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, 2006 on the Guru's Den
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   LARRY - Tuesday, 08/08/06 06:44:45 EDT

Larry, Some types of horseshoes have a a raised V edge to give them better grip. This made be for working with them (my best guess) - OR one of many special purposes that a blacksmith might have. Ocassionaly anvils were used as dies in machine operations under presses and drop hammers. Many reasons. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/08/06 08:35:47 EDT


Therre were a number of anvils made especially for sharpening plow lays. These anvils had an a portion of the face dropped at the horn end, though the ones I've seen were more nearly an angular shape, not curved. If worn enough, one of those might appear to be S-shaped, I suppose.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 08/08/06 09:24:47 EDT

Burns; If you catch a nasty burn it can be a very good idea to wrap the affected area in 'Cling Film' (not sure if its called the same in the states - this will stop dirt & infection getting into it & sticking to the blister, and ice etc can be applied to the outside of the film. (top tip from my paramedic mate!)
   - John N - Tuesday, 08/08/06 10:09:29 EDT

On burns I was at a Francis Whitaker demonstration where he made the specific point on testing a piece of stock for heat by using the back of the fingers. Apparently more sensitive than the inside and much quicker reaction time.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 08/08/06 16:36:44 EDT

I'm pretty sure "cling film" is what we call "Saran Wrap" on this side of the pond. That's probably a trademark, but I can't think of a generic term that's specific enough.
   Mike B - Tuesday, 08/08/06 17:32:15 EDT

Ken, I wonder if using the back of the fingers simply prevents the working part of the hand from getting burned. In other words, if I burn the back of my fingers I can continue working, if I burn the front I may not be able to use a hammer. Just a thought.
   Mike H - Tuesday, 08/08/06 18:53:04 EDT

I'm going to be working on a replica of the Zelda Master Sword for a customer, and I need to paint the guard blue. What kind of paint should I use? thanks in advance!

   - Rob - Tuesday, 08/08/06 18:55:32 EDT

Are there formulas, for figuring length when reducing stock? As in 1/2 drawn out to 3/8 etc?
   Thumper - Tuesday, 08/08/06 19:31:02 EDT

assuming the stock is going from sq to sq or round to round then the new length will be (1/2)^2 / (3/8)^2 x Old Length

If you are changing the cross section then the more general rule is

(area of starting X section)/ (area of final X section) x Old Length.

If the cross section is not constant, like drawing a taper then it gets more complicated and I prefer to forge the piece out of playdough and then roll the finished pc back up to the size of the starting stock to see how much is needed
   adam - Tuesday, 08/08/06 19:57:34 EDT

Thumper, just remember that volume does not change unless you have excessive scaling and oxidation. Use volume as a constant and work backwards.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/08/06 20:17:22 EDT

Paint on Metal: Rob, Everything depends on what kind of durability you need. Paint is always softer than the underlying metal so it chips off. If you can leave bright exposed metal edges and corners and paint a reduced area then you get chip resistance and color.

Idealy you would have a gold plated base with hard ceramic "enameling".

I recommend automotive primer and lacquers for general durability. Start with clean etched or sand blasted surface, use a bare metal primer and sand smooth, apply thin coats of top coat and fine sand (320 grit Wet-orDry) between coats. Sand next to last coat with 600 grit and polish the last coat with Dupont "orange" rubbing compound.

OR find a good hard blue plastic and make the guard from solid blue material. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/08/06 20:26:20 EDT

Rob since you are obviously going to be making the guard from cooked rice I would suggest food colouring.

Or to put it a different way, what paint you use will be based on what *you* are making it from, information you didn't provide...

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 08/08/06 20:27:27 EDT

Re "Back of finger or hand. When one gets a sharp stimulus from heat or electric shock, one sloses the hand. If you test with the palm side you reflexively move into the heat or electrical conductor and make the situation worse, until you can conciousle pull away. In the case of electrical shock, sometimes you cannot pull away. If you test with the back of the hand you are "Pushed Away" py your reflexes, and the damage is reduced.
   - John Odom - Tuesday, 08/08/06 20:32:22 EDT

Guru, if I got this right, don't reply. Using the volume idea, basically what you're saying is, know what the weight of the required length is in a particular size and figure from there?! I know it would work with the volume by liquid measure process, but dry #'s are mo-betta!!
Adam, you're way beyond me with the math (I bailed at algebra 101), but I like the play dough idea, on a similar note, I have a bunch of old lead coated electrical wire in various thicknesses that I use to figure length on wraps and simple bent iron shapes.
   Thumper - Tuesday, 08/08/06 21:50:54 EDT

Back of the hand: another advantage of that method is that a burn on the palm side of the hand will likely incapacitate you - with a burn on the back of the hand you can keep working (and burning yourself )
   adam - Tuesday, 08/08/06 23:27:06 EDT

Volume or Weight? Thumper, for the purpose of these calculations there is no difference. It is just easier to deal with volume as there is one less multiplier. It is time for you to get over your math fobia. This is child's play.

If you have a cube of steel 3" x 3" x 3" then you have 27 cubic inches. If you forge that cube into a 1" square bar your have a 27" long bar. If you forge it into a 1/2" square bar you have 108" length (4 times longer because the 1/2" area goes into the 1" four times - draw a diagram). Cube, bar, long bar, all the same volume ( x * y * z ).

Since the area of a circle is 78.5% of a square then a square forged to round will be 21.5% longer than the starting length. It helps to remember PI * r2 for area of the circle. So if you forge that 1" square bar into a 1/2" round instead of square bar calculate the square (108") and then multiple by 1.215 (121.5%). The answer is 131.22". That is how much 1/2" round bar you get out of a 3" cube. Round off to 130" for scale losses.

A cone or pyramid is 1/3 the volume of the round or square of the same dimensions. So if you need a 6" long taper to a point it requires 2" of bar. . . (1/3 the needed length). OR if you taper a bar of a given length to a point it will be three times longer.

We are talking about 5th grade mathematics. Simple multiplication and division that a child should be able to do in their head using round figures.

V = x1 * y1 * z1,

z2 = V / (x2 * y2)

That is why the basic educational requirement for machinists, plumbers, blacksmiths and tradesmen of all types was an 8th grade education. They were WAY over educated by that time but had proven they could do 5th grade math and were considered old enough to work for a living. By then they had some basic geometry and should have been able to calculate the area of a circle without looking it up in a book.

If you look in a good basic book on geometry OR Machinery's Handbook you will find the relationships between a rectangular prism and a pyramid and a cylinder, cone and sphere. This is all the volumetric mathematics needed by a blacksmith.

Cylinder or Prism, Cone or pyramid
1 : 1/3

This even works for a flat (rectangular) bar. However, if you are tapering a flat bar and keeping the width then the ratio is 1 : 1/2 or 2:1.

Cylinder, Cone, Parabaloid, Sphere
1 : 1/3 : 1/2 : 2/3

The amazing thing is that you can spend a lot of time using PI and square roots to solve for these. . . OR know that a cylinder is 78.5% of a given rectangular prism (PI * 1/22 = .785). Then divide by 3 for a cone and multiply that by 2 for a sphere.

There is more shop math you SHOULD know, like surface speed of drills, cutters and wheels, simple lever mechanics. . but the above is all the volumetrics you need.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/09/06 00:13:31 EDT

Jock - Is there a section of this site where the shop math like You just explaned for Thumper is shown? If not, it might be handy, if You ever got the time.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 08/09/06 00:36:56 EDT

I was just thinking about it. At the beginning of every class Uri Hofi goes over the taper 1:3 math with diagrams.

Currently the math section on our FAQ's page is a little less basic. It has an Oval layout article and calculator, Cones layout article, punching force chart and calculator, riviting force chart and links to our tool kit and Mass3j. All things that not so intuitive as ZYZ.

Sadly some topics get a LOT more traffic than others and get (need) more attention. The math stuff sees little use. Articles like our "Sword Making for Dummies" has been hit MANY more times in three years than our entire book review page in eight. Sixty six reviews representing nearly three years of labor getting less traffic than one article on Sword Making that took about two weeks to write (most of that time on the resources list).

And even with the high interest in the Swordmaking article the Resources page gets 1/5 the traffic of the main. . because it is a list of reading materials . . In general folks want the condensed web version and do not want to know about books that accurately cover subjects in depth. . .

Very sad.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/09/06 01:15:08 EDT

is there a program out there that will allow me to run test similations for smeting various metal togther and see what the out come would be before actualy doing the smelting?
   runir - Wednesday, 08/09/06 02:21:33 EDT

runir, You don't smelt metals together. You melt them together, and only if you've done some homework and know which metals are compatible. You're talking about alloying, I suppose. I know of no program to predict outcomes.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 08/09/06 08:27:48 EDT

Metals Programs: Runir, NO. The solution to this problem is akin to the universal "therory of everything" in physics. In fact it is probably a more difficult problem. Its solution will be one of the greatest technological breakthroughs ever.

There has been some progress in determinining specific properties of a limited range of material. However the range is very limited.

The only property that comes close to being right is density and that can be calculated using simple proportioning. I once wrote a program that would let you select any mixture of metals, give their percentage in the alloy and get a result. When compared to actual alloys it was almost as accurate as the limitations of accuracy of the measurement. Of course this was also limited by the accuracy of the measured densities of the metals involved.

This problem is very complicated because of the number of variables, number of properties, and lack of understanding why alloys do what they do in many cases. The variables start with over 20 metals, mixing two or more in an alloy and varying the proportions of each. This results in nearly infinite possibilities. Then from these infinite variables determining things like density, color, solubility, corrosion resistance, shear strength, tensil strength, ductility, thermal and electrical conductivity, coefficients of expansion, crystaline relationships and other. . .

