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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 September 8 - 15, 2000 on the Guru's Den
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I've only been blacksmithing a couple of years, but I found a fast and easy way to start a fire without having to worry about saving the newspapers. I walk out under my pine trees and pick up dry pine cones. Light one, drop it over my tuyre, add a couple of more, then rake on the coal. I was sold on the "fire starter" logs that you can get from Walmart, but I like the pine cones. Kill two birds with one shot. 1) Clean up the yard like my wife tells me to, and 2) Forge like I want to. Hope this helps.
Bhtemple  <bhtempleton at cei.net> - Friday, 09/08/00 01:45:16 GMT

I'm still here, just not saying a whole lot. Still have some lingering after effects from the concussion.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 09/08/00 01:53:48 GMT

I have just read an article on fabricating a rose, part of the process involves makeing a jump weld. What is a jump weld and how is it made?

Scott Wilson  <intec90 at hotmail.co> - Friday, 09/08/00 03:16:30 GMT

All that has been said of fire starting is true and accurate and good advice. You can do it easer though. Go to some place like Harbor Freight and buy a propnane "weed burner" clean out the firepot and make a pile of coal with a "cave" facing where you are going to place the burner. Light the burner, turn on your electirc blower aim the 12" long flame into the "cave" (don't use the burner at "full power" that is WAY too much heat!!) do something else for 5 min. and tend the fire for a few min. and go to work!

(BIG GRIN) Ok, no bricks please just throw "soft" coal ;-)
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Friday, 09/08/00 13:40:24 GMT

Why would you need to wait for 5 min with a burner to get your coal lit?!!!!!
After 5 min using walnut shells I am forging....(smile)

The easiest way of course is to push the start button on my Natural gas forge.......(VBG)

But I like coal for some odd reason.....
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Friday, 09/08/00 15:04:19 GMT

After 5 min, your enitre pile of coal is good and on fire, re-arrange the bed of coals if nessarry, add new coal to get the coking process going and go to work. I'm sorry if I gave the impression that it took more time than that ;-) (VVBG!)
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Friday, 09/08/00 18:04:13 GMT

guru, first of all, thanks for your help the other day. I'm getting a lot of smoke from my forge, even after the fire's been going for about twenty minutes or so. It's a dark smoke, which disappears after I crank the blower. Also, the fire dies out very easily if I don't crank the blower almost constantly.
coondogger  <onehorse at mediaone.net> - Friday, 09/08/00 20:26:06 GMT

Smoke: coondogger, That is typical of coal fires. When blown and very hot that black sooty smoke AND the white stuff mostly burn up. Even when used outdoors a lot of smiths like a hood and short stack to keep the smoke out of their face. Charcoal burns much cleaner but makes clouds of light drifting ash.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 09/08/00 20:40:05 GMT

It sorta sounds as if you might have some anthracite. Good smithing coal will stay lit without a air blast for a fair bit. Anthracite will need an almost constant air supply.
At least that has been my experience.
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Friday, 09/08/00 20:51:52 GMT

I am new to blacksmithing, and have been given a forge and blower, Champion Forge & Blower, Lancaster PA, "Whirlwind" Blast. After I freed up the blower, I packed the cups with wheel bearing grease and poured in a couple of inches of 80-90W gear lube. The lube leaks out around the fan shaft, which exits the blower housing right at the bottom. The bearings on this shaft are pretty noisy, but otherwise seem ok. Is there supposed to be some kind of seal on this shaft? There is a round pop-up on top of the blower, which it seems like must be for oil of some kind (and not grease). What kind of lube should I use? Most importantly, what do I do about the leaking? Thanks.
Dennis Woos  <wooscons at sover.net> - Friday, 09/08/00 21:03:20 GMT

You watch it leak and then add more when it stops. Perhaps use chain saw oil(Barr Oil?) It is stickier. I need to do the same for my blower
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Friday, 09/08/00 22:03:23 GMT

I have found an ad for a 70 pound cast iron anvil for 50 dollars. Would it be wise to buy it and weld a good steel plate to the top?
FRANK THORNTON  <vegeteks at aol.com> - Saturday, 09/09/00 00:18:27 GMT

Could you tell me how to harden lawnmower blades? Please e-mail me if you would as I'll never find this site again. Thanks
Chuck  <stickbow72 at hotmail.com> - Saturday, 09/09/00 01:31:49 GMT

Cast Iron Anvils: Frank see our previous archive. Once an anchor always an anchor. You can't weld steel to cast iron except under VERY special circumstances.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 09/09/00 01:46:15 GMT

Mower Blades: Chuck, You don't. Mower blades are made as hard as is deamed safe by manufacturers. A well known member of our cyber group is recovering from a disintegrating mower blade. Very nearly lost sight in both eyes and after many surgeries the second eye is usable.

Modern mower blades are made softer and softer for this reason. It may seem like a cop-out but it is very practical. Not worried about your body parts? Then how about the medical costs of a neighbors child hit by flying shrapnel.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 09/09/00 01:55:02 GMT

I am working on a Canedy Otto Royal Blower that had some problems and upon opening the gear case I discovered that the last large gear before the power is transmitted to the fan shaft gear is fiber!!! What a surprise, I didn't realize that they used fiber gears that long ago (I am sure that the gear is original from the looks of it) I am not so concerned about this particular blower as I am just fixing it up as a spare, but the main blower I have been using and that has become nearly one of the family so to speak,for nearly 20 years of use, is the same model. I have never had it apart but I must assume that it has the same type of old fragile fiber gear. Does anyone know if ALL of these particular blowers had fiber gears?? Perhaps my other royal might have steel or bronze?? The steel gears in the blower I now have apart are very good, I hope someone has perhaps ran into this problem before. thanks very much, Russell.
Russell Warner  <rgwarner at flinthills.com> - Saturday, 09/09/00 02:58:01 GMT

Fibre Gears: Russell, Fibre gears are made of cotton and linen micarta. Extreamly durable stuff. The reason for them is to reduce wear and to run quiet. My two 1950 Chevy trucks had a 1955 Chevy "big six" that had a steel vs. micarta cam gear set. This engine came out of a third truck and wore out all three. I KNOW *I* put 100,000 miles on it. . . Always guesed it had 300,000 (on the original gear set). Your Canedy Otto is probably from the same era.

