - Friday, 08/12/05 08:35:20 EDT

ebay anvils...

ken - I think its great that you have the time to help out folks selling equipement they dont know the true value of (I can imagine a few 'antiques roadshow' moments when they realise the true value!, and like you say they can take or leave the advise) - Its a shame that frustrateds 'spat his dummy'that your helping people out - I would have thought there was easier ways to make $ on ebay than anvils if all your interested in is the $ side of things? I search ebay for anvils now and again (gets kinda addictive) and some of the dealers make me laugh with 'ive just moved house and found 20 new anvils in the garage ' type listings! - Ive always taken the advice that if you have a happy customer they tell 10 people, but an unhappy one will tell 100! - know where I like to be in the long term ....
   John N - Friday, 08/12/05 09:26:26 EDT

dave boyer, thanks for the reply. if you have any info on building continuous rotating racks, i will email you. i am debating on if i should stick with charcoal or switch to propane. the charcoal i use is hardwood, usually hickory, along with "smokin' wood chunks (apply, cherry, ect..)and i suspect i get a lot of flavor from the charcoal. i have been thinking of a verticle arrangement with the fire box on the bottom so that all of the meat sees the same heat. i also wish the fire box to be easy to load and ash easy to get rid of..appreciate your input..
   rugg - Friday, 08/12/05 09:54:23 EDT

Anvils for Sale: The fact is that generaly the public, sellers and buyers are very uninformed about these seemingly simple tools. The other fact is that we ALL want to get that fantastic 250 pound perfect Peter Wright for $25 but it is NOT fair to the seller when WE know it is worth $500 to $700. . .

Is it moraly right to let a poor widow think her late husband'c collection of old tools is just worthless rusted junk?

Is it moraly right to let kids interested in blacksmithing THINK that a junk cast iron anvil touted as a "professional tool" by an unscrupulous dealer IS a good tool? And to use it in frustration not knowing that it is only good as an emergency stop-gap.

From the amount of fraud that goes on on ebay it is obvious that the public needs some help. Should people volunteer to help clean up ebay? I think it is a hopeless task but I harp on the problems as do others. It is a great resource but it is also a morass of fraud that often touches on OUR industry. Is it right to interfer? Complicated question. However, it is a new world and new rules apply.

We all know that we get many questions here about tools for sale and their value. I get more by mail than we do publicly. I always temper my responses with "the value depends on the condition and who is buying and who is selling". I always give a range of value from the "I just want to move it" to "I want as much as possible" price. I get a lot of questions about things on ebay. Sometimes they are good items and other times the corespondents were right to be suspicious. VERY often the items are improperly described and often NOT blacksmithing items listed in that category because it draws a lot of traffic. . . Pipe wrenches are NOT blacksmiths tongs!

The other facts ARE:

1) There is a finite number of old classic anvils.

2) Many of us think the old anvils are better than most or all of what is being made today.

3) Prices for these classics have been much lower than their value because even though there is a finite number there WERE millions manufactured.

4) Collector's values are different than user's value and I never attempt to advise on collector's prices as they have nothing to do with the real world. . . I probably know more collectors than anyone other than Richard Postman and neither one of us care to suggest collector's prices.

5) There are LOTS of repaired anvils out there and I have known a couple people to get stung. One fellow I know bought a number of painted anvils and ended up with several that were junk. One had soft plug welded 1" holes in the face and another had most of the top plate machined off and the step reground at an angle to try to make it look like it still had a step. . . So much of the face is missing it is soft and the angled step is VERY peculiar to work with. AND when a "collector's classic" has been repaired it is not longer collector quality.

Ocassionaly someone that has been in the business for a while will make the observation that for many of these nearly indestructable old tools we are mearly their caretakers for a short time, then they move on to someone else generation after generation. I always try to keep this in mind when I repair old tools and machinery.
   - guru - Friday, 08/12/05 12:37:08 EDT

thanks for the reply about welding with a press. i think i will try it just because.
ron60 vein mountain forge works.
i live in western north carolina
   - ron60 - Friday, 08/12/05 13:34:13 EDT

no problem. Good luck and have fun
   Ralph - Friday, 08/12/05 14:11:21 EDT

I got my Whisper Baby Monday and it's way better than a charcoal forge on the ground made out of landscaping bricks. I've used it for about an hour and a half every day sense I got it and yesterday and a little more today I have noticed a red residue on the piece of work and it makes it look a lot like it's red hot. What is this stuff and do I need to do anything about it?
   - Tyler Murch - Friday, 08/12/05 18:30:45 EDT

Tyler, that is just iron oxide. Basically the same as the black stuff but slightly different in composition. Iron has three oxidation states: FeO, Fe2O3, and Fe3O4. The red stuff is called Hematite and I think it is the Fe3O4. Too many years since college chemistry.....
   quenchcrack - Friday, 08/12/05 20:41:47 EDT