IF such a program existed you could simply "ask" it (by running search sequences) for the best possible super conductor (IE cheap, ductile, room temperature). It might take some time to return an answer due to the number of possibilities but using AI logic methods of trimming search trees it should be possible to get an answer in a reasonable time. Of course determining the alloy and THEN determining how to make it are two different things. . .

In trying to determine the logic of such a program there was an international research project called the "Binary Metals Series". In this project scientists from all over the world made every possible mixture of two metals then measured their properties. The initial results have been published but the research continues. To complete this trial testing required making at least 227 * 100 (more or less - I may be wrong) samples and testing each. You an purchase the encylopedic reference from American Society of Metals International (ASM).
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/09/06 08:51:20 EDT

Even the metallurgists can't really predict the outcome of alloying, as far as the resultant material's properties go, anyway. It is still far more of an art than a science, I guess. There is certainly no program that will do your work for you. You have to do the work and check the results the old fashioned way, just like the professionals do.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 08/09/06 08:55:31 EDT

Great Science: As I mentioned this problem is akin to the Theory of Everything. Its solution is one of three great problems, Universal Alloying, the Theory of Everything and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Of the three AI is probably the simplest and most likely to be solved. Through AI the others may be found IF the AI machine trusts us with them. It is kind of like God and the fruit of knowledge. Having made that mistake once it may not happen again. . .

There are two possibilities to the solution of AI. One that it is a very complicated problem that may take teams of researchers to solve. OR the other is that it is a seemingly simple problem (as in "why didn't *I* think of that?) that will be solved by a genius, logical savant or by accident. After that our universe will not be the same.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/09/06 09:32:23 EDT

On the Road: I am off and away to the Kaynes today to see Grant Sarver's Induction Forge. I may even get to play with it. . . photos will be in the NEWS and on the Kaynes site.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/09/06 09:35:03 EDT

Sorry Thomas, it will be mild steel. He plans on using it, so it should be fairly durable. I'll talk with him and see what if we can leave the edges and corners exposed. Thanks!

   - Rob - Wednesday, 08/09/06 11:02:28 EDT

I have a post vise with 4.5in. jaws. I believe it is missing the thrust washer. It has one washer with a small ear on it, but that is all. Does it not need another to center the screw in the hole? If so, where can I obtain one? Any help woluld be greatly appreciated.
   Horseman - Wednesday, 08/09/06 11:35:32 EDT

I think that confusion of the words "Melt" and "Smelt" is one of the most widespread misnomer errors. I think it comes right next to the confusion of "prosecute" and "prostitute," which recently occurred an as attorney was interviewed by a local TV reporter. They are similar sounding but very different in meaning. Go to an OLD dictionary and look up the difference. Some new dictionaries and thesauri list them as synonyms! These new dictionaries are based on current ussage rather than traditional meanings. That means they accepot and legitimize errors. This process leads to a loss of richness and meaning in the language.
   - John Odom - Wednesday, 08/09/06 12:45:39 EDT

i am building a wrought door that hinges in the middle and on the side.(accordian style). any ideas where i can research this type of mechanism?

thanks in advance

   jamie - Wednesday, 08/09/06 13:15:00 EDT


I remember writing to the editor of a horseman's magazine when they used the word "shoed" as a past tense for nailing shoes on a horse's hooves. I told them that it was "shod". The editor gleefully and with a oneupmaship flair, wrote back that "shoed" was indeed a word. It was in the dictionary! So there!

Perhaps "shoed" IS in those new, non-caring dictionaries you mentioned. I remember using "shoed" in front of a customer when I was apprenticing as a farrier. Later, in private, my mentor told me not to use the word "shoed" anymore. He said that I had to learn to use good English, to say "shod".


I had a vise that needed a little lift on the screw head end. I made a washer and welded a collar inside of it, the collar made of flat stock bent on the flat. It extended to one side as a flange, and was flat on the other side.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 08/09/06 14:23:28 EDT

Then there are the old Reader's Digest chestnuts, about the difference between looking at her stern or sternly. And the guy who wasted a lot of time in the library before he learned the difference bBetween esoteric and erotic.
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 08/09/06 14:54:47 EDT

The picture break down of the post vise shows two washers. Mine only has one. I am assuming that the second one is beveled to tighten in the front half (nomenclature?)of the vise as it is tightened, to keep the jaws aligned both horizontally and vertically. not right? Are they avaible?
   Horseman - Wednesday, 08/09/06 15:01:55 EDT


If you check with MSC Direct, McMaster-Carr or Grainger, you can get spherical washers, as they're known, designed for just that purpose. They keep the thrust even as the screw-to-jaw angle changes with the opening of the vise. They're not expensive, and they save wear on the vise arms.

See this link for an example:

   vicopper - Wednesday, 08/09/06 15:57:18 EDT

vicopper: Thanks very much for the information. There is a Grainger Store about 15 mi. from me. I'll give them a call in the A.M.
   Horseman - Wednesday, 08/09/06 18:00:06 EDT

Guru, The math in my former career was applicable for the lilliputian world of jewelry. Outside of knowing the "Golden Mean", "PI" and a couple of other simple formulas for basic do it yourself projects, carat weight, karat content, conversion between wax and precious metal, etc, etc, etc, was about all of the math I needed. A lot of jewelry is by-guess-and-by-gosh eyeballing. Now, that I've moved up to "life-sized" work I can see I need more info. Unlike working with steel, one of the coolest things about jewelry was that if you were kowledgeable in basic chemistry, there was never any waste of material, clean it, refine it, reuse it. So, if you could recommend a book with a good source of necessary tables and conversion charts, I'd be much obliged.
   Thumper - Wednesday, 08/09/06 21:40:15 EDT


Jock often recommends, and appropriately so, "Machinery's Handbook." It has more than a thousand pages of information on all sorts of "life size" things from machine work to welding to engineering to forging. For straightforward info an things to do with metal, even the older versions are great. You can often get an older edition pretty cheap form Abebooks.com or similar vendors. I think I bought my 15th edition on eBay for about ten bucks.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 08/09/06 22:06:27 EDT

Thanks mucho! I'll get right on it!
   Thumper - Wednesday, 08/09/06 23:19:56 EDT

For what I want, would the year of publishing make any difference? I found one from the 40's at a good price and I figure the formulas should be the same .
   Thumper - Wednesday, 08/09/06 23:37:03 EDT

thumper: older is better for smithing.
   adam - Thursday, 08/10/06 00:04:24 EDT

Leg Vise Thrust Washers: Many old leg vises did not have a thrust washer. On late vises they had a pair of spherical thrust washers, one convex the other concave which provided a self aligning arangement as the angle of the outer jaw changed.

On my older vises that did not have a thrust washer I put at least three heavy duty flat washers on them. Lubricated with Never-Seize they made a very smooth bearing. Under use they dished out slightly but not much.

Large plain flat washers to fit a leg vise are about 1/8" (3mm) thick and are available from hardware and fastener suppliers. I think I used 1.25" which are about 3" OD. You could also make your own out of plate.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/10/06 09:02:30 EDT

Size and Math: While jeweler's work does not require mathematics of the same scale the cost of the materials involved may be the same (a small amount silver equal to a large amount of steel). OR a very small amount of gold. . If you were rolling sheet or wire as is common in the jewelery business then the simple mathematics of volume applies, especially when you convert that last pass of rolled square wire into round.

Over the years there have been many "handymans", "engineers", "tradesmans" handbooks and they were all lacking in some respect. Machinery's Handbook is the way to go. The mathematics section has changed little in nearly 100 years.

Two of the interesting things I learned from studying Machinery's were the volumetric shape proportions listed above (1 : 1/3 : 1/2 : 2/3) and something that was not in my High School Geometry book (or it was not impressed upon me how importnat it was), the law of sines (sine of a over a equals the sine of b over b equals the sine of c over c). This, a little algebra and the Pythagorean Theorem and you can solve almost all geometric problems. The law of sines is one of those "why things work" kind of things that is more important than all the bits derived from it that are difficult to memorize. It is a TOOL that is used to solve for other formulas.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/10/06 09:23:53 EDT

Old timey leg vise washers. I think I posted this before, but on close inspection, a lot of the old washers were forge welded stock bent on edge using pi x mean-diameter formula. I've done it. It's fun, and it'll test your mettle.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 08/10/06 09:44:15 EDT

Accordian Door Hinges: Jamie, there is little to research. Hinges are hinges. Just be sure you put them where the door can move the way you want it to without interference. Hinge cneters must normaly be set on or above the plane of the door to be able to rotate 180°. On accordian arrangements that means on opposite sides.

A simple sketch will let you know what you want.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/10/06 10:13:11 EDT

Mr Guru....

Can you point me in the direction of a new or good used spring for my 30# Kerrihard Hammer? The spring I have isn't the correct one and it's cracked. Even if I could find the specs it would be a step in the right direction.


Joe Macri
Macri's Ironman Forge
Mercer, Pa.
   Joe Macri - Thursday, 08/10/06 11:56:54 EDT

Kerrihard Spring: Joe, You are going to have to find another Kerihard and measure the spring. You need; wire diameter, coil diameter, number of turns, end type (tapered or blunt). The overall length is also needed but old used springs will have lost some of their length. I would add about 10 to 15% to an old relaxed spring.