If you have gear problems in any of these old blowers the replacements must be custom made. The micarta is still commonly used for gears. It should not be confused with the non-reinforced molded type that is often used today AND IS worthless.

Canedy Otto made some of the better engineered blowers. If its worn out then a Champion of Buffalo in the same place would have been replaced long ago. .

Fibre gears reduce the transmission of shock and vibration that causes gears to wear AND is used to prevent wear on more expensive gears. If the micarta gear is worn or broken then is saved other gears from the same fate.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 09/09/00 06:54:37 GMT

I am an eighth grade American History teacher. My students and I will be reading Touchmark, a book about early Boston and the pewter trade. I would like to help all of us understand words like touchmark, burnish, wriggling, and the whole process of working with pewter or like processes. Your site is very interesting. I am very ignorant. Are there spots on your site I could use? I have seen some of your pictures of old blacksmith shops- these will be good for my students when I enlarge them on our monitor. Help!
Thank you for your time.
V Dodd  <vdodd46478 at aol.com> - Saturday, 09/09/00 12:59:12 GMT

I am planing to build a Kinyon style air hammer from the plans that I purchased from ABANA. I have also been reviewing your Power Hammer Page and have a question.

When calculating the Ram/Anvil Ratio, how much does the base plate play a part in the calculation? What area under and around the anvil is taken into condisderation for the ratio?

The Kinyon plans look to be roughly 9:1. Is there an optimal ratio to work toward? Where is the point of diminishing returns?

My reason for asking is the plans for the anvil height seem low for my height and I want to raise the anvil when I build it to avoid having to stoop.
Dale  <dale at savagecreekforge.com> - Saturday, 09/09/00 13:58:13 GMT

Pewter: V Dodd, We have very little pewter information here. Wriggling is a new one on me. The best I can determine is that it is the production of a decorative line by "wriggling" (moveing back and forth in a short motion). I suspect it may have been used while spinning.

Pewter is worked by all the standard silversmithing and sheetmetal forming methods. It is melted and cast in molds. Sheets are formed by dishing, raising and spinning. Pieces are assembled by soldering. These techniques are also common to making brass musical instruments.

Dishing is pressing down into a form (wood or metal). It is usualy a preliminary step to raising.

Raising is the forming of sheet by hammering over a round mushroom stake - (a type of small anvil). The material is hammered in a circular pattern to produce cups and other vessels. See our book review of Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork. Also see the our Armor Articles on the 21st Century page.

Pewter sheet is also formed by spinning. Spinning is done n a lathe. A flat sheet is worked against a form as the metal rotates. Spinning is much faster than raising but can only produce round vessels where raising can produce any shape. Spinning is still used a great deal in industry to form stainless mixing bowls and similar items. Most standard lathe operating manuals have a section on spinning. We have a photo of a fellow spinning pewter but there is little to see from the position of the photo.

Hap Fisher spinning pewter. Mr. Fisher passed away about 1 year after these photos were taken.

See our Touchmark Registry for touchmarks and a link to a Hallmarks guide.

I just did an iForge "demo" a couple weeks ago on making touchmarks and posted it last night.

See our "Getting Started" Article for a source of books on metalworking. Norm Larson has a wide variety of books and will ship from inventory.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 09/09/00 15:05:10 GMT

Dale: Anvil to ram ratios are better when as high as possible. 15:1 is optimum and is the point of rapidly dimmishing returns. 20:1 is the maximum for HD hammers and low transmission of vibration. 10:1 is common but transmits more vibration.

The amount the base adds varies depending on how thick the base is. I only count the square under the anvil (count depth of plate equal to width). If the base is extreamly massive relative to the anvil then the front half can be counted. This may be no different than the front square depending on the proportions of the base.

By all means build the anvil height to suit yourself. Most old machines have the anvils set too low. I've seen photos of workers sitting at hammers doing production work. Low anvils are good for heavy work but higher anvils are better for lighter detailed work.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 09/09/00 15:33:21 GMT

Dear Guru...
My name BRennon LEClair, 20 male Experience- limited, about 3 years as hobby, very well read,a veteran blackpowder rendezvouer, this summer I work at a Historic RAnch and unfortunatly an underfunded one. I generally make tourist stuff (forks, spoons, hoarse shoes etc)Anyways my question... They give me coal i assume is anthracite (almost grey in color marble size peices very hard, un porous, loaded with slate phosphorous, ferrite you name it) not good to work with. I almost lost an eye a while ago due to popping in the fire, peices of red hot coal exploding from the fire with alot of force. the cause I turn to you for help... I assume dirt or small particles of rock in the coal. Can you recomend anything to stop this aside from proper coking coal(not an option at the moment)I hope I am not wasting your time and I thank you sincerley for the service you provide to all us begining smiths.
Brennon LEclair  <Twich_bc at hotmail.co> - Saturday, 09/09/00 17:23:57 GMT