Rugg:The ones I built used fixed racks, the pig gets turned over 1/2 way through the cooking cycle. The burner gun and wood box is on the side, with an opening at the top to let the heat/smoke into the part where the food is, the chimney comes off the oposite side at the bottom, THERE IS NO NATURAL DRAFT. When the burner gun isn't running, it just fills up with smoke. The cooking temperature is quite low, which gives a good yield of cooked meat[less shrinkage].The thermostat is at the same hight as the rack with the meat on it. The wood is put in a sheetmetal box that slides out the back, ythe burner fires into this box from the front. The bottom of the cooking chamber is shaped like a shallow funnel, with a bucket under it to catch the grease. The pigs are cooked all day, this is not like a Pizza oven.
   Dave Boyer - Friday, 08/12/05 22:06:21 EDT

Rugg: A point I forgot to mention- When I built the largest one, I put 4 racks in it, they wanted to roast pigs 2 per rack 2 racks deep. The fat/juice/etc. from the top pig ran all over the one below it, they ended up NOT using the extra rack, and asked for 3 racks in the folowing 2 units that I built. Allso, the top of the cooking chamber gets a lot hotter than the bottom, which works to thier advantage with the potatoes and beans.
   Dave Boyer - Friday, 08/12/05 22:17:43 EDT

I'm making some stair railings and planning to drill into the wooden stairs and insert the balusters. If I weld the handrail to the balusters first then it seems tricky to lower the railing assembly into the holes without scratching up the wood. It seems I would need a helper for every two balusters so they could guide them into the holes controlling one baluster with each hand. On the other hand, if I drill the wood and put the balusters in, then weld the rail cap to the balusters, I would have to do a lot of welding and grinding in the house, or pull it out after it was tacked and then hope to install it afterwards again without scratching. How do others deal with this problem of protecting the existing stairways, etc.
   brian kennedy - Saturday, 08/13/05 01:35:51 EDT

Guru, I am 56 YOA My experience has been in the automotive end of rebuilding some ones mistakes (18yrs) I have worked metal in many ways from body work to fabrication I have a drafting back ground but work in law enforcement now. I found a Champion forge with blower in the back of an antique shop for 65.00 it is missing the egg (clinquer breaker)but for the most part it is all there. I am looking for a reasonable tire bender or the plans to make one have checked many ways on line but of no avail. Can any one out there help me I live in central Texas (about 25 miles from the geographical center, Brownwood/Early I have been off work for over a month with a wound problem on my leg and am getting bored. I am going to make the ultimate muzzle loader IE Cannon. I have already built a flintlock rifle and pistol. (My wife and I do living History, GGgrandfather Wyly was at the battle of San Jacinto. Any help is welcome Thank you

Bill McVean
   Wm. McVean - Saturday, 08/13/05 02:43:11 EDT

(Fustrated: If I'm am wrong here you are welcome to correct me.)

Wm. McVean:

On the clinker breaker likely you will have to build your own as it would be difficult for you to find a replacement from a junker one. Since you said 'egg' I will assume your tuyere (elbow assembly) has an open throat with perhaps handle holes front and back.

Some of those I recall seeing were a solid pyramid shape of likely cast iron with the edges knocked off. One flat surface was always up at the top. To clean out the clinkers and ashes the pyramid was rotated. If you think this is the way yours was, this is how I would replace it.

If the throat is 3” wide, obtain one each, mild steel, 2 1/2” length of 1/4” x 1 1/2”, 1 1/4”, 3/4” and 1/2” and two 2 1/2” lengths of 1/4” x 3/8”. Build a stack of 1 1/2”, 1 1/4”, the two 3/8” (leaving a 1/4” space in the middle), 3/4” and 1/2”. You should now have a stepped pyramid with a 1/4” hole in the center. Clamp together, weld the steps, build up the 1/2” surface a bit and knock off the corners. Likely the original handle was 3/8” round stock. Cut the appropriate length leaving about 1” out the back side of the tuyere and towards the front for a 90 degree angle about 6” long. Drill out the 1/4” square space to 3/8” round and insert the rod, tack welding it to where the 90 degree bend is in line with one of the flat surfaces. Unbolt the elbow below the forge and put in the new clinker/ash shaker.

As mild steel it won’t last forever, but should bring the forge back to being serviceable.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 08/13/05 05:29:48 EDT

Kindly let me know more about how to make various types of moulds for domestic and industrial usage, using the traditional blacksmithing technology. For example, moulds for block making,plastics and so on.

   gambo - Saturday, 08/13/05 08:21:26 EDT

I will appreciate your timely response

   - gambo - Saturday, 08/13/05 08:23:02 EDT

What weight is your two horn classic? I just looked at the photo. Thanks
   - nietzche - Saturday, 08/13/05 08:36:35 EDT

Brian Kennedy-- I would skip trying to have the balusters mortised down into each tread. Instead I would measure the stairway carefully, fabricate off-site a self-contained railing shaped in elevation like a trapezoid, with the bottom stringer just grazing the noses of the treads, with verticals going down from that stringer to sufficient mounting plates-- one every three treads, maybe-- and bolt those plates securely through the treads and into the carriages. If you must have the balusters going to each tread, then weld them in pairs to mounting plates and bolt those to the treads.
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 08/13/05 08:52:27 EDT

Brian-- I said trapezoid. I meant parallelogram. Sorry.
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 08/13/05 08:53:55 EDT

Ron60, where in WNC are you? I may know some knifemakers who use presses near where you live, and who might be amenable to you coming by for a look.
   Alan-L - Saturday, 08/13/05 09:16:50 EDT


Could you get a little more specific? How about an example of what you are referring to?
   - Tom H - Saturday, 08/13/05 09:22:27 EDT


Molds (American spelling) have more than one meaning. If a horseshoer draws a bar through a swage to get a race plate cross-section or a harness shoe cross-section, we call the finished, drawn bar a mold.