A little research will find you a small spring manufacturer. I found one in Tennessee but that was 20 years ago. He quoted me $125 for a 50# Little Giant spring. A custom spring of this type from a small shop will run $150 to $300.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/10/06 14:35:13 EDT

Induction Forge Report: From the Kayne and Son Western North Carolina blacksmiths meet last night.

Grant's quote of Arthur C. Clark "that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" hits the mark dead on.

It is magic.

I expected the machine to make noise like my buzz box at a dead short. You know that noise. But there was no noise. The only sound was the slight coolant pump sound and the beeping countdown when in operation.

Heats were not instantaneous but they were VERY fast. Short heats for a butt weld or basket twist fagot weld took only 10 to 15 seconds. Longer heats with more mass took more time but were still under a minute. Heats are so fast that the "advantage" of having numerous billets heating in a gas forge is not much of an advantage if any at all.

Induction Forge Heating 5 bars

One of the amazing feats demonstrated by Steve Kayne was forge welding a Renaissance or basket twist. He started with 5 pieces of rusted (crusty with rust) 1/4" round. He heated them for about 10 seconds, let the heat soak for a few seconds then heated again for about 5 seconds to come up to welding heat and made the weld.

Induction Forge Welding Heat
There was no noise. No fidling with a forge. No checking over and over for the right heat. No fluxing. No waste heat in the shop. Just heat exactly where you need it and a weld made in seconds. Magic. . .

More in the late August edition of the NEWS.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/10/06 14:43:50 EDT

See page 2 of the current NEWS (Edition 40) for more about the Induction Forge.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/10/06 15:25:33 EDT

Most jewelry shops only have one or two ingot sizes (even adjustable ingot molds have their limitations), that plus the fact the ingot needs to be big enough to be handled, means there was always extra material when drawing out gold, by example, say the job needed 10mm of 1/2mm wire, you'd usually have at least 4-6" of 1mm square made up before drawing to round. The volume equation was always the same, "More is Better". Anyhow, an older edition of "Machinery's Handbook" is winging it's way merrily to my doorstep as we speak. Look foward to unveiling it's secrets!!!
   Thumper - Thursday, 08/10/06 18:23:47 EDT

I have a 40's Machinery's that was a gift from my dad many years ago. It is a jewel. The one thing that was a bit of a problem for me was the indexing. The first thought for me was seldom how the info was indexed. I kinda got intrigued, and stared exploreing in the book. I would just look in the index and pick a random subject, then turn to that. After a year or so, I got pretty good at finding the info I need.
   ptree - Thursday, 08/10/06 19:51:47 EDT

Induction heating rusty bar.
All the big forge shops I have been in, store the bar in the weather. The heaters don't seem to care. The shears do seem to care, and a bit of water added to the top of the bar through a bearing oiler brush improves shear blade life and reduces the dobb off on the ends nicely.
   ptree - Thursday, 08/10/06 19:54:58 EDT

Induction Forge looks ideal. Mikey Likes It!
   - Burnt Forge - Thursday, 08/10/06 20:18:38 EDT

How much are these little induction furnaces? Where do you purchase one? Thanks
   - Burnt Forge - Thursday, 08/10/06 20:29:01 EDT

forge airflow: My forge consists of a piece of flat steel plate surrounded by furnace bricks (from an industrial/smelting furnace supplier) with a T-type tuyere welded on the bottom. I have a large centrifical blower which I starve to regulate airflow. The main 'fire pot' is about 30cm square by around 10cm deep. The steel plate had 9 x 8mm holes for an air-inlet. I could forge weld OK by getting the fire really hot then backing off the airflow for the final heat. It seemed to me that I had to back off to get good welds - I assumed this produced a reducing flame.
I recently rebuilt the forge and enlarged the holes out to aroung 15mm, figuring if I could move the same volume of air at lower velocity, it might be fully used up by the top of the pile. Essentially I wanted to be able to maintain a welding-heat fire for a long period, that wasn't quite as oxidising as before.
Now it seems my fire doesn't get nearly as hot. If I increase the airflow, it just blows cold spots in my fire. If I reduce airflow, I just have a cool fire - hot enough for general work, but not welding. I've spent time looking for a suitable point in between, but just can't get it.
Is the overall size of the air-inlet a crucial design feature? Is there any advice on how to make my fire reach welding temp again? I know people don't like holes because they block up, but I've never had this problem.
Oh yeah, I burn coke and use borax for flux.
   andrew - Thursday, 08/10/06 20:36:00 EDT

I am just wondering if you know anything about " Swedish Fire Steel"? Where it is made and the composition?
   TB - Thursday, 08/10/06 22:11:38 EDT

If the price isn't displayed, you don't want to know :>)
   - Tyler Murch - Thursday, 08/10/06 22:48:52 EDT

The OCP Induction Forge is currently priced at $3,695.00 USD. Blacksmiths Depot is the sole distributor. I do not know if that includes everything ready to run. I know it comes with a couple useful coils and after that you make your own (or modify the originals).

Making coils is pretty easy, A length of soft copper tubing and two compression fittings. . . Many that the Kaynes were using were reduced to about 3/16" copper tube so that the coil spacing could be closer together for smaller more intense heats. The larging the spacing the "softer" or more spread out the heat. The farther away from the work the same. So if you want fast controlled welding heats you use slightly smaller diameter tube to get a dense magnetic field.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/10/06 23:05:01 EDT

Forge air Flow: Holes make too much restriction. You want a large opening so that there is a soft breeze blowing on the fire. See our brakedrum forge "grates".
   - guru - Thursday, 08/10/06 23:06:32 EDT


Thanks for the info on the Induction Forge. Sadly not in my price range, though sounds reasonable and benefical to a production forge shop.
   - Burnt Forge - Thursday, 08/10/06 23:10:31 EDT

Swedish Fire Steel,
I have heard of them,
As I understand they are the same thing as whats in a Bic Lighter, But a larger scale. Intended to be scraped with a knife or similar. Sometimes fitted to a small handle, Or into the side of a magnesium block. Far as what its made of ??. I heard the term "ferroceramic" to describe it.
Here is an example of What I known as a Swedish Fire steel.
   - Håkan - Friday, 08/11/06 00:33:58 EDT

Fire Steel, I have one of what Håkan points to above. Even though it is called a "steel" it is not steel. Steve Kayne gave me mine years ago and it was called a "metal match". It is basicaly a big piece of the substance used for lighter "flints" and its technical namer is "ferrocerium" an iron/cerium/magnesium alloy. Actually I am not sure it is a true alloy but compacted powdered metal.

"A ferro rod is a complex blend of 20 different metals fashioned together into a rod. Ferro rods are a complex blend - they consist of 20% iron - this is where the ferro part of the word ferrocerium comes from - (Fe), with trace amounts of other elements such as zinc (Zn), magnesium (Mg), cerium - this is where the cerium part of the word ferrocerium comes from - (Ce), lanthanum (La), neodymium (Nd) along with minute traces amounts of other rare earth elements."

Mischmetal is a naturaly occuring mixture or rare earth metals and is the is the base ingrediant for "Ferrocerium". Mischmetal is also used as an additive in making nodular iron.

The Swedish army DOES issue a "ferro" rod as part of survival gear. Thus perhaps the term "Swedish Fire Steel"

   - guru - Friday, 08/11/06 07:54:54 EDT

How it Works (Ferrocerium) The rare earth series metals, particularly cerium, have a very low ignition temperature (around 400°F 200°C). When pieces are scraped off heat is generated and the pieces ignite. Compare this to flint and steel where the steel chip must be near 3000°F to ignite. Much less force is needed using Ferrocerium.

There are two ways to use Ferrocerium to make a fire. Strike sparks into tinder, cotton or charcloth as in using flint and steel. OR carefully scrape a small pile of the Ferrocerium on the tinder then with a fast scrape send sparks into the pile of ferrocerium dust. The very hot "poof" of burning metal will set almost anything flamable on fire. This is a good method when your tinfer is damp.

Note that the "iron" in Ferrocerium is iron oxide. Due to its very low ignition temperature Ferrocerium also oxidizes rapidly under normal conditions. If you examine lighter flints you will note that they are painted to prevent heavy corrosion.

Ferrocerium was developed by the Austrian scientist and inventort Carl Auer von Welsbach in 1907. So your "Zippo" lighter was a 20th century invention. In 1890 he developed the gas mantel that is still used today and also the metal filiment light bulb.
   - guru - Friday, 08/11/06 11:11:03 EDT

I didnt know about these things till now - here they are $5 ea - thanks!

   adam - Friday, 08/11/06 14:56:22 EDT

Why not just get a spark lighter for a torch, put a piece of mouse nest in the cup, give 'er a coupla squeezes, blow on it a little, and git 'er done?
   3dogs - Friday, 08/11/06 15:46:22 EDT

That'll work too. So you've got mice nesting in your welding equipment? Actually the problem is size/shape durability and number of strikes. Most "Metal Matches" claim 10,000 to over 20,000 fires. . . I KNOW welding strikers are down in the hundreds. I guess it depends on how long you are in a survival situation.

The other interesting firestarted is the "fire tube". It has a telescoping tube that compresses an air fuel mix causing it to ignite. The char-cloth or tinder is put inside the tube and when you pop it open you have a nice glowing tinder to roll out onto your kindling. Apparently these are common in the Southeast Asian jungles and have been made of hardwood.

Both work where matches may have gotten wet and will fail. The metal match is more dependable as it can be struck with your knife OR a sharp rock and does not require anything else other than fuel for the fire.
   - guru - Friday, 08/11/06 16:45:25 EDT

I've seen fire tubes of bamboo. John Odom
   - John Odom - Friday, 08/11/06 16:57:44 EDT

   hofi - Friday, 08/11/06 17:37:44 EDT

"Steel Match"
OK. Mr Hofi,
I always thought vigourously striking cold steel on an anvil is a terrible Blacksmith sin, a guaranteed path to eternal damnation. Only if its believed in of course...