A question on shop lighting. What lights are prefered for the smithy. I'm using 100 watt bulbs at present and I'm wiring the new shop for heavy voltage and am wondering if the florescent shop lights will throw me off on eyeballing heat color. I don't have any windows in the shop section yet so what ever I use will be "it" for lighting. What do you have Jock?
jerry  <birdlegs at keynet.net> - Saturday, 09/09/00 18:59:20 GMT

Jerry, I have flourescent lights in the shop, where the gas forge is located, and natural light outside where the coal forges are located. If you use the "natural" flouresecnt light tubes, you probably won't notice much difference. I usually keep a cardboard box, (painted black on the inside) fairly close to the forge both inside the shop and outside for judging color.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 09/10/00 01:55:19 GMT

BAD COAL: Brennon, No solution other than legal. Point out the libility problems that a piece of that coal hitting a small child the face would ensue. . . . They will find ordering good coal by the bag cheap insurance.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 09/10/00 02:46:44 GMT

Lighting: Jerry, I have worked in MANY different lights. Relatively low light is best for forging but it is lousy for doing any kind of GOOD work.

In the "OLD" days I worked outdoors in direct sunlight. Hard to tell the difference between a white heat and a bright orange in sunlight. You just get used to it and judge the heat in the forge. It IS tricky when the part cools. A bright RED in low light is black iron in the sunlight.

A friend of mine has a bunch of those sodium street lights in his shop. At night when there is no natural light you have absolutely no depth perception or way to judge heat in that orange light. .

In my current shop I have fairly good flourescent lighting and the walls and ceiling are painted white. I like to SEE. many smiths would argue it is too bright.

I read once about a shop that did very delicate heat treating of magnet alloy. The heat treating shop was almost dark and the workers would have to let their eyes adjust for half hour or more before they could work. Today we have thermocouples, temperature controls and Tempil sticks. There is no need for LOW light.

OBTW- I have recommended to several people that have had trouble seeing with arc welding hoods to increase the AMBIENT light. Every wear a welding hood in the bright sun? You can see pretty darn good in that light. Put a bright spot light on your work and the filter lens is no longer a problem.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 09/10/00 02:56:53 GMT

Jerry, my 2 cents on lighting. Cold where you live ? Flor.lighting has to warm up here in the winter, and is slow to do that. I have a combination of it, and clear 150watt incandescant. Works fine for me. I do have some natural light in the daytime. My shop is small, and pretty dark without artifical light. I do have a hood on the forge, hooked to a flu, so seeing the fire in the same way is pretty constant 24hrs a day, and anvil light is somewhat different with the back door open, but I can still see the heat leaving the stock with no problem. This is important. Guru has spoken about the problems of working outside. Constant light in the shop is important to me, so the hood is great. Again, just my 2 cents.
Ten Hammers  <lforge at netins.net> - Sunday, 09/10/00 04:42:16 GMT

Light: Ten, I forgot about the flourescent warmup problem. . . In my cold shop the ballasts are noisy in the winter and sometimes never stop flickering. Yes, it is hard on them and the life is short. . . Yes, you can get low temperature ballasts. They cost as much as the original fixtures (complete at close to the same price.). They are also on a 16' ceiling that is a dog to get to now that the full shop scaffold is gone. . . stupid blacksmith tricks.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 09/10/00 06:31:07 GMT

Adam  <mindwrath at uconect.net> - Sunday, 09/10/00 17:28:24 GMT

Adam  <mindwrath at uconect.net> - Sunday, 09/10/00 17:28:24 GMT

Hello- I am a senior in high-school, and as an independant study I took it upon myself to build a forge and workstation on school grounds for eventual use in a classroom experiance. My first project will be plans and a proposal for a forge, tools, and other specifics. I know a fair amount about the craft, but I need a good place to start. Probably some resources on building the type of foundry I am going to make. This project will not be a modern foundry, but a re-creation of an early american workshop where tools and weapons would be made. I will need to investigate fuel, tools (anvil, bellows, hammer and the heating area), and tecqnique. I recieve a half-credit for a proposal, and another for building the forge. If it is all successful, I will be allowed to study the craft over the summer, and on my first year out of high school I will teach students the craft. My question is: Where do I get started. Is there anyone who could mentor my progress via email?? Could anyone in the vicinity monitor my progress? (the school is willing to provide wages) I live in Old Lyme Connecticut. Anyone who is interested in helping me out please email me at mindwrath at uconect.net, and I will gladly accept any help at all. I need my proposal done by january, and I am highly literate on a computer, so the editing will be simple. I need as much guidance on the building of a forge as possible though. Thanks! Adam Burt
Adam  <mindwrath at uconect.net> - Sunday, 09/10/00 17:38:31 GMT

HOT DAM*! (sorry that just came out) Man what an opportunity.
I am sure there is someone near you that can help, I am in Oregon otherwise I would be glad to offer my physical assistance.
Maybe there is hope for our educational system after all.
Feel free to email me for any info I can offer.(delete the .fish off my address, it's there to avoid spam.) I might be able to dig up a few things I have extras of.
Check the archives on this site for info on starting out, building forges Etc.
The Custom Knife forum at http://www.customknifedirectory.com/
has a wealth of pages and resources for you also.

I graduated from a technical high school in the 70's and can tell you that getting technical training at high school level can set you up for a good, fulfilling life.
Good luck and let us know of your progress.
Moldy  <njordan at epud.net.fish> - Sunday, 09/10/00 17:55:51 GMT

i am looking for information on a propane forge. it is a 400,000 btu model made by johnson gas appliance co. model #133bk. probably mfg. about 1960. it is in excellent condition with little use. would like to know value and if manufacturer is still in business or where parts and information might be available. thanks-mike
mike manier  <msmanier at train.missouri.org> - Sunday, 09/10/00 18:53:52 GMT

Esteemed Advisors;
This question is for anyone who can get their hands on
Vol. XXVI, No. 1 (Summer-98) of the Anvil's Ring. On pg. 45 there is an article by Samuel Curry on how he produces knives with writing in them. I have read paragraphs 9-11 over and over and cannot understand the process he is describing. I understand about stacking 1/4 inch stock in a grid to make letters which form the words of the sentence, but he loses me in his explanation of his initials when he gets to the stack and twist part. Does grinding the twisted rod reveal the letters and numbers?
L.Sundstrom, m.i.smithing? - Sunday, 09/10/00 20:52:28 GMT


Don't sweat it, you thought the same thing I did!