Ingot molds are for molten metal.

Mold steel for use in plastics is normally a high chromium, high nickel steel which is formed by hobbing or machining. This is beyond the scope of traditional hot forging.

Some research has been done on the making of early gun and rifle parts, and it was discovered that some of the smaller parts were hammered while hot into dies to give them a shape before filing. I suppose in a generic sense, these dies could be referred to as "molds" or "swages".
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 08/13/05 10:10:38 EDT

oktwodogs: On your propane forge legs, there was another method you might have used which doesn't involve welding on thin metal. Use pipe threaded on at least one end. Say it is 3/4" OD. Drill a 3/4" hole in the tank. Put a 3/4" electrical/conduit lock nut on the threads, thread pipe into tank a bit, put on a second 3/4" lock nut so the top is the nut is flush with the end of the nipple and then tighten the first nut you put on. This locks the leg to the tank rather securely. The Kao-wool should stop heat from going down into the leg, but you may want to stuff a bit of wadded up tissue into the leg just to act as a draft block. Generally three legs on something like this will be more stable than four if the floor surface isn't completely flat.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 08/13/05 11:44:29 EDT

Clinker breakers: Fot the lazy: Centaur Forge sells them to fit their forges. Not sure of the size.
   JLW - Saturday, 08/13/05 14:09:29 EDT

Where in the 'Quality' rating does the Volcan anvil fall. Near the bottom or in a hole below it? thanx for any info.
   Mani - Saturday, 08/13/05 14:14:29 EDT

Bill McVean,

As a LEO, you're in pretty good company here. A number of us here are, or were LEOs, myself included. Still am, in fact.

For the clinker breaker, ifit si the three-lobed one like Ken talks about, his method should work fine. If it is the egg-shaped one with the slot through it, that is more of a blast nozzle than a true clinker breaker, and you can just make a grate to fill the hole. Two or three 3/8" by 2" slots cut in a piece of heavy plate will work fine. Ash will pass through the slots, but you'll have to pick the clinkers out from time to time with a poker.

I'm not aware of any plans out there for tire benders, but a few people have made them. In essence, they are nothing more than three small wheels that force the flat bar into a curve. The two bottom idler wheels need to be adjustable for width, and the top driving wheel needs to be adjustable up and down on an axis between the two idler wheels.

Such a bender would allow you to bend rings in flat bar of reasonable size. If you need to bend rings from heavy bar, such as 1/2" by 2-1/2" or larger, you would probably want to have all three wheels driven. Coupling them by gears or chain would work. All that said, I make my rings, large and small, on the anvil with a hammer or around jigs. I just don't make enough of them to justify the effort to make a bender, and shipping a tire bender to the Virgin Islands would be prohibitively expensive.
   vicopper - Saturday, 08/13/05 14:15:36 EDT

thanks for your response to my post. i live in marion nc. which is 36 miles east of asheville just off interstate 40 our little town is called the gateway to the blue ridge mountains. i live in the gold mineing area they call vein mountain. thanks again and i sure would like to see a press in action
ron60 vein mountain forge works
   - ron60 - Saturday, 08/13/05 14:30:36 EDT

"Pipe wrenches are NOT blacksmiths tongs!" (Great Guru)

On the other claw, they are right useful for twisting heavy bar stock. But then, I am a barbarian! ;-)

Historic vs. Usefulness:

In the National Park Service there has actually been a debate as to whether the CCC era anvils should all be entered into the museum collections. I'm sure that Gen. Patton's ivory handled .45 is being preserved, but a lot of its contemporaries are still in service (in foreign units), or at least in use.

Then there's the question of rarities. If all of us had kept their '57 Chevies (or my '61 Impala) in excellent condition, how much lower would the prices be? (Actually, look at Cuba, where the old U.S. sedans are kept running on paperclips and faith.)

Perceived value also effects how an item is used. People don't generally fill Ming vases full of potting soil for lilies, but we might do the same with a pot from a contemporary potter, and future generations will roll their eyes at our foolishness.

"Value" is something I deal with every day at work, and argue with our budget and finance types at least once a week. The best method I have seen to deal with value, and price, and all the rest of the baggage is knowledge. The more you know, the more you can establish values; but in the end, the marketplace has the final word.

A really bad Triple-H day on the banks of the lower Potomac. Heat index will be/is over 100. I think I'll drill some more holes for the braces for the sleighs and forego the hot work.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org

   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 08/13/05 14:41:49 EDT

Mani: Per Anvils in America, Vulcan anvils (Illinois Iron and Bolt Company) were at the bottom of the larger U.S. anvil manufacturers. They were apparently never advertised in blacksmithing periodicals, but instead for uses such as garages, farmers and schools. They were often carried as the bottom line anvil of catalog companies, such as Sears and Monkey-Ward.