Next topic,,
Fire Piston. I made one of them in HighSchool of a brass tube and stainlessteel piston, It was beautiful, fancy geometric scrollwork on the body,(I sure miss owning a lathe,,,)that Could not make it work for a long time until I realised the mass of the piston would rob too much heat out of the bit of charcloth, So I changed the tinder holder from a cup to a tiny wire clip to hold the tinder away from the heatsink.
   - Håkan - Friday, 08/11/06 21:40:14 EDT

We have been looking for a zinc rich paint to be used in a dip tank for ornamental ironwork. Most of what we find is a two dip process, primer then topcoat. Is there a one dip process that combines both of these operations? We would be willing to either buy the product or make it ourselves? If we need to make our own, what would be the best formula? Thank you.
   Mike - Friday, 08/11/06 21:51:39 EDT

striking 1/4" steel for 10 seconds is not vigorous
   - Tyler Murch - Friday, 08/11/06 22:42:14 EDT


The zinc-rich paint that I use is Lanco GalvaCon™, a 90% zinc paint. A quart of it weighs about the same as a gallon of regular primer. It is intended for spray, brush or roller application, though. I've never tried to use it by dipping, but I think there would be a problem.

The problem you'll have with that zinc-rich a paint in a dip tank is that the solids (the zinc) tend to settle out fairly rapidly. You would need constant, vigorous agitation to keep all that heavy metal in suspension, I would think. I'm sure it could be done, but it would take some experimenting. It might also be prone to filling detail on horizontal sufraces if you didn't have air jets to wash the detail and crevices. It *does* do a fine job of rust inhibiting, though.
   vicopper - Friday, 08/11/06 22:42:38 EDT

About hitting a small piece of steel resulting in friction heat, I'm told that a few of the Japanese bladesmiths use this method to start their forge fire in the morning. It is said to be a small ritual. The piece of iron is double struck or triple struck until it turns red, and a bundle of rice straw is lit to start the charcoal fire.

In this same regard, I have also heard it said, "Don't strike while the iron is hot; strike UNTIL the iron gets hot."
   Frank Turley - Friday, 08/11/06 22:54:36 EDT

Striking 'till the iron is hot: In a discussion about this across the street, some folks there mentioned a few people who they had seen do it. It was mentioned that keeping the material off the anvil between hits helps, much like in Hakan's fire piston. Tyler - You have to wail on it vigorously to get it hot enough to start the fire.
   Dave Boyer - Saturday, 08/12/06 00:53:05 EDT

in the reneisance era 450 years ago they did not like to see the ''hammer marks'' no textuer what so ever.they did it with young children that where working for a piece of bread and with small polished hammer the forged iron by the master was polished.Tday allso in the air hammer era the machine is used to textuer the steel coled and no one goes up there because of this .in the industry for instance all the bolt and screws are forged COLD and only after that normalised and quenched.
   hofi - Saturday, 08/12/06 02:22:11 EDT

sorry ''cold''iron
   hofi - Saturday, 08/12/06 06:36:07 EDT

Thought I heard someplace that is how some famed Japanese swordmarkers start their fires. They very rapidly hit the end of a wire or such until it gets hot enough to ignite rice straw.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 08/12/06 07:04:09 EDT

"Zinc Rich" and Cold Galvanize: Mike, you need to be aware of industry terms when looking for a zinc rich paint. In the paint industry "zinc rich" means ANY zinc compound including zinc oxide (white pigment). Many advertise various zinc compounds as helping prevent rust but they are no more chemicaly active in this respect than the pigments in the top coat. Cold galvanizing paint which is what I recommend, and VIcopper listed a brand of, is a paint where most of the solids are metalic zinc powder (not a zinc compounds). This is the next best thing to actual galvanizing as the zinc will electrolyticaly interfer with rusting where the finish is scratched. So called "zinc rich" paints do not do this.

Most metal primers are designed to be chemically neutral. This is because chemical pigments in the paint MAY react with the base metal. This is rarely a problem but it DOES occur so primers are a seperate coating. It can also happen over time so testing is difficult.

Metal primers are also generally soft so that they act as a cushion to changes from expansion and contraction. Being less brittle they help at corners where cracking is likely to occur when the brittle top coat shrinks.

Primers also can be self etching but these are special primers. Primers for wood are a totaly different thing having large solids that help seal the surface of the wood rather than being absorbed.

I would go to an industrial paint supplier and see what they recommend but it sounds like you have already done that.
   - guru - Saturday, 08/12/06 09:40:11 EDT


Well, I knew it was going to happen.....It was inevitable....The spring on my Kerrihard Hammer introduced itself to the floor of my shop in two pieces. I'm asking my fellow readers for help in locating a new spring or if someone out there has one they could get some measurements off of, I would really appreciate it. This old spring is not the right one and I'm pretty sure it was too weak. SOmeone at some point heated this one and made the ends smaller to fit in the spring sockets. This apparently failed because then they tried to weld the spring in two places and it looks like they even tried to weld the spring into the sockets....and this machine came out blacksmith's shop??? My Dad always said that there were two things most farmers didn't know how to use, welders and oil cans. LOL


   skullcase - Saturday, 08/12/06 09:47:30 EDT

Joe Skullcase, your question was answered right after the first time you posted. You may also try Sid Sudemeyer at www.littlegiant.com. He sells new springs for Little Giant hammers, and the Kerrihard spring ought to be close. Sid also knows a heck of a lot about hammers in general, so he may point you in another direction.
   Alan-L - Saturday, 08/12/06 10:04:26 EDT

Cold working is not a sin. It has it's place in industry and the blacksmith's shop too. but i'll tell you what if i found somebody vigoursly hammering cold steel on my anvil i'll be comitting major sin against them.
   - mike - Saturday, 08/12/06 10:14:21 EDT

Cold Working: The Bradley Power Hammer literature has a section on cold working to improve surface smoothness. Some dies actually are made with hot and cold impressions for finishing.

But power hammers and planishing aside it IS bad economy to try to hand forge cold metal. A little heat makes the metal move much faster and is the point of being a blacksmith.
   - guru - Saturday, 08/12/06 10:30:23 EDT

On cold forging this is a company in Mayalsia. Example of some cold forged items.

   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 08/12/06 11:16:18 EDT

Alan L.

Thanks but I've already talked to Sid. He is on the lookout as well. He used to be able to get them. I guess the question is; what is the correct length, coil diameter, wire diameter, and rate? I can't ask someone to make me a new spring when I don't know what I need in the first place. Make sense? There are thousands of different die springs available and I suppose I could start buying what "might" work but I thought it would be easier to find someone who actually has one.

   skullcase - Saturday, 08/12/06 12:27:07 EDT

hard surfaceing on a rail road rail to make an anvil?
   Christopher - Saturday, 08/12/06 13:06:40 EDT

this is just getting on my nerves. Hitting 1/4" steel for 10 seconds is not vigorous. Even though you have to hit it vigorously it's still 1/4" steel, and it's still 10 seconds.
   - Tyler Murch - Saturday, 08/12/06 13:36:10 EDT

Christopher, RR-rail is sufficiently high enough carbon to be hardened very hard. No hard facing is necessary.

Not that RR-rail is only suitable for a VERY SMALL anvil. The lack of material in the center makes rail very flexible and springy for its total weight. See our iForge article on tools made from RR-rail.
   - guru - Saturday, 08/12/06 13:37:57 EDT

Tyler, I suspect he meant VERY rapidly. . . you can't just slug away and get sufficient heat.
   - guru - Saturday, 08/12/06 13:39:16 EDT

Probably, guru. There is a difference.
   - Tyler Murch - Saturday, 08/12/06 13:48:54 EDT

Hole sizes in heated steel: We're having a discussion about whether holes always increase in size or whether they in some situations may decrease when heating steel or iron.

Take for example a 2 cm thick sheet about 30 cm square with a 1 cm diameter hole in the middle. If you heat the whole piece evenly, the size of the sheet increases, and the diameter of the hole increases in the same proportion. So far we are in agreement (and I hope you are, too :).

Disagreement is about what happens when you heat only the area around the hole. It would have to be a piece of material that doesn't crack and if possible doesn't bend up (like a thin sheet would), and you'd heat the area around the hole only, so that the outside stays cool (at least cooler than the area around the hole). I'd love to make this experiment, but I don't have any of the equipment necessary (and I'm not a blacksmith :).

Can you guys give us a definitve answer whether it is possible that a hole in metal decreases in diameter when heating it up, given the right circumstances?

Thanks a lot.
   Gerhard - Saturday, 08/12/06 14:35:46 EDT

no one is forging cold!
do not take it to ithe extrim .it started as a game ''who can lit a cigaret with an iron match'' ?
still to day i europ the do it to show they forge right and use the hammer and the anvil right
it is a game do not turn it to a religion!!
   hofi - Saturday, 08/12/06 16:26:01 EDT

I've tried cold forging 1/4" for fun (warms your arm up in a hurry as well), but when it gets to a dark blue it splinters. How do you get past this into a red heat?
   Mike H - Saturday, 08/12/06 17:37:45 EDT

Joe Skullcase
I have a large collection of somewhat used die springs, and will be at Quad State. If you will be there I can bring one of every size I have, which is about 25 sizes. Any rough idea of the size needed?
   ptree - Saturday, 08/12/06 19:55:40 EDT

Joe & ptree: Perhaps you can send broken spring to ptree and see if he can match something up for you.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 08/12/06 20:27:56 EDT

I'm looking for advice on forging with coke. I can get
metalurgical coke from Hickman-Williams locally, but some
some references I find say to use nut coke and some say
to use breeze coke. The HW products are 1 1/2" x 3/4"
and 1/4" x 0 mesh respectively. What is a good size to
use ?