Go to the top of this page. Click on the "GETTING STARTED" article. Read that. Then go to the PLANS page and check out the plans there. Then go to the 21st CENTURY page and check the plans there. Finally, ask the questions here that all of that reading will bring to mind.

Add my email address to Moldy's, I'll help any way I can.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 09/10/00 21:20:23 GMT

I have a worry about a forge under construction at work. My concern is that the air is blown through a piece of conduit which is exposed to the coals for up to 20 inches dependent on the size of the fire. This resembles a kind of thermal lance. Is there any safety issue about not having the air nozzle cooled with a water jacket?
Joe  <richardson at luna.co.uk> - Sunday, 09/10/00 22:11:01 GMT

I have a question for Daryl Meier if he is still about, Jock was telling me about a process you use to weld your billets.

I would like to know a little more about this if you dont mind and its not giving away to many trade secrets :).

As i understant it you seal the layers in stainless foil, then insert into a peice of stainless tube filled with Kero.
is this tube then sealed or do you leve then ends open so the kero burns out (im guessing its left open because heated kero would go off with a bang).

When the stack gets up to temperature do you remove it from the tube to weld or just sacrafice the tube as well?.

With the stack in the stainless foil how do you assertain the temperature?.

Im asuming that the kero is used instead of flux, and once the surface of the original metal has been cleaned and placed in the stainless foil there is little if any need for the flux.

My intention is to use a fly/wing press to press the stack eavenly then draw out on the power hammer.

Andrew Hooper  <kiwi at best.net.nz> - Sunday, 09/10/00 23:12:07 GMT

Johnson Forges: Mike, Centaur Forge still lists them in their catalog but I couldn't find Johnson in the Thomas Register. . :(
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 09/11/00 03:00:14 GMT

Mosaic Damascus: Larry, There are a million permutations to this process. IF the pattern is near the edge of the bar and it is twisted then when the surface is removed a distorted version of the pattern is exposed. The pattern varies dependant on where it is in the bar.

Like any process START SIMPLE! The construction technique used in Mosiac Damascus is the the same as that used to make musical instrument rosettes. You build "logs" of one or more patterns. Then you cut pieces of the logs and assemble them, perhaps with other decorative sections. The difference in steel is that you can draw it out smaller and longer before the next stage. In both techniques you can take the assembly made of smaller pieces and saw off slabs. But again, in steel you can draw the assembly out again OR you can twist it, fold it, laminate is again. . . Thin sawn slabs can be welded onto a solid bar. .

If you don't understand a specific pattern development build it in contrasting plasticene (oil) modling clay. When material needs to be removed cool the clay in the refrigerator and use a sharp knife. As you cut off each layer of a twisted clay billet the variations in the pattern will be obvious.

A high tech process used by Damasteel AB uses powdered metal poured into a cylinder from different nozzels to produce a pattern. The billet is then hot pressed to weld the powder and then rolled to bar shape.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 09/11/00 03:22:54 GMT

Kiwi: Tube not filled with kerosene, just a few drops, tube sealed except one small weep hole, tube sacraficed. Guess at temperature, it's a judgment, can't see inside, assume when outside of tube is uniform in color the inside is hot.
Larry Sundstrom: Sorry, can't find that copy, so can't help.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Monday, 09/11/00 03:33:22 GMT

UK FORGE: Joe, Water cooled twyers are rare (though more common in the UK than the US. This sounds like a good application for one. However, it is hard to visualize the design from your description. In the US "conduit" is either thin wall or standard wall galvanized pipe. If you are describing either the galvanizing is going burn off rapidly. I assume you are talking about a horizontal pipe? Thin wall will burn out almost imediately, standard wall will hold up a little longer. The pipe must be sized so that air cools it in use.

The advantage of the bottom blown forge is that the blown air cools the twyere from the inside and the the atmosphere cools it from underneith. Side blown forges with metal pipes have the fire surrounding the pipe and that is why they are commonly watter cooled.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 09/11/00 03:38:47 GMT

Wifes comment. and So. Cal Hammer in.

Over the weekend, at the C.B.A., Vista meeting, we were standing around and swaping stories before things got going. One of the guys was telling about a
hammer'in he had gone to years before. It was his wifes first time at one of these events and as she was watching the set up of 300# anvils, post vices, benches,
50# little Giants etc, she looked at her husband and said "you guys act like this stuff is PORTABLE!! I don't think it was ever intended to be PORTABLE!!" Now
they have an event every year at their ranch! It is next week for anyone interested and who in in So. Cal. Friday afternoon, Sat, Sun morning. Food, rustic camping
(no hookups) and fun for $65.00
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Monday, 09/11/00 13:54:40 GMT

Wifes comment. and So. Cal Hammer in.