On overall quality, IMHO they are about equal to Fisher & Norris anvils. Same construction technique, but they were more blockly while F&N were the more classic, sleeker London-pattern shape. Of the two, I like my Fisher.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 08/13/05 15:11:22 EDT

Nietzche, I have the 75kg (167#). I find it just fine for a noodle-arm like me. I don't use anything over a 3# hammer. I paid $360 for it several years ago and I noticed the price is in the $500 range now. Don't wait forever to get one if you are so inclined.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 08/13/05 17:27:24 EDT

OK this is pobably a daft question and one that I think I know the answer to but I wnat to double check!

Flux! borax/anhydrous borax! Would this be the same flux that i buy for dipping my brazing rods into when I braze a joint on a car body over here in the uk?

I am thinking it is but wnated to double check first.

Cheers in advance,

   basher - Saturday, 08/13/05 18:58:46 EDT

Bill McVean: I think tht Wholesale tool has a bender, actually a ring roller, takes 1/4 inch flat steel, for about $60. wttool.com.
   JLW - Saturday, 08/13/05 20:30:16 EDT

Pete, I always dip my bare brazing rods in borax after heating the end. I think borax is cheaper than the proprietary fluxes that are sold at the welding supply places. If the latter are not borax, they are close to it. They come with brand names like Oxweld Brazo, etc., probably to make you think you're really getting something special.

One of my welding manuals from the UK, "Welding Craft Practice" say to use "a borax-type flux". The authors do not elaborate.

In horseshoeing school years ago, we were taught to forge-braze using borax as flux and a snippet of copper for the hard solder. It makes a good braze, although the copper melts at a much higher temperature than the brazing rods. Most brass rods for brazing are alloyed to melt at about 870-880 C., making them user friendly.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 08/13/05 20:51:43 EDT

Dave B - Thanks for your input on tapping heads. "not cheap to buy" is an understatement.

   Keith Anderson - Saturday, 08/13/05 21:00:47 EDT

Things have gone
all flukey on us.
Kill the "Hyihjouok"
Mr. Guru, please?

Thank you. :-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 08/13/05 21:55:11 EDT

I have a stupid question, but I am extremely confused. When tempering..do you quench the metal or let it cool slowly?
   Kuragari - Sunday, 08/14/05 02:30:35 EDT

Thanks for that Frank! :)

Will look at the name on my tub of flux when I go to the workshop later and see if there is any more info on it.

   basher - Sunday, 08/14/05 06:48:26 EDT

What is the best way to ship an anvil in the 150 pound range. I assume it goes by trucking company but does it need to be crated, palletised, or just tagged? Thanks....Bob.
   - bob beck - Sunday, 08/14/05 08:18:52 EDT

Ron, shoot me an email by clicking on my name. I may have a couple of leads for you.
   Alan-L - Sunday, 08/14/05 08:42:06 EDT

Be sure tempering is not confused with hardening. The "official" method on most tool steels it to heat to hardening temperature and then quench. The exact temperature depends on the particular alloy but most tool steels harden in the 1350-1500 F range. Some steels can be quenched in air but most (in my experience) are quenched in oil (special, non-flamable) or water. Some folks use salt water. Once the steel is fully hard, it is too brittle for most applications. (Ever put a file in a vise and hit the exposed end with a hammer? It breaks like glass.)

Therefore, it is necessare to "draw" or "temper" the steel. This reduces the hardness a bit but makes it much tougher and less likely to fracture under impact. The drawing or tempering temperature is much lower than the hardening temperature and, as above, varies with the alloy and the application but most are under 500F. On most tool steels, once the tempering temperature has been reached, the piece can be left to cool.

That being said, I have read of folks who heat steel to less than the "full hard" temperature and then quench, with no tempering stage at all. This yields a not-so-hard but still-tough-and-not-so-brittle piece. I have no personal experience with this method. Other folks can advise you on this.
   dschessher - Sunday, 08/14/05 09:04:21 EDT

Anvil Shipping: IF you have a FedEx Freight terminal near you they are the cheapest and easiest to deal with and deliver anywhere. Also check DHL. Being the new guys they provide a wider range of service than UPS.

Note that crated or palleted items ship for less than uncrated but the crating may cost you more than the savings. I would at LEAST put the anvil on a pallet and tie it down TIGHT with reinforced tape. Freight gets transfered numerous times and the pallet OR a fork liftable crate makes it much easier.
   - guru - Sunday, 08/14/05 10:01:31 EDT

Taping Heads: My Tapmatic with a capacity range of 3/8 to 5/8" cost $475 back in 1982 including shank and two collets. On the ONE day I used it I tapped 350 1/2-13 holes using ONE tap in about 4 hours. Drilling, taping, chamfering and setups were all done in ONE day. The tool paid for itself then and I have not yet had another use for it.

They are a production tool and as such usualy pay for themselves immediately. They are not a tool you buy for ocassional use unless you come across a used one cheap. The same operation can be done manually on most drill presses and milling machines. The ridgidity and perfect alignment will make a much better hole than tapping by hand and you are less likely to break taps.
   - guru - Sunday, 08/14/05 10:20:15 EDT

On tapping heads- If you are doing small holes Procunier makes a unit with a range of #6 (and below) to 1/4" at a reasonable price. In my opinion there's is far superior to the tapmatic types with the fixed torque clutch. Mine like the Guru's paid for itself on the first job but mine has been used almost everyday for the last ten years. It has had no problems at all.