Lastly, how deep should the firepot be for a coke forge ?

Thanks for the help.
   glowell - Saturday, 08/12/06 20:32:53 EDT

Mike H,

The "secret" to getting the 1/4" to a kindling heat (note: this in a good bit less than a red heat, less even than a black heat) is to use a light hammer and hit it just enough to deform the surface very slightly, but not enough to be actually forging it down much at all. The light hammer and super rapid blows are imparting enough energy to transform to heat, but not enough to penetrate the steel deeply enough to cause separation from shearing. You need to hit it *as rapidly as is humanly possible*, and it will really warm up your wrist and arm in the 10-15 seconds it takes to get it to heat. I use a small riveting hammer that weighs about 6 ounces (or less) when I do it. I don't do it often, because that rapid hammering routine, which Tyler says is not "vigorous", will surely wreak havoc with your wrist joint if you do it much. Mostly, I just use a cheap Chinese butane lighter for my smokes; much less vigorous/energetic/lively/brisk/rapid. (grin)
   vicopper - Saturday, 08/12/06 20:59:40 EDT

Gerhard: In a material like steel that is a poor conducter of heat the hole should close up when only the area around it is heated, as the rest of the large plate will confine the expanding material, and since the hole is the only place for it to go, it should become a little smaller. This is theory, as I have not done the test, but if You want to try, I suggest drilling a hole that will allow a ball bearing ball to drop through with verry little clearance, then heat the area surrounding the hole to red hot with an Oxy Acetylene torch. See if the ball still drops through.
   Dave Boyer - Saturday, 08/12/06 22:15:12 EDT

Hellow Guru i guess, i am 15 years old and am thinking about having a carear in the blacksmithing industry. I am in my second year in my metals class in high school so i do have experance in blacksmithing. When it comes down to blacksmithing i am all about the project that i am working on. Do you think that i should persue the carear in blacksmithing? And if so what are the benifits? (sp)
Ryan Gray
   Ryan Gray - Saturday, 08/12/06 23:33:44 EDT

I agree with Dave: for a small hole when you heat just the surrounding area the metal swells into the hole. A trick like this can be used to shrink out a bulge in a plate. But if you heat the whole plate at once its going to depend on the balance of the forces from all the plate. The size of the hole, the shape of the plate and the position of the hole in the plate all come into play. In some cases the hole might distort to oval growing on one axis and shrinking on another or even become D shaped if its near an edge. Predicting this from first principles is big math. I imagine that someone who has experience with heating pieces of a particular size and shape could win some money off the guys who think they can predict what will happen by standing around and arguing about it :)
   adam - Saturday, 08/12/06 23:36:17 EDT

Hi,I am looking for the process of making Coke.There is alot of info on the need and use but how is it made from the coal fire.do you have to use a particuler type of coal or any will due.Great web page Thank you!
   Ernie B - Sunday, 08/13/06 10:16:23 EDT

Hole in a plate: The hole will shrink, when the area around it is heated and the plate as a whole is kept cooler. I actually tested this once, using the ball bearing and close fitting hole method.

The same principle is used to shrink a spot in sheet metal.
   - John Odom - Sunday, 08/13/06 10:18:03 EDT

I recently picked up a military issue forge blower at a yard sale. Amazingly simple piece of equiptment,cast iron gear housing, die struck fan housing, no seals, washers or bearings and with a little elbow grease and some WD40, it runs like new!! Anyone know where I can look up the GI# (G10FM), to find out what war it's from?
   Thumper - Sunday, 08/13/06 11:03:26 EDT

Coke Making: Ernie, Yes you must have a good grade of coal to start. Generally hard anthracite coals do not coke but probably can be coked industrialy. Soft bituminous grades coke naturally.

Coking is simply the heating of the coal to drive out the volatiles similar to making charcoal. Both occur in open fires and both can be done in a container with a vent for the gasses (a retort). In a blacksmiths coal fire the coking occurs in a ring just outside the burning part of the fire. The coking zone can extend out and up aproximately 3" to 6" (75 to 150mm) or more depending on how hot the fire.

As coke is generated fresh coal is added to the edges of coking zone and the whole worked toward the center of fire. During the life of a coal fire its character changes from fresh coal to a mix of fresh and coke to having too much coke and being too spread out to having clinkers clog the fire to a fire that glows white but has insufficient BTU's to produce work. .

When the smith is going to take a break fresh coal is sometimes piled on top of the fire and the air stopped so that the residual heat will coke the coal on top of the fire. Under certain conditions this works well but the fire must still be teneded as a naturaly occuring draft in the fire can reduce the whole to ash This includes air sucked in through a blower and through the tuyeer. This tends to occur less with bellows which have check valves or air systems with an inline valve.

The best way to learn all this is just to "do it" and be observant. Every batch of coal may act differently and every forge has it own character. An experianced smith recognizes these differences quickly and works as if every forge is his own.
   - guru - Sunday, 08/13/06 11:27:06 EDT

Ryan Gray, go for it. I did and I'm planning on starting a business soon. It's good to see the younger people interested in blacksmithing, isn't it? Start early, get a head start! I started getting interested in it at 14, so I had an early start too. Again, go for it!
   - Rob - Sunday, 08/13/06 14:50:08 EDT

Hi. My question is, is there any where I can look for the history of portable forges? I would like pictorial history of forges from the oldest ones thru the newist ones. Like when did blowers replace bellow etc. Thank you very much
   George Magsig - Sunday, 08/13/06 17:20:08 EDT

im interested in doing some hobbie work i took some 3/8 square stock and a oxy torch and tisted it and i got hooked i've been reading books and researching stuff befor i jump into anything i can make i forge but i need an anvil i have acses to all kinds of steel at work i was thiinking about type s tool steel for the face of my anvil and what ever for the body if anyone has any sugestions ive combed your archives and found thousands of posts but i just cant read that fast
   Christopher - Sunday, 08/13/06 18:16:00 EDT

oh yea im kinda poor so money is an option
   Christopher - Sunday, 08/13/06 18:19:57 EDT

Chris a heavy block of steel, 100# or more, with a 3" sq work surface would make a great anvil. S7 makes a terrific anvil but mild steel will work well too - in fact for starters its preferable since you are going to hit it with your hammer until you get dialed in.
   adam - Sunday, 08/13/06 19:53:14 EDT

Ken Scharabok. Good idea on Skullcases spring.
Joe e-mailed me the size of his defunct spring, and I measured. I have one that is somewhat close,but would need to be shortened, squared and ground if it will fit.
   ptree - Sunday, 08/13/06 20:24:19 EDT

Benefits of a Blacksmithing Career:

Well. . I hate to say it but there are very few. The work is hard, you will never get rich from your own labor or art (in ANY art, craft, industry).

The majority of smiths are self employed entrepreneurs. That means doing everything from design and manufacturing to sales and bookkeeping (the part I am lousy at). Besides being a starving artist you are also usualy an under capitalized business competing in a world market as well as against well equiped hobbiests. .

Due to costs most self employed artist/craftfolk do not have health insurance, life insurance or retirement plans. Those that do usualy have them through a spouse's employment situation.

SO, for there to be any benefits you must LOVE to work with your hands and make things, you must dislike working for others enough to go it on your own AND you must be willing to work very hard to just make a decent living.

Also note that most of this field is what is known as "artistic ironwork" and the smiths "artist blacksmiths". Many that are attracted to the business are not artists and often complain that they cannot draw. . . Welll. . PLAN to learn, PLAN to study art and drafting. These are skills of the craft as are any other including the mathematics we discussed (above) a few days ago.

There is also a lot to learn about being self employed. Accountants will bury you in taxes unless you understand the difference between capital equipment and small tools and that raw materials on the shelf should NOT be listed as inventory. Self employed artist/craftsfolk are a very special business that do not fit most standard accounting packages or business models.

To make a carreer out of smithing is a LOT more than pounding on hot iron.
   - guru - Sunday, 08/13/06 21:13:35 EDT

Historic forges: I'd start with the Shire book on Egyptian Metalworking tools, look into the nice depictions of greek ones shown on their ceramics; look at the roman examples from tombstones, and slide toward the medieval period---several medieval ones are shown in "Cathedral Forge and Waterwheel"

For large industrial type forges in the renaissance De Re Metallica is the source due to the massive number of woodcuts in it. Also look at the various examples of "Venus at the Forge of Vulcan" a popular subject for oil paintings at one point, Don't forget Goya's "the Forgers" either.

Moving forward there is Mechanicks Exercises by Moxon giving early 18th century examples and Diderot's encyclopedia for late 18th century

For late 19th century Practical Blacksmithing by Richardson

Just the easily found surface sources

in haste, Thomas
   Thomas P - Sunday, 08/13/06 21:34:32 EDT

History of the Portable Forge: George, You will find that as you research technology that its history is VERY poorly documented. There are no books on the history of the forge, vise or drill press. Only as recently as 1998 did Richard Postman write Anvils in America which while VERY good in a long way from a definitive history of the anvil.