Over the weekend, at the C.B.A., Vista meeting, we were standing around and swaping stories before things got going. One of the guys was telling about a
hammer'in he had gone to years before. It was his wifes first time at one of these events and as she was watching the set up of 300# anvils, post vices, benches,
50# little Giants etc, she looked at her husband and said "you guys act like this stuff is PORTABLE!! I don't think it was ever intended to be PORTABLE!!" Now
they have an event every year at their ranch! It is next week for anyone interested and who in in So. Cal. Friday afternoon, Sat, Sun morning. Food, rustic camping
(no hookups) and fun for $65.00
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Monday, 09/11/00 13:58:11 GMT

Sorry about the double post, I couldn't get a refresh of my browser, to save my life.
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Monday, 09/11/00 14:03:28 GMT

I would like to learn how to forge my own nails for a sculpture project. Can you give me some information on how to get started?
Marc Robinson  <marcrob2000 at hotmail.com> - Monday, 09/11/00 15:25:49 GMT

water cooled forges....
OK I am a volunteer at Fort Vancouver NHS, and we built a water cooled side air blast forge.
Our 'twyer' extends only about 3 to 4 inches from the side hearth. ANd the fire is built up around it and typically has its 'sweet spot' at about 3 inches from the end of the pipe and about 2 to 3 inches above.(is this aas clear as mud now?) The pipe itself is a 4 inch pipe with a 1 inch inner pipe. the end of these have been joined together closing off teh 4" pipe allowing it to be filled with water. The larger pipe is connected to a water tank(bosh?) that is filled with water/antifreeze) After 3 years of use the pipe tip is undamaged.

I really like this setup. The only difficult think about it, is that fire tending is different from a typical bottom draft forge.
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Monday, 09/11/00 16:07:16 GMT

First you need a tool to help head the nail. There is a demo on the Iforge page on how to make one version of this tool(shameless plug)
The nail itself.
How long? For a 2-3 inch nail start with 1/4" square stock.
Heat to a bright yellow, place about 1 inch or so over the anvil. Hit 'half on half off' to make a shoulder( about 1 to 1.5 " from tip) Rotate 90 degrees do this again. From this shoulder draw to a point(I use a gradual taper). IN theory at this point (because you got the initial shoulder the correct size.....) the nail will fit in to the hearing tool.
Cut the nail above the shoulder(for 1/4" stock I go almost a 1/4" above shoulder) Cut it about 3/4ths of the way off, place nail in header and twist off. put header on anvil(nail will stick thru into the hardy hole or pritchel hole) Make head. I use 4 hammer blows maybe 5. First one straight down to set head, the others are slightly angled to give a nice faceted head.
Idealy all of theis is done in one heat and the nail will still be slightly red as it hits the ground.
This takes a lot of practice. DO not be worried if it takes several heats.

A bit of trivia about nails.
In the 1840's a pro nailsmith would do an average of 80 -120 per hour. FOr 10-12 hours a day 6 days a week!

Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Monday, 09/11/00 16:19:34 GMT

Guru and friends Got any suggestion oh how i can get a old patina finish/look on new copper and brass items

Danny Young  <danny_young at cc.chiron.com> - Monday, 09/11/00 17:31:18 GMT

Hello, and thank you for your time. I am wanting to get a good hunting knive that would be approprite for skinning and or quartering. a lot of the knives I have seen are advertised with stainless steel blades. But I have heard that this metal if relatively soft and will not retain an edge. What would be a good metal to look for in the blade manufacture? Once again, thank you for yout time.

Peter  <psnell at daymon.com> - Monday, 09/11/00 18:21:03 GMT

stainless can be hardend if it has enought carbon in it (420 or beter) hardining and tempering stainless is difacult and requires some expencive equment but iT will make a very good knife if done corectly. stay away from blades made in third world contrys
MP  <mparkinson at mpmetalworks.com> - Monday, 09/11/00 19:02:38 GMT

Old Brass: Danny, Most patinas are put on using some nasty chemicals. . I'm told that a paste of Miracle Grow does a pretty good job.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 09/11/00 21:11:44 GMT

Stainless: Peter, There are two basic types of stainless, 300 series and 400 series. 300 is non-magnetic and non-hardenable austenitic stainless (the series actualy run 200. . 500). 400 series come in ferritic and martensitic varieties. . . Heat treating is not the same as for plain carbon steels. Stainless is what is called precipitation hardening. Heat to temperature and hold for 30-90 minutes. . . This requires a lot better control than for carbon steel.

My experiance with stainless is that being abrasion resistant makes it hard to sharpen but it does not hold an edge as well as good carbon steel. But I haven't had a lot of experiance with realy good custom SS knives.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 09/11/00 21:41:25 GMT


Thanks for the advice, do you still wrap it in stainless foil or is there no need to do this because your using a stainless tube?.

I see where the theory is, the kero burns ad creates a reduced enviroment, also increases the carbon content of the enviroment and i think this decreases the welding temperature required.

Do you take the stainless tube to aa bright orange colour or a butter yellow?

Andrew Hooper  <andrew at best.net.nz> - Monday, 09/11/00 22:38:48 GMT

Weld: Andrew, Just the tube. On temperature, remember you are welding high carbon steel, It has a lower forge and welding point. The lower temperatures are from the higher carbon IN the steel not the atmosphere but it does prevent oxidation. This is the technique grandpa demonstrated for LOW TEMPERATURE welding.