If you don't want to spend the money for a real tap head think about one of the hand tappers which are very inexpensive. While you can do the same job in a drill press or mill you will waste an enormous amount of time changing things over. The hand tapper will provide easy allignment of the tap and the big crank handle makes it easy to use taps intended for machine tapping. Very quick, very easy, and best for us blacksmith's- very cheap.
   SGensh - Sunday, 08/14/05 10:35:51 EDT

Blacksmith made moulds or dies: gambo, sunken shapes are made by a variety of methods. In modern tool and die shops where accuracy is critical they are machined and hand finished "sculpted" in tool steel or cast iron (depending on the use).

In the blacksmith shop they are often "hot sunk" A master part is made by forging, machining, welding, carving. . in hardenable tool steel and a handle attached. This part is then hardened and tempered and then finely finished. Then the die block or mould steel is heated in the forge and the master part sunk into it. Unless the part is very small heavy sledges are used OR preferably a power hammer. After sinking the mould is then hand finished much as the master was using die grinders and small files (die sinking tools).

Depending on the shape of the part there may be a upper and lower die (closed dies) or just a bottom die (open faced die). In medium production of simple shapes the dies may be mild steel if mild steel is to be forged. In high production or where there is fine detail the dies will be made from tool steel. However, it is often more cost effective to make multiple mild steel dies from the master than to have the expense of the tool steel and its heat treatment.

Die making in the blacksmith shop is one of many specialized arts. Those that understand the process, are practiced AND have heavy enough equipment often make dies for all kinds of small short run jobs. But the key is having heavy enough equipment. For most items a 100 pound (45 kilo) power hammer is the minimum and a 300 pound (140 kilo) is best.
   - guru - Sunday, 08/14/05 10:43:38 EDT

A friend gave me a piece of 1/2" rd brass rod to use. I tried to work it cold-it broke apart. Put it in my gas forge-it started to melt quickly and still crumbled. Gave it less heat-same thing. What gives? PS It has been stored outdoors under high tensile lines-has this changed the molecular structure? Thanks
   Richard W - Sunday, 08/14/05 10:59:07 EDT

Richard W. There are beaucoup alloys of brass, and they behave differently, one from the other, in heat treating and forging capabilities. Most brasses are copper/zinc alloys in varying proportions, but there may be other metals present. One thing you might try is to anneal the brass by heating to about 1,000ºF and quenching in water. You then try to work it cold, but it may work-harden and need to be annealed again.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 08/14/05 11:35:07 EDT

Railing Option: On a similar job with pickets anchored in wood a friend of mine did it as follows.

1) Each picket was drilled for a pin in the end of the picket (1/2" in 3/4 square, 7/16 in 5/8 square). This was done in a lathe.

2) Pins were made from lag bolts to fit into the pickets.

3) The pins were installed into the wooden floor and treads.

4) The rail was slipped over the pins, each picket checked for length and shortened as needed. This required a helper, a grinder and two trial fits.

5) The pickets and pins were cross drilled and pined in place. The cross pins were lightly upset into shallow chamfers. Collars covered any gap or small missalignment at the floor.

NOTES: The pickets were cross drilled and chamfered in the shop so that all that needed drilling in the field was the pins. Collars were taped to every picket to be absolutely sure that none were missing (they cannot be installed after the railing is in place). An option to cross drilling and pinning could be small set screws in each picket.

Grinding and welding in-place: A lot of installers do this but it can be very tricky. Weld sputter burns everything AND sticks to glass. Grinding swarf imbeds in wood later showing as black stains on some kinds of wood. Grinding swarf welds to glass ruining the glass.

Thin plywood and sheet rock can be used to protect surfaces. Welding is best done by TIG or gas so that there is not a rain of sputter balls. Grinding should be kept at an absolute minimum. Filing takes longer but costs much less than possible damages. Assembly by riveting or bolting is MUCH less intrusive. Even top rails can be riveted by using a carefully fitted ship-lap joint and countersunk rivets (see our iForge demo on riveting).

The job above was done on finished oak floors above an entry that had polished black granite floors. . . the scary part was moving all the parts, tools and equipment over that finished floor. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 08/14/05 11:57:46 EDT

Anvil shipping: UPS Ground will take 150 pounds and below. Anvil's do not need to be crated, but there is a $5.00 extra surcharge if not. You can glue the shipping label to the top and then cover with clear tape.

Be aware though, with UPS the quote at www.ups.com will be lower than what the drop-off point will charge by 25% or so. It is their commission (surcharge) for printing out the label and collecting the charges. UPS also charges extra for delivery to a residence rather than a business and has a surcharge for some remote locations. I have been in the Post Office and seen the UPS driver drop off package there for USPS to complete delivery as apparently it is cheaper for them to pay USPS than deliver them themselves.