The interesting thing about forges is that like many basic tools virtualy EVERY type throughout history has been concurently used and is still in use today. I was recently sent a photo of a couple Africans using pot-bellows and a fire pit with wood. In India they use localy made hand crank blowers in charcoal pit forges lined with clay and cow dung. In the Philippines, Japan and China they use box bellows that have been around for hundreds, MAYBE thousands of years. Western blacksmiths have become intrested in the box bellows so now you find them world wide.

In general the portable cast iron forge and blower were industrial products that became available about the time of the US Civil War (1860's). They are still in common use even though the American manufacturers stoped producing them in the 19060's. The last big batches manufactured for bomb shelter ventilation. As soon as electricity became available motorized blowers came into use. However, at the height of the village blacksmith shop at the beginning of the 20th century bellows were still popular and just as available a product as hand crank and electric blowers.

Today hand crank blowers are made in England and India in small quantities. Also note that almost every culture had portable forge equipment. Some included the fire box, others just the bellows and tuyeers. While a fire pit is not portable a new one can be dug out almost anywhere in a few minutes.

AND not only do we have charcoal, coal, oil and gas forges but now we have Electric Induction Forges. This new tool (in small shop scale) like the others before it will never totaly replace the others.

If you want to get picky about exact dates and variousa design changes you will need to go to the US, British, French and German patent offices and dig through 150 year old patents. . . then write that book!
   - guru - Sunday, 08/13/06 21:45:57 EDT

Getting Started on the Cheap: Christopher, Usually right after the " im kinda poor so money is (NOT) an option" statement comes, "and I do not have transportation". . .

To both of those I say, get a job.

The MOST important and LEAST expensive thing you can spend money on is some education. See our Getting Started article for a list of books. The primary one is only about $12 NEW. And most are available from the Library or used. However the two you should own are:

The Art of Blacksmithing, by Alex Bealer
Machinery's Handbook, by Industrial press.

The pair should cost you less than $30 and are worth hundreds in text books. Although there are better "how-to" books than The Art of Blacksmithing it describes every process and has drawings of every tool AND is cheap. Knowing what tools to look for are required before scrounging for cheap tools.

Start with educating yourself THEN you will know what kind of tools to look for and what makes suitable substitutions. See our Getting Started article for more.

   - guru - Sunday, 08/13/06 21:57:18 EDT

Hello, I am seeking expertise on a recently purchased anvil, it was listed as a 131lb. Columbian, my question is about the markings...one side has the triangle with the 'C' inside which from what I understand makes it a Columbian for sure, however the other side has a 'P' with a smaller 'z' to the upper left, any idea anbout these markings? Any help is appreciated. Jeff
   Jeff Stelter - Sunday, 08/13/06 22:09:31 EDT

I'm a mechanic and have had a recent fire. Most of my tools are discolored to totally black. Is there any treatment or procedure that I can do to restore there shine or just prevent heavy rusting? Also, by the coloration of the tool can I estimate how much of there strength has been degradated?

Thank you Walt Patterson (fpatterson@peoplepc.com). I have a spam blocker so be patient when you answer
   Walter Patterson - Monday, 08/14/06 10:24:00 EDT

Hi, I'm completely new to metal working and last night I tried to make my first batch of anhydrous borax. I used a 56 oz. Pyrex dish to bake in and put the borax into the oven for 450 degrees Farenheit, one hour and thirty minutes.
I guessed on what would be reasonable for the time and temperature for that amount of borax (I didn't have a 9"x14" casserole dish to hold the whole box like the posted recipe recommended) and when it finished baking I let it cool overnight. The next morning I woke to find that the top layer had turned into a hard crust, below that crust was softer but not as smooth in texture as before and the overall appearance was the same as when it went into the oven.
So now the question: Based on what I described did I dry out the borax effectively or was it suppoosed to change color and become something else completely?

Any help will be appreciated,
Aspiring toolmaker
   Sean B. - Monday, 08/14/06 11:17:02 EDT

One more question, is this anvil a good deal or an ASO?
   Sean B. - Monday, 08/14/06 11:50:03 EDT

Sean B: Sure looks like a cast iron or semi-steel-type Asian import. If top is hard it may also be brittle. Listed in an odd category like the seller didn't want it noticed by anyone who is familiar with anvils. Also note the 1 1/8" hardy hole size. Most of the tools you are going to find have a 1" shaft, so you either need to built up the shaft or use a shim. No pritchel/punching hole. I would rate it an ASO worth about listing price if shipping were free.

Ask the seller for their Zip Code. Then go to www.ups.com and do a rate calculation from there to you on 110-lb. Difference between that and what the Shipping Calculator in the listing gives is the seller's handling charge.

Ask the seller if he will give an absolute money back guarantee on it (including two-way shipping). Tell them you intend to hit the top fairly hard with the ball end of a large ballpeen hammer (as if you missed the stock using a 2.5 lb hammer). If it dimples you are returning it. Suspect you will not receive an answer or an indignient one of how dare you question their description.

I think I have a copy of an e-mail response the leading eBay seller of the Russian ASO sent to a prospective buyer asking questions. Said he had found buyers who ask too many questions turn out to be poor buyers so he put them on his blocked bidder list.

If you need a cheap, temporary, anvil go to one of the Harbor Freight retail outlets. They have the 110-lb Russian import for around $80. Same one sold on eBay for about double the price.

eBay now allows members to put guides or reviews on eBay. If you go to the category for Collectibles/Tools, Hardware & Locks/Tools/Blacksmithing you will find one I put there on Purchasing an Anvil. Comments on it are welcome.

Look locally. Place wanted ads in local small town newspapers to the effect: Wanted: Blacksmithing anvil and tools. XXX-XXXX. Still lots of older, but high-quality, anvils in garages, barns and outbuildings.

Just a sweeping generality on anvils. If the manufacturer was proud enough of it to put their name on it, likely it was a higher-quality anvil.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 08/14/06 12:29:13 EDT

Sean B: You baked the borox when all you needed to do is dehydrate it. I dehydrate 20-Mule Team borax (see below) using 250 degrees. When the crust/contents turns hard I break it up in a 5-gallon plastic barrel using the top of a sledge, then bake again. When it no longer crusts or clumps it is dehydrated. Be sure to store in an air-tight container. Some plastic ones may not seal properly and will allow in moisture. I have not seen anhydrous borax, but it should come out the same color as when you started.

Bob Zeller, an old timer in SW Ohio and one of the founders of SOF&A, gave me the recipe of three parts 20-Mule Team borax, two parts common baking soda and one part common table salt. Mix and dehydrate. Folks I have sold some to seem quite pleased with it.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 08/14/06 12:37:17 EDT

Racking the failing brain, but outside of Francis Whitaker, I do not recall meeting a single blacksmith who started out as a youth with that being their intended profession. Mostly they just fell into the area either full or part-time. Lots of very good blacksmiths did it as a hobby when working, then more so when they retired. Folks like Nol Putnam started out as a school teacher, with perhaps a degree in fine arts, and started making arts & craft show items to have some income during the summer. He is now regarded as one of the leading blacksmiths in the U.S. with one item of his work in the National Cathderal in Washington, DC. Others are essentially artist (and Albert Pailey and Tom Joyce comes to mind) who choose metal as their medium. A noticeable number of very good blacksmiths started out as farriers.

Name may not be exact: University of Illinois in Cardondale is highly spoken of as a good leaning experience for prospective ornamental ironworkers.

One aspect Guru didn't mention is the increasing available of finished elements from factories which very closely resemble hand-forged in texture and appearance. Somewhat means even lesser ability smiths can turn out professional looking work in less time. Thus, additional competition.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 08/14/06 12:48:58 EDT

Sean, That ebay anvil is a typical Chinese import pattern and that are usualy cast-iron. Besides being possible junk metal it is also a junk shape. Stay away.

Borax does not need to be dehydrated it is just more convienient for some to use it that way. I use it right out of the box.

Borax melts at a relatively low temperature and if you overheat it melts into a clear liquid that hardens into a glass like mass that is impossible to get out out of glass and ceramic containers and must be ground up to use it.

   - guru - Monday, 08/14/06 14:03:38 EDT

Overheated Tools: Walter, It will be difficult to tell but I suspect your tools may be ruined.

All wrenches and sockets are heat treated (hardened ad then tempered). Overheating them tempers the steel further making it soft. Some wrenches MAY be OK depending on how hot they got and how they were cooled. Those that might have been quenched by water from the firedepartment may be brittle as glass if they were at a red heat when quenched.

Tools with more critical parts such as springs, or the spring bar of a torque wrench, the blued spring steel of a ring compressor are all now scrap iron.

If your tools were good quality chrome plated tools the black is most likely soot or half burnt oil deposits. This should be able to be removed mechanicaly (wire brush).
   - guru - Monday, 08/14/06 14:13:09 EDT

fire blackened tools. If you just rub them with some light machine oil (non detergent) the oil and firescale will inhibit further rust. You can take the scale off by picking in muriatic acid/vinegar/sulph acid or you can do it by electrolysis which is preferable since it wont pit the underlying steel. Then you will have nekkid steel which you can buff up if you want them shiny.

As for hardness: A broad rule is this: If the tool is HSS (high speed steel) the hardness is likely still intact. If the tool is carbon steel then it has been softened and will need to be heat treated again. Heat treating carbon steel tools is something you can do easily in your own garage with a torch and bucket of oil. But you need to study up on it a bit (we can help) and you need to practice some on tools that you dont mind ruining. For starters take a fine file and draw it lightly across the working edge of the tool. If the file skates its still hard. If the file feels like its trying to grab then it's lost its hardness.

All this advice on heat treat is for someone who doesnt mind experimenting and messing up - if you just want to get on with your work and be absolutely sure you have the right stuff, either buy new tools or take them to a shop that does heat treating.