I'm not sure but the expense of the sacrificial tube technique could be offset by the use of more thin laminates to start as this process would protect the thin material and hold the bundle together. Starting out with material 1/4 thickness (of whatever else it could be) reduces the number of weld/cut cycles by 2. Using shim stock laminates its possible to reduce the cycle count by 4. Thats a lot of fuel and effort AND less chances to screw up.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 09/11/00 23:32:19 GMT

GURU I guess I'm agrizzled old dog.I'm 76 and not a blaksmith,I have not done it all yet but I am still trying.My question to you is about a small forge.It is marked j.f,winchell's patt.Scientific no 3 manufactured by Foos Mf'g Co. Springfeild Ohio.Some parts are missing,I would like a picture if I could be so lucky. I also have a complet working blaksmith shop built in about 1813 . I seem to rember someone on your site asking for a picture of such a shop,I am now restoring it,but will take pictures at some point Regards Marty Dyckman jr1012 at aol.com
Martin Dyckman  <jr1012 at aol.com> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 00:22:24 GMT

sending email about forge ect.
Martin Dyckman  <jr1012 at aol.com> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 00:27:46 GMT

On coloring brass and copper~ anybody that shoots muzzleloaders can tell you that the residue from cleaning after shooting a few rounds can produce a varity of colors, depending on what you use for solvent.A cleaning patch soaked in Dish soap and water & run down a rifle barrel a couple 'o times will unshine the brightest of brass or copper and some other stuff too!
Jerry  <birdlegs at keynet.net> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 02:18:49 GMT

Would anyone be able to list the ingredients and their prportions to produce the "super quench" mentioned by Mr. Epps from the iForge section. Thanks.
ken  <kennethdavidm at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 02:46:38 GMT


4 1/2 gallons water
5 lbs. salt
32 oz. Dawn dish soap (blue)
8 oz. Shaklee Basic I

Stir before each use

Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 03:05:49 GMT

does anyone still make anvils ,if so where !
mike  <port1056 at aol.com> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 12:10:33 GMT

Andrew: Mild steel tube + ss foil, or ss tube and no foil. Light orange ( about 2250f ) is what it looks like to me, in my shop.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 12:38:47 GMT

I am looking for a source for Kaowool. I have tried local insulation dealers and ceramic supply stores. Can you tell me any other places to try or somewhere on the net. Or does somebody have about 12sq.ft. they could sell to me. Thanks.
Brian  <bkit72 at aol.com> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 15:21:44 GMT

Several things.
First where are you?
Second when you talked with the ceramic supply stores, did you ask for it by name? How about asking for ceramic fiber blanket? Also did they make/sell kilns and repair kits? If they do they will have some form of creamic fiber blanket.
You can also contact companies such as E.J. Bartells to see if they have a local outlet. http://www.ejbartells.com/
Or A.P. Green(I do not have any web page info for them)
If you get desperate email me, as there is a ceramic supply place that has kaowool here. But it is spendy. about $4.50 a square foot unless you buy the whole box. I think it is 200.00 for the box. But I could be wrong on the box price
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 16:27:04 GMT

Anvils: Mike, Yes they are still manufactured and recently enough new manufacturers have gotten into the business that there is quite a choice of types and styles.

We have several advertisrs that sell anvils. Try Kayne & Son or Wallace Metal works (their banners are on almost every page of anvilfire). There are others listed on our "Emiel's Links" page.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 16:59:21 GMT

Foos Mfg. Co. Forge: Martin, Sorry, I have started to reply to this several times. I never heard of that brand but that is not unusual. Hundreds of hardware suppliers had blacksmithing equipment made with their trade name on it. Some was made by big internationaly known makers like Champion or Buffalo Forge, while others were made by contract to any one of thousands of ironworks that made simple machinery.

Yes we wold love to have photos of your shop. Not only do folks like to see general layouts but details of forge flues, equipment, work benches. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 17:08:38 GMT

how do you tell the difference between partially coked coal and coke? And how do you know which stuff to discard from the firepot, and which to use for another fire?
coondogger  <onehorse at mediaone.net> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 18:55:08 GMT

PS: what about the pieces of coal that have turned partly brown in color?
coondogger  <onehorse at mediaone.net> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 18:56:18 GMT

coke looks sorta like a burned to a crisp marshmallow
Brown is probably just some of the ash residue from the various oils, tars and other impurities.
ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 19:35:23 GMT

coal will be solid and hard. coke is porous and softer(can break it up with hands fairly easy)
ralph   <ralphd at jps.net> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 19:36:57 GMT

COAL ASH: Coondogger, Coal leaves three type of residue,
  • ashes (from white to black heavier than wood ash)
  • clinkers (ash melted together into a porous glassine mass)
  • burnt coal (low grade coal leaves a "rock" of material the same size shape as the coal, usualy lighter color, brown tinged with white).

High grade coal is low ash. MOST of it burns up (like wood). However, near the center of the fire the ash melts and sticks together making clinker. Coke, is similar to wood charcoal except it is made of heavier denser coal.

Low grade coal makes a LOT of clinkers or leaves rocky residue behind nearly the same volume as the original coal. Low grade coal does not coke and the fire generaly has lots of yellow flame but never makes that white hot core that is best for ironwork. OR the core is very lived from the build up of clinkers and ash.

Please note that rapid clinker build up can be from a build up of old ashes OR impurities mixed with the coal. It is not always an indication of bad coal. I've seen coal at the coal yard that had been cleaned up from the lot with a bucket loader. It was full of sand, dirt and gravel. . . Get your coal from a DIFFERENT pile. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 21:09:06 GMT

Or dig into the pile and get the clean stuff. It's usually on the inside of the pile, higher up from ground level.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 22:09:57 GMT

I have inherited two anvils - one is a l70 lbs. made in usa but when I weighed it, it was 175 lbs. Some of the letters on it are MA?FNSU (It looks like those letters). Are you familiar with this brand of anvil? Or how can I learn the correct name of it? I also have inherited a 100# Vulcan. Can you tell me any information about this also? Thanks very much. Paul
paul metzger  <pmetzger at inlink.com> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 22:12:32 GMT