I use a fair number of banana boxes from a local supermarket. They are made from heavy-cardboard in two pieces, to where the top slips over the bottom. When together it provides a VERY strong box if you use nylon-reinforced strapping tape around the flaps for good measure. Assembled box size is 10" x 16" x 20", but height (10") can go up to about 16" or so. A lot of produce besides bananas are shipped in them and it is the standard packaging method for salvage groceries. Size is about right for anvils in the mid-100 pounds range.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 08/14/05 12:11:51 EDT

Forging brass: Richard, As Frank noted there are MANY brass alloys and they all require different handling. When hot forged brass must be carefully heated to just a few hundred degrees below the melting point. This is a very dull red in low light. I usualy heat with a torch or on the hearth of a gas forge, not in the forge. A torch is easiest to judge the heat.

Note that brass and copper conducts heat VERY quickly and should always be handled with tongs when forging.
   - guru - Sunday, 08/14/05 12:14:06 EDT

Flux/Borax: The brazing flux that you buy in the welding shop is mostly borax with, I beleive, some sal ammoniac added in. Plain borax works great for brazing and brazing flux works great for forge welding :)
   adam - Sunday, 08/14/05 12:26:43 EDT

P.S. on UPS. If you have a child looking for a well paying, secure career, mention UPS to them. Everything I have heard about them is they take good care of their people, pay very well and offer an excellent fringe benefits package. Have been told the best way to get hired is to work for them over the Christmas period as a temp., then as a part-timer, then full-time. UPS Ground drivers really do have to be able to lift 150 pounds. UPS recently purchased another freight hauler, Overnight, I believe, to compliment their services.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 08/14/05 12:31:57 EDT

Ken, thank you very much for the anvil info
   Mani - Sunday, 08/14/05 13:40:21 EDT

A few more thoughts on installing iron work in finished quarters:

As the Guru noted, finished floors are very vulnerable to damage from heavy or abrasive items. WhenI used to install heavy signs and displays above finished floors, I always layed a new floor before moving anything. 1/4" plywood is pretty cheap (conpared to repairing a marble or hardwood floor), and the seams can be closed with nothing but some duct tape. Custom fits can be accomplished in minutes using a jig saw, too. That 1/4" plywood will protect almost any floor from tools, iron, burns, spills and almost any other catastrophe for a few dollars. A layer of heavy padding paper under the plywood guarantees that no scuffing will happen, either. I figured it was the cheapest insurance I could get.

I did have insurance; a million dollars worth of liability coverage. Most shopping centers and convention halls required it to let you work on their premises. But care and planning avoids an unhappy customer, and that is MUCH better than having your insurance carrier pay them off.

Another point: When drilling masonry with a hammer drill, the dust goes all over everything, and may damage a number of things. Have a helper hold the nozzle of a shop vac next to the bit while drilling. A bit of cardboard and some more duct tape will make a custom nozzle that will fit completely around the bit, eliminating any stray dust.

I had all my installation power tools equipped with twist-lok electrical connectors, too. That eliminated the problem of tools coming unplugged at inconvenient times, and saved a tool from a long fall on a couple of occasions. It also made it real easy to gracefully decline to lend tools out. "Sorry, it has a custom connector that won't work with your outlets." (grin)
   vicopper - Sunday, 08/14/05 14:19:25 EDT


I understand FedEx hires people in tha L.A. area just to sit in the other seat so they can use the "carpool" lane. saves them more than the $11.50 they pay. Now there's a job! Anyone out there like to read A LOT?
   - GRANT - Sunday, 08/14/05 15:21:18 EDT

Would anyone reading this post possibly have back issues of ANVIL Magazine specifically the July, August, September & October 2001 issues?
I am looking to get a copy of the four part series that was printed in those issues on restoring post vises. The articles were written by: James R. Melchor and Peter M. Ross.


David southerncross972@msn.com
   David - Sunday, 08/14/05 16:21:00 EDT

David: Go to www.abana.org and then to their STORE. They have a fulfillment service which sells backissues and it looks like several of the issues you are seeking are there. Cost is $5.00 each plus S&H.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 08/14/05 17:43:11 EDT

David: Oops, after I hit the send button I noted it is ANVIL Magazine you seek and not The Anvil's Ring.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 08/14/05 17:46:49 EDT

thanks 4 the anvil shipping info. I had no idea UPS would take 150#'s.
   bob beck - Sunday, 08/14/05 19:41:38 EDT

Leg Vise Restoration. I have responded to David's request for the four articles. I admit to being addlepated about the early leg vises. I have collected all the ones in the articles from the 18th Century tenoned-mounting plate style through Peter Wright. On eBay, I found a small German one with the tenoned mounting plate (fishtail shaped) and 1 cm thick side plate enclosures which hide lower portion of the spring. The two plates are riveted to the fixed leg. Very nice.

I don't use the oldest vises except for show-and-tell. They probably deserve homes in worthy museums. Some day.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 08/14/05 20:51:50 EDT

The BS shop I school at has been given the job of restoring a wood frame steel wheeled farm wagon. We believe it to be made by IH maybe a #w75? Can some one give me a lead as to were I can find pictures and or information on this kind of wagon. We got the wagon in kit form with more parts than one four wheeled wagon can use.(9 wheels and 5 axles just dont add up for me)I think we have the IH wagon parts sorted out by how the iron axle parts are held to the wood center? Is there a way to get the camber out. The small end get tight befor the big end of the axle sleeves and hubs. Hope you can help.PS Mr. Turley at what temp. do you forge addlepate I have a large supply I need to reshape?
   chimp1 - Monday, 08/15/05 01:19:53 EDT

Camber in Wheels: Chimp, the dish or camber in the wheels is normal and means they are in relatively good condition. The axels are set so that the wheels are perpendicular to the ground at the bottom.