We here make many of our own tools and heat treat them. I have scavenged a lot of machinist tools from the landfill after the fire here in Los Alamos and restored some of them - the rest are rusting in buckets in my back yard :)
   adam - Monday, 08/14/06 14:24:52 EDT

PS my advice is to follow guru's advice over mine :) we seem to have posted simultaneously.
   adam - Monday, 08/14/06 14:27:52 EDT

Hello, I was wanting to get a metal that is as close to Wrought Iron as available today, and I was wondering if C1006 would be close. If not, I was wondering if someone could post the composition of wrought iron or a link to where I can find it? Also how much would should a 17th edition of Machinery's Handbook cost?
   - Boogerman - Monday, 08/14/06 15:50:31 EDT

Quad-State 06 has announced demonstrators:

Friday evening: Striking demonstration with Tsur Sadan (Israel), Amit Har-lel (Israel) & Tom Clark.

Saturday & Sunday:

Knifemaking - Andra Drapier (Riverton, WY)
Comteporary Critters, Wizard & Decorative Elements - Bill Epps (Mesquite TX)
Heavy Forging, Same as Friday evening.

They seem to have dropped the separate Beginning Blacksmithing demonstrator in favor of an open demonstration area with one hour demosntrations by participants.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 08/14/06 17:10:21 EDT

howdy,newbee here, i was wondering how to clean up my gas forge of anhydrous borax,been playing around trying to forge weld and the residue is like melted glass when cold and when hot boogers up my forge projects,forge is completely lined with ceramic brick,thanks
   clark-kentski - Monday, 08/14/06 17:57:10 EDT

hey you can get the russian cas steel anvils shipped to your door from harbor freight sans shipping if you dont have a local store.
i think they ship free after 55$ spent which should be covered by the cost of the anvil (havnt bought anything online since my local store opened up so this info may be outta date)

   Mike.Kruzan - Monday, 08/14/06 18:28:37 EDT

Thank you all.
   - kip - Monday, 08/14/06 18:50:03 EDT

Dear Sir:
I recently found a small anvil while cleaning out my fathers barn. It has Peter Wright Patent on the side of it and the number 0 3 2 with the letter D under the patent name. Is there any way to tell the age of the anvil? If you can be of some assistance or tell me where to look, I would be grateful. Thank you for your time.

Gary Crabtree
   Gary Crabtree - Monday, 08/14/06 19:09:11 EDT


Tom Joyce started out in smithery by becoming interested as a young teenager. He set his sights on blacksmithing, and that is what he became, largely self taught.

Al Paley was doing jewelry (metalsmithing), and then devoted his energy to ironwork at a fairly young age.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 08/14/06 20:14:19 EDT

Gary Crabtree. Reference is Anvils in America by Richard Postman. Sold in the Anvilfire store. Assuming the D you see isn't actuall a circle with SOLID WROUGHT arced within it, your anvil likely dates 1852-1860. A D could be anything. Numbers indicate it originally weighed 86 pounds using the British stone weight system.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 08/14/06 20:23:25 EDT

Hi, is there any way to forge those long thin hammers used to hit railroad spikes into the railroad , into a more useable hammer?
im looking for more of a cutlers style , or japanese style hammer
   Cameron - Monday, 08/14/06 21:06:55 EDT

"Wrought Iron is best described as a two component metal consisting of high purity iron and iron silicate---a particular type of glass like slag" from "Wrought Iron, Its Manufacture, Characteristics and Applications"

So it's a composite material asking for it's composotion will tell you about as much as that fiberglass is made from glass and epoxy *not* how it's put together at all.

The Real Wrought Iron Co, LTD has a website with more information; but *NOTHING* is really like wrought iron except wrought iron.

If you want some stuff to play around with that is very soft under the hammer like WI is at the correct forging temp then you will probably want a very low carbon very low alloy steel---but it's not wrought iron

Cameron, Yes you can reforge a spike hammer down but you would have probably been better off just forging raw stock into the proper shape.

   Thomas P - Monday, 08/14/06 21:57:43 EDT

Note: Age in anvils; anvils are not usually considered "old" until they get to be about 200 years old---I have a William Foster from 1828 that I paid $5 for in poor condition and still use in the shop.

   Thomas P - Monday, 08/14/06 21:59:39 EDT

Lets see now; Isaac Doss had been a blacksmith in Berryville AR for over 60 years when I met him back in the '80's and I have met a 5th generation smith in Stroud OK, both folks who had careers as smiths.

Now I don't know many folks who started out as "artist blacksmiths"; though I'll admit I never discussed it with the german smiths working in that field. Always more interested in *what* they were doing rather than how they got there---though one working at an open air museum did tell me he had learned english as a POW...

I never got around to asking Emmert Studebaker about how he got into smithing; Ken do you know?

   Thomas P - Monday, 08/14/06 22:07:54 EDT

hey guys, I'm working on a gas forge right now and have the better part of it assembled, right now though I need to install the kaowool and I had some questions about that..
What do you cut kaowool with?
How do I 'glue' the kaowool in place so it's not collapsing the entire time?
   Logan - Monday, 08/14/06 22:14:07 EDT

Thank you all for your help, now I can get an anvil AND dehydrate borax! Thanks again!
   Sean B. - Tuesday, 08/15/06 03:00:14 EDT


All of the Studebakers in the U.S. can be traced back to two brothers and a cousin who immigrated from Germany. Fuzzy on story but one of the earliest generations (John) was a blackmsith. May have been one of the mentioned brothers. The log blacksmith shop at the Studebaker Homestead in Tipp City is his actual shop relocated from PA as I recall. Believe he mainly built wagons for people heading west. At some point the Studebakers moved from PA to South Bend, IN and evolved from wagons to automobiles. During WW-II they converted to military production and really never recovered back to a vehicle manufacturer.

When Emmert had the blacksmith shop and some family cabins moved to the homestead Larry Wood worked for him in the plant and Bob Zeller was a good friend. Bob had an old timey blacksmith shop near New Carlisle. One of those blacksmith shops turned vehicle repair and/or machine shop ones, but it still had the original forge and line shaft driven equipment. As I recall the story Bob had the only lathe in the Dayton, Oh area capable of handing very long drive shafts (mostly from buses).

My understanding is Emmert wanted it to remain a functional blacksmith shop, rather than more of a museum, so the three of them started using the forge.

Don't know how he found out about it but Emmert was one of the handfull of attendees in Lumpkin, GA at which ABANA was formed. Event, I believe, was organized by Alex Bealer. That association, coupled with Larry & Bob, lead to the founding of the Southern Ohio Forge and Anvil Chapter of ABANA.

Again vague on story but at one time there was a blacksmithing group in northern (northwest?) Ohio which dissolved. Emmert wanted to continue/promote blackmsithing so he arranged for Francis Whitaker to come to the Studebaker Homestead (on the grounds of a fairly large precision machinery manufacturing plant - Process Equipment Company, Tipp City). The name of Quad-State was chosen as it was intended to represent an annual get-together for OH, IN, KY & MI(?). Emmert hosted the first several of them. At some point SOF&A took over hosting it at the Studebaker facility. When it outgrew the facilities there it was moved to a permanent home at the Miami County Fairgrounds in Troy. While there were original misgivings about using the fairgrounds it has worked out extremely well. While SOF&A paid the full cost of the shop building it belongs to the fairgrounds. In that manner it is covered under the fairground's general insurance coverage. Only side requirement of the fairgrounds is for the shop to be in use (demonstrations) during the Miami County Fair.

Emmert was a strong supporter of ABANA and many of the early board meetings were held at Tipp City. (Story here I've heard: During one Dorothy Steilger had brought along one of her babies. During the meeting the baby started to fuss so Dorothy breast-fed it at the conference table. Somewhat took Emmert aback.)

Long-winded say to say Emmert had blacksmithing in his family line.

Catch Larry Wood at Quad-State. He can fill in details.

Both Emmert and Bob have passed on. Far as I know Larry Gindlesperger still uses the shop on a regular basis and the (every five year) family reunion of Studebakers may still be held there. Bob's shop was sold to someone who blacksmiths on the side so it has remained essentially intact.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 08/15/06 08:04:43 EDT

Logan: I cut ceramic wool just using a serrated-edge steak knife. If you have a round chamber you won't need any support other than pressure. If a flat-topped you might be better off going with ceramic board rather than wool.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 08/15/06 08:06:48 EDT

Gary Crabtree: E-mail me (just click on name) and provide a mailing address. I'll make and send you a copy of the pages out of Anvils in America which may help you better determine the age of your PW. From what you said I'm fairly certain of the 1852-1860 date though.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 08/15/06 08:20:47 EDT


Thanks for posting that information about Emmert and the others. Those anecdotal histories are about all that we have concerning many who have done so much for this craft, and it would be a real shame if they were to get lost with the pasage of time and people.

It would be good if those who have such histories could write them up so they could be collected n a page here at Anvilfire. After all, that's a good bit of what we're all here for, isn't it?
   vicopper - Tuesday, 08/15/06 08:32:52 EDT

Removing Flux from Gas Forge: Clark, Short of relining it you are in trouble. At least you are using a hard lined forge. Soft refractories are melted (eaten) by borax flux.

Once used in a forge you are stuck with it. In operations where large quantities of flux is used folks have been known to have a drain in the forge and let it run out the bottom of the forge when liquid. This would clog with hardened flux and need to be cleared ocassionaly.

You can apply various refractory materials to help absorb the flux but it will continue to wick to the surface. Granulated Bentonite (cat litter), vermiculite or grog (ground refractory brick).