I am trying to perfect a home made chisel project. It calls for 5/8" octagon S-5 tool steel. After forging to shape. Flame harden by oxy-acetylene at cherry red(1400-1500F) for 5-7 min, dip the chisel end 3/4" in water for 10 seconds. Do the same on the hammer end for 7 seconds, then watch the creep till it's 3/4" from chisel end, and quench.
Expected Rc is 50-55 on the chisel, 30-40 on the hammer end, and 20-30 in the middle. It's not working too well. I'm getting about 40-45 Rc all over. I can get it if I go back and localize my re-hardening and tempering where needed, but I would like to have a good single procedure to work with. Any idea's?
Casey  <cjbressem at simasd.navy.mil> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 23:29:41 GMT

anvils where can i fine then who sells them?
mike  <port1956 at aol.com> - Tuesday, 09/12/00 23:43:19 GMT

Dear Guru,

What a great website this is! I have just found it. After searching for years to find an anvil, that I could afford, I recently purchased one and would like to know if you can give me some information about it. Stamped on one side is the name WILLIAM FOSTER and under the name is 1837 and under that is TH. Stamped on the other side is 1 1 8, which I assume is the weight from what I have read on your site. Unfortunately, the face is in sad shape. Anything you can tell me about this anvil will be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Bruce
Bruce  <bdasapp at hcsmail.com> - Wednesday, 09/13/00 00:38:13 GMT


On the puzzle anvil (MA?FNSU) I'm going to need more info to be able to figure anything out. Try cleaning up the side with a ScotchBrite pad, and then doing a rubbing. You might be able to come up with something that way. As for the weight difference, it probably weighed closer to 175 when it was new, but anvils do lose a little weight each time they are surfaced. Five pounds is not much of a weight loss. The Vulcan anvil was originally made by the Illinois Iron and Bolt Company of Carpenters, Illinois, from about 1875 until about 1969.


The William Foster was probably manufactured in Sheffield, England. The 1837 is the year of manufacture. The TH is probably the inspectors stamp, according to Postman. And the 1 1 8 is the weight in English Hundred Weight.

The first 1 = 112 pounds. The second 1 = 28 pounds, and the 8 = 8 pounds. So 112 pounds + 28pounds + 8 pounds = 148 pounds which should be pretty close to the weight of the anvil. Note my comment above to Paul about anvil weight loss.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 09/13/00 02:37:55 GMT

pawpaw,actual weight is now 142 lbs.Do you think this anvil would be made of wrot iron or how could I tell.payed $25 for it,pretty good price I think. thanks for the info.
Bruce  <bdasapp at hcsmail.com> - Wednesday, 09/13/00 03:33:33 GMT


It's wrought iron. If you clean it up, you should be able to see the forge lines where the feet and horn were forge welded to the body of the anvil. You got a deal!
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 09/13/00 05:09:24 GMT

The shed that houses my forge is open on the sides. So the smoke just wafts out. But I'm going to enclose it. I'm thinking about a stovepipe with an exhaust turbine in it at the top, and a hood where it suspends over the forge. Any thoughts?
coondogger  <onehorse at mediaone.net> - Wednesday, 09/13/00 12:40:18 GMT

another question. I always hear about using a wirebrush on finished work. But never a cotton buffing wheel. Is there a reason people don't buff work on a wheel?
coondogger  <onehorse at mediaone.net> - Wednesday, 09/13/00 12:42:36 GMT

I have a small shop, about 16' x 16' in a steel shed. The roof is only about 7' at the tallest point. As you can imagine, smoke ventilation is a high priority for me! I have a modified side draft, well more of a semi enclosed hood actually. It works well unless there is a strong draft through the "shop" The side draft is the most efficient and the hood over the top is the least. There is much more air flow required with a hood than there is with a side draft. I used 12"dia air-conditioning duct as a stack. It is 15' tall with no bends. Yes it needs support guy wires to keep it from falling over. The taller you make your stack the better. This will provide more natural draft. Also you will need a large Dia. stack. From many sources I have discovered that 10" is MINIMUM!! There are as many ways to make a hood and vent as you can imagine. JJ has a sliding section to get down low on the fire when starting and raises up when the fire is going.

Good luck! Email me if you want to, I can tell you what I did in more detail.
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Wednesday, 09/13/00 13:45:57 GMT

cotton: coondogger, cotton wheels are used with abrasive buffing compound to polish. It won't remove scale very well and on rough surfaces the cotton will stick in the crevices. Heavy fibre wheels (looks like rope sewn in a wheel) can be used but I've never tried one. Wire wheels come in many wire sizes and can be soft and gentle to the steel or very aggressive. I like soft SS wheels for descaling and derusting.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 09/13/00 15:50:55 GMT

casey I think your main problem is that you are holding the heat for to long. try heating the tip as before and as soon as it is up to temp qunch then polish and temper holding it at temp isn't all that good for deferantal tempering don't try to harden and temper all in one stepit takes a little longer but in the end it is easier to do it in two steps.
hope that helps ~MP~
MP  <mparkinson at mpmetalworks.com> - Wednesday, 09/13/00 16:38:29 GMT

Chisel from S-7: Casey, MP is right, differential hardening is the wrong way to go. High alloy tool steels are picky about how they are treated. S-7 is a mechanicaly shock resistant tool steel not thermal shock resistant. It is also an air or oil hardening steel. If you have attempted to heat treat this piece several time then it should probably be discarded. Overheating and quenching in too severe a quenchant leads to cracking almost every time. In use this tool is lible to shatter no matter how it is treated at this point.

S-7 must be heated slowly and evenly. Using an oxy-acectylene torch generaly does neither. When heating with a torch the part needs to be supported and partialy surrounded by refractory bricks. The bricks are first heated until they give off a good bright glow then you can start to gently heat the part (as you continue to heat the bricks to produce an even heat).