This is a specialty area that not many work in. I know one wheelwright in Virginia if you need a contact. I suspect there are books on some of the historical models.
   - guru - Monday, 08/15/05 06:59:34 EDT

.... wheels (above) ... not sure. . someone correct me if I am wrong.
   - guru - Monday, 08/15/05 08:08:32 EDT

Mani; I do not rate Vulcans and Fishers much the same; The vulcans I have owned and used have seemed to be softer faced than the Fishers; so much so that while I will still buy vulcans if I find one at a good price I will pass it on ASAP.

My primary forging anvil is a 515# fisher and I would like to pick up a smaller one for travelling with. (I camped with my forge last weekend and we had a baby in camp and I had to muffle my anvil quite a bit to "let sleeping babies lie".

Bob shipping anvils depends a lot on how far and if there are any oceans in the way...When I did my shop move I palleted everything and worked through a rigging service that put the load out for bid.

   Thomas P - Monday, 08/15/05 11:44:19 EDT

My year+ hydaulic press project made a lot of progress last weekend. I'm up to looking for a way mount dies it. Does eveyone know of some links that show photos of how other people have mounted dies? I'd like some kind of "quick change" settup so I don't have to have a set of wrenches dedicated to the press.
   Stephen G - Monday, 08/15/05 12:32:55 EDT

Chimp1: Contact Small Farmer's Journal, P.O. Box 1627, Sisters, OR 97759 (www.smallfarmersjournal.com). The publication is mostly on draft-animal farming, including equipment. Their bookstore has about eight books on various aspects of carriages and wagons, from picture books to building, to restoration to wheelwrighting.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 08/15/05 12:45:12 EDT

dave b, what do you think of a smoker where the fire box is on the bottom, the racks are arranged vertically. cant do a whole hog, but chicken, ribs, pork roasts would be ideal. the issue of the drippings: dont know if that would not be good for ribs, maybe add to flavor??? if the chimminy was tall enough, wouldnt that induce a draft?? thanks
   - rugg - Monday, 08/15/05 12:51:56 EDT

I have several Champion No. 400 blowers. I also have one that has the 400 over the intake hole but it isn't prefaced with the "No." in front of the 400. Can anyone help me with what the difference is? I purchsed it early this year at an auction, when I got it home and inspected more closely I realized that it was spotless inside the fan housing as if it had never been used. Any info would be much appreciated. Thanks.
   Jim Marsh - Monday, 08/15/05 13:12:29 EDT

Wanted: used power hammer 50-150# mechanical/pneumatic in Ontario, Canada area. Thanks, David
   David - Monday, 08/15/05 15:18:25 EDT

This question was posed to me on another forum and I had no idea (haven't messed with non-ferrous, myself).

this person is making a decorative cross-guard on a SLO (sword like objet). He wants to sandwich 1 layer of red copper between 2 layers of brass. Assuming that it is, say, 3- 1" by 6" pieces (.25" thick), what would be the most effective way to put them together? I suggested copper rivets, (he doesn't have a forge, just brazing tools), anyone have any better ideas?


btw, if someone like "frustrated" has come out of woodwork to complain about us giving advice . . . could mean we are doing something right.
   Escher - Monday, 08/15/05 15:53:51 EDT

HI Guys!

Another one for you all here! I recently aqquired a blower for my forge from the school of over engineering! It would appear this will well surpass my needs!

I was wondering if anyone can tell me about it from the model number etc. It is a Secomak blower with a model part number of 575/1 and the motor to run it is a Asea and it is a 240v (being in the uk!) with 0.55kw, 50hz and 2850r/min, the numbers on the motor I know to be speeds and the likes. When I start this thing up it sounds like a jet engine! However I need to remake the base as the cast item the lot was mounted on is broken in half so I was going to make something from square hollow section to mount it all on that would enable me to run other thyings from the motor like at some point in the future a belt grinder.

anyone give me any info on this item?

Thanks in advance.

   Basher - Monday, 08/15/05 16:01:42 EDT

Chimp1: As Ken said the Small Farmer's Journal is probably your best bet for finding someone who can help you. http://www.smallfarmersjournal.com/

You might also ask about your wagon at http://yesterdaystractor.com/

Some of those guys might know about wagons since iron wheel wagons overlap with the era that interests them. Try the "Implement Alley" discussion board as well as the International Harvester discussion.
   John Lowther - Monday, 08/15/05 17:05:44 EDT

Die Mounting: A simple FLAT surface with drilled and taped holes works. A "quick change" system requires precision machined parts so that pieces automaticaly align. For home built you want simple and easy. Something that is easy to make more dies for. On Bill Epps' power hammer he replaced a standard bottom die with a large plate that small dies could be bolted to on top, front (over the edge) and with a square shank.