Most cures should be applied after scraping as much flux off as possible. This is easiest done hot. Cold, you can use a power wire brush on a die grinder but should wear a filter mask.

To prevent this mess many people use a stainless steel pan in the bottom of the forge. The stainless still burns up but does protect the floor of the forge while it lasts.

Good luck!
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/15/06 09:22:17 EDT

Wrought Iron: See Thomas P's description. Although nothing else has the fibrous nature of wrought pure iron comes close to working like wrought in some respects.

The current US distributor for pure iron is The Wagner Companies, www.pureironsource.com. However, what the inventory is only 20mm square bar.

Several others have been in the pure iron business and failed due to lack of range of sizes. The last distributor HAD 10 tons of 1/4" round when they quit the bsuiness. And another that sold sold very very low carbon (.005%) died with most of 10 tons of 1/4" thick bar and plate on his hands. If all this inventory was collected it would be a good start on good supply.

You can purcahsed used wrought. I had a call the other day from someone trying to head off a large wrought iron structure from going to scrap. . . and I had another call with someone that has 10 tons for sale. . . But like the two cases above they all want to move the entire load in one sale.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/15/06 09:38:49 EDT

Cutting Kaowool: A variety of tools work but be warned that the aluminum oxide in it is also the same thing in much grinding grit and will wreck the tools used. Utility knives (AKA "box cutters") with replaceable blades are the most economical and actually last a long time. But scissors work very well. Just don't use good ones that you expect to cut anything else with!
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/15/06 09:45:46 EDT

Converting Spike Hammer to Japanese Sledge: Cameron, Just torch off one side. . . Dress the face to suit.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/15/06 10:08:23 EDT

Thank's Ken, Emmert was a real "old school" gentleman, my wife was lucky enough to meet him several times when he was still going about with his twin hearing aids, canes and the golf cart. I still have a piece of "no kink" chain he gave me after talking to me about my chainmail shirt.

One of my favorite Quad-State memories was at the Studebaker Homestead: it was 11pm at night and as I'm in my sleeping bag I hear *4* power hammers running: a 25# LG going bing bing bing, a 50# LG going bang bang bang, the 100# LG going whomp whomp whomp and an air hammer going unhhhhhh bat unhhhhhh bat unhhhhhh bat.

The "new" site is great though I miss the flavour of the Homestead.

I'm still planning to be at QS this year---on Thursday!

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 08/15/06 10:58:59 EDT

I am trying to roll a cone, using .063 or .080 aluminum.
The blank is 7/8ths of a 9" circle with a 2" hole. Can I do it on a slip roller? Or is there a tapered tool for my anvil?
Thank you!
   Lin Emery - Tuesday, 08/15/06 11:06:56 EDT

Thomas: I believe you are talking about 'the night of the sculpture'. Unlike the current site beer drinking (within reason) was OK at the SH events. On one Saturday evening (I believe) a group of guys got together and decided to make a sculpture, with each doing one aspect of it independent of the others. I know Jack Blubaker was one. Dave McDonald another. Seems like five or so others. Dave then took the pieces home and brought them back the next day assembled in half a section of log split in half for a base. I was given the sculpture (as the event coordinator) and have it in my living room to date. Ahhh, those were the days my friend.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 08/15/06 11:24:32 EDT

Cones: Lin, Standard small slip rolls will make tapered cylinders if they have taper ability but this short steep of cone requires special sheet metal cone rolls.

For this type thing a brake works well. A series of gentle bends all pointing to the center of the cone does the job well and is easy to layout. Various rigs can be used on arbor presses, vises and other press tools.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/15/06 11:44:47 EDT

Ken, was that the one you showed to my brother (John) and myself during breakfast at CSI's hammerin ? I think a pic should be posted. :) very cool.
   daveb - Tuesday, 08/15/06 12:47:51 EDT

Cutting Kaowool:

I have always used razor blades or utility knives for this, but a friend of mine turned me on to something that I have not yet tried which seemed obvious and yet brilliant. He cuts his Kaowool with a pizza cutter. Yes, the round-bladed thing. Looking forward to trying that...
   T. Gold - Tuesday, 08/15/06 14:25:55 EDT

Clark, I have had the same problem with flux eating the refractories in my gas forge. I use the kitty litter method mentioned by our good Guru. Jim Hrisoulas has also written about this method in his books on forgewelding. I spread about 1/4" cheap cat litter covering the forge floor. I use a castable refractory and a plywood form to cast a "sacrifical" bottom that goes over the cat litter. There is a depression or recess in the top of the cast which pools the flux. I use AP Green Mizou 3000, but many other products will work just as well. My consumable floor usually lasts a couple of months. I try to replace it before the flux gets to the cat litter, but when I have had leaks, the litter absorbed the flux. My gas forge is over 10 years old and the bottom has only minor scars from flux. I also use ITC-100 on all surfaces inside the forge. Flux damages the ITC-100 too but I get great results in even heating and reflected energy. One jar will coat my whisper lowboy twice. You can find it in the Anvilfire Store. Seems a bit expensive but worth it IMHO.
   R Guess - Tuesday, 08/15/06 15:27:15 EDT

Studebaker may never have recovered as a manufacturer but their Raymond Loewy designs and the Avanti remain works of art, will be cherished as automotive sculpture long after the Big 3's dinosaurs are buried and forgotten. There is an Avanti parked at the intersection of Old Santa Fe Trail and Pecos Trail every day, looks as beautiful as the day it was born.
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 08/15/06 16:03:10 EDT

Would mix of portland cement,sand and fireclay standup? Also any smoke from cat litter? I run this in a building with smoke alarm connected to many other buildings,next to the double doors standing open and my shop fan blowing out but it would be embarassing to set them off,thank guys
   clark-kentski - Tuesday, 08/15/06 16:23:53 EDT

Clark, The cheap unscented kitty litter does not smoke. I do not know about the mix of portland, sand and fireclay. I found a refractory dealer near by and asked if I could buy a broken bag (it never hurts to ask). Once I told them what I was doing they were very helpful. The broken bag lasted for a long time. I have since bought another 50# bag.
If you decide to make the form to fit the inside of your forge, spray it liberaly with PAM or some such spray so the refractory will not bond with the form. I put my forms together with sheet rock screws. The freshly dried "green" cast is very fragile until fired in your forge.
   R Guess - Tuesday, 08/15/06 16:55:48 EDT


The sand, portland cement and fireclay will bring you grief, and sooner rahter than later. It just retains too much chemical water to be safe at elevated temperatures. It will steam spall, and possibly violently. Stick with the rammable or castable refractories if you want a hard and durable refractory surface.

The kitty litter doesn't smoke if it is new. Don't try it with used litter. (grin)
   vicopper - Tuesday, 08/15/06 17:39:22 EDT

I am looking for a left handed blacksmith that uses Kevlar gloves, and has alot of right-handed gloves woren out. I am right handed and have wore out several left handed gloves because I very seldom use a glove on my right hand. Therefore, have several righthanded gloves for trade for left handed gloves. The Kevlar glove I been using was purcharse from Centaur Forge, part #KVA65285. E-mail or call area code 541-672-3911. Thank you, Larry
   Larry Soule' - Tuesday, 08/15/06 17:47:22 EDT

Looking for bearings for lower shaft on a Champion 400 blower, or someplace to have them ground.
   Larry Soule' - Tuesday, 08/15/06 17:54:34 EDT

hey, I got on around 10 last night but I guess you guys don't stay up late..
I've been working on a gas forge with my dad and we have the better part of it assembled, fires up pretty nicely...
but right now iit's fairly useless, the kaowool isn't installed yet, and I have some questions about that
What do you use to cut kaowool?
how do I 'glue' the kaowool in place, so that it doesn't collapse inside the chamber?
   Logan - Tuesday, 08/15/06 19:49:52 EDT

oh, sorry, I thought previous entries were already archived, my bad
   Logan - Tuesday, 08/15/06 19:53:04 EDT

Thanks Ken.
   Logan - Tuesday, 08/15/06 19:59:44 EDT


This is a forum read by people form all over the globe, so you never know what time it is when someone reads or responds to a particular post. I was up late last night, posting here, but that was late for me; I am one hour later than Eastern Time, so my "late" could be before supper time for TGold in Hawaii.
   vicopper, Chairman - Tuesday, 08/15/06 20:45:08 EDT

I've rolled cones about the size Lin's asking about (but in copper and with a steeper taper) using a simple mandrel and a rubber mallet. The first time I just used a long 1/2" socket extension *firmly* supported at each end.

I used much the same technique the Guru described with the brake. I'd start with the piece set so the mandrel ran underneath it from the outside of the cone to the center, and work along the mandrel with light hits, forming a very gentle bend. I'd then move to another spot, and keep working around the piece that way until I had a cone.
   Mike B - Tuesday, 08/15/06 20:52:40 EDT

Time Zones:

Yep, our English friends go to bed early, our California friends go to bed late, and our New Zealand and Australian friends are clean into Tommowland. :-)

I will gladly take calls from our NPS unit in Guam ( http://www.nps.gov/wapa/ ) at home, since we're never in the office at the same time.

Getting up at 04:30, I'm very sensitive to the changes in daylight throughout the seasons. The nice thing about blacksmithing, though, is it's not daylight dependent, and I have done some of my best work at night. It sort of serves as a perfect complement to my daylight outdoor activities around the farm and on the longship.

Warm and sunny on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org

British Paperwork Reduction Act of 1814, celebrated tomorrow!


   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 08/16/06 08:54:53 EDT

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