An important thing to remember on any hammer or press is the high forces developed. You do not want anything to smap and let parts fly.
   - guru - Monday, 08/15/05 18:20:02 EDT

Easy Brass Laminations: I would go with soft solder. Carefully sweated together the seam would be almost invisible. This type of joint would be made something like a mokume' gane' billet with clean and polished pieces and solder foil. Gentle heating with a torch and the parts would be come one. If using copper and brass a small piece of actual mokume' gane' should not be too hard to do. The peices carefully clamped between a couple pieces of flat steel with a C-clamp (or two) could be heated with a propane torch until hiting the bonding point. The trick is making near net size so as not to need to heat a large piece and having the pieces absolutely clean.
   - guru - Monday, 08/15/05 18:27:11 EDT

Die mounting for quick attach.
This one does require a little precision machining. I used this system extensivly in applications to 25 tons, two shift 6 days a week for many years.
I made an adapter to screw into the cylinder rod. This adapter had a 1.00" hole drilled to a flat bottom. The 1.00" was a plus .005" tolerence. The tooling was a round shank, 0.990-0.005. A slip fit hole for a .375" dowel pin was put tangent to the OD of the adapter, with the centerline of the slip fit hole exactly tangent to the 1.00 hole od. A matching half round knotch is put in the tooling. A simple dowel pin is slipped in, and an O-ring is slide up the adapter to hold the dowel pin in place.
This allows a very fast, no tool change of dies. All my tooling was very hard, and the adapters were "as recieved" 4140.
I also scaled this design up for 50 tons, but do not remember the exact demensions. The tolerences could be quite loose if exact tooling location is required. I ran 6 of the 25 ton presses and they averaged 40 cycles an hour each. I never broke or replaced the adapters, but as the tooling was very hard O-1, I did break a few tools. This die retention replaced a simple set screw that did not retain the tooling when the tool stuck in the work, a regular occurance as these were swaging presses. The 50 ton design only ran about half as fast, cycle wise, but was in service a like time with like results.
   ptree - Monday, 08/15/05 18:51:13 EDT

your email addr. keeps kicking back as undeliverable i sent two email messages both were rejected. thanks very much for your intrest in my post ron60

"vein mountain forge works"
   ron60 - Monday, 08/15/05 19:39:18 EDT

Basher, don't stand too close to the intake........you could get a little behind in your orders...hehehehe
   quenchcrack - Monday, 08/15/05 20:11:06 EDT

"Basher, don't stand too close to the intake........you could get a little behind in your orders...hehehehe"

Thanks for that quenchcrack! LOL!

It does make sweeping the shop a little easier though!
   Basher - Monday, 08/15/05 20:15:45 EDT


I agree with the Guru that soft solder is probably the way to go for that project. I'd recommend the silver bearing soft solder, as it is less likely to turn black later. If the surfaces are shiny brite clean and fluxed with something like Nokorode™ flux, the soft solder should capillate in from the edges just fine.

If they want to try the mokumé gané, I'd recommend that they give serious thought to using nickel silver with the copper. The contrast will be better and the ductility match is actually a bit more workable. When you use metals that have too different a ductility rating, you run the risk of shearing at the bond when forging to develop the pattern.

I doubt that C-clamps will give enough pressure for diffusion bonding. Usually, a pair of heavy (3/4" or 1") stainless steel plates are used with enough 1/2" bolts to go around the perimeter on 2" centers. It takes clean metal, close fits and LOTS of pressure to get the diffusion bond to take at temperatures low enough to be on the safe side of melting. The higher the pressure, the lower the temperature can be. (At the extreme, you can achieve solid-state diffusion bonding at room temperature with enough pressure and no oxides present.)

For pieces the size you are talking about, it will take a pretty hefty propane torch, something on the order of a weed burner might do. A kiln is much better, though.

   vicopper - Monday, 08/15/05 20:51:58 EDT

I recently came by a piece of titanium (about 2" 0f
1 1/2 round bar). I am curious about the forging properties.
Has anyone had any luck forging titanium? Alloy unknown.
Thanks, Frank
   frank walters - Monday, 08/15/05 21:18:01 EDT

I would like to know if anyone could explain to me how to build a bellows from two oil drums. I saw a picture of one in an old Anvils Ring. One smaller barrel was inverted inside a larger 55 gallon drum which was filled with water.Any advise would Be much appreciated
   Rob Evans - Monday, 08/15/05 22:25:10 EDT

Rugg: I think You should ask around, and see if You can find someone who has built one like You describe. I built the ones I built because I was willing to take such a project, and the customer had a working design to follow, NOT because I know a lot about smokers. I do know that You need to keep the grease out of the fire to minimumize flareups, The ones I built used a blown burner from the heating industry, comercially built, but much like a blown gas forge. Not inducing convection draft keeps the wood smoking, and alows the thermostat to controll the heat. The customer did at one time try a verticle store bought thing, I think it dried the meat too much or something, The small ones like the catalogs sell seem to work.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 08/15/05 22:55:01 EDT

[ CSI - anvilfire MEMBERS Group | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]
Counter    Copyright © 2005 Jock Dempsey, www.anvilfire.com Cummulative_Arc GSC