S-7 being an air (or oil) hardening steel, is hardened at a relatively high temperature 1725°F (941°C). Parts heattreated in a temperature controled oven can be held at temperature for a brief period but it is always recommended to quench on a "rising heat", that is, as soon as the temperature is reached and NOT by overheating and quenching as it cools (a "dropping heat"). To quench this steel you mearly remove it from the furnace and let cool in room temperature air. A very thick section may need to be oil quenched.

This steel is tempered at as high a temperature as 1150°F - 1200°F (620°C). Even at that temperature you will not get as low a hardness as you are trying for. I doubt this steel is 35Rc when full annealed.

In this case you would want to heat the part evenly, air cool to room temperature or a little higher, then heat the struck end to 1250°F. Meanwhile you want the working end to reach no more than 600°F. This is an alloy steel so you cannot judge the temperature by "temper colors". You will need to check the temperature with a Tempil crayon or other method. The part will then need to be quenched in warm oil to prevent the tempering heat from reducing the hardness more than necessary. Immediately afterward (while still hot) the part THEN needs to be brought up to the hardest area's tempering temperature (600°F) and held there for 5 min to half an hour then allowed to cool slowly. ANY time you use differential tempering the entire part should be evenly tempered at the hardest desired temper.

This will come close to producing the desired results.
NOTE that judging heat temperatures by eye is an art that takes practice and a consistant ambient light. The ambient light can make a huge difference in the percieved temperature (+/- 500°F).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 09/13/00 19:04:11 GMT

Bruce: Thanks for your response regarding the name on my anvil. I cleaned it again and the best I can make out is
malifinswe or malifinsue, or possibly ma?finswe or ma?finsue. I know this isn't much to work with, but I had hoped someone might recognize the name. Again, I appreciate your help. Thanks. Paul
paul  <pmetzger at inlink.com> - Wednesday, 09/13/00 19:43:19 GMT

A question about Super Quench. Listed in the ingredients of super quench is a product called Shaklee Basic I. It is described as a wetting agent. I went to Shaklee's web sites and found it but it was described as an industrial strength degreaser. Is this the product I am looling for ?
BTW, thank you for this great site it is a wealth of information.
Much Thanks,
Mark  <dilligaf at net1plus.com> - Wednesday, 09/13/00 22:47:24 GMT


Let me dig the book out and see what I can find. Also, if there is any way you could take a couple of pictures of the anvil and send them to me, I may be able to tell a little more from shape and configuration.


Yes, that's what you are looking for.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 09/13/00 23:55:26 GMT


Could it be a Mankel?
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 09/13/00 23:58:31 GMT

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 09/14/00 00:46:15 GMT

Guru---I just checked a piece of S-7 in its anealed state as it came from the supplyer. Its 7/8 dia and was descaled and ground like shafting. it is RC 18
kid  <kidbsmith at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 09/14/00 01:03:33 GMT

Guru: I purchased a post vise with a worn out screw. I have remedied this with the help a welder guru and the top out of an old hydraulic jack. So far, so good. Now I need a spring (none to be found on the relic I bought). As (bad) luck would have it this summer's Montana forest fires got the best of some of my property, including a small utility trailer. The leaf springs got hot enough to sag completely out of shape under the trailer's modest weight.
The size of the main leaf is pretty close to what I need and can easily be manipulated into the proper size and shape.

Can you offer any advice on how I might temper (if that's the correct term) this back to a spring suitable to my needs? I don't think it needs to be perfect, and the consequence of failure is far from catastrophic. Thanks in advance for your help. kalvin

Kalvin Wille  <kjwille at aol.com> - Thursday, 09/14/00 04:05:38 GMT

Kalvin Wille,

The spring in the vise does not really have to be springy.
All it does is open the jaw as you unscrew it. But first aneal the spring,yes I know it is probably that way now. But if you always do the same steps in the same order no mistakes will be made(Just like running a cannon drill, that way no one gets hurt by a cannon misfire)
Then heat to critical(for leaf springs I use non-magnetic) and quench(I use peanut oil) Now it is hard. Then I heat a block of metal about the same length as the spring but thicker if at all possible, to a red/orange and thenput the spring on this moving it about to ensure an even temper. Take it to a blue. Actually an easier way to temper is bake it at about 450 or so for two hours......
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Thursday, 09/14/00 05:54:19 GMT

I am not a smith, but an engineer. I am investigating the "hot rolling" of carbon steels (SAE1020, 4140, 8620, etc.) We are currently limited in the way we process steel, and we are looking for a way to heat and roll the steel to allow easier material flow. Can you tell me at what temperature these steels begin to show some significant changes in ductility, maleability, and general workability). I am talking about being way below the transformation temps (closer to somewhere around 400-750F). Do you think the material will show any significant change at these temps? (By the way, any idea what color these steels should be at those temps?) Thank you very much for any information you can provide.
-Jay Adams
Jay Adams  <jayadams at tir.com> - Thursday, 09/14/00 14:24:04 GMT


The colour of steel/iron at 750 and less will be black....
ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Thursday, 09/14/00 15:01:55 GMT

The changes you will see in material at that temp is that it will be brittle. The high black heat ranges are probably some of the worst places to work metal. Get it hot, or not, but "warm" is not where you need to be.
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Thursday, 09/14/00 19:43:21 GMT

does anybody have the address or contact information for the Hossfeld company (they make benders).
bret  <banderson at acs.roadway.com> - Thursday, 09/14/00 20:29:11 GMT


I was hoping for a bit of info on grinding belts. I have found sources for aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, ceramic, zirconium?, and more, but I don't know what the relative merits of each are. What should I look for if I want to grind carbon steel?
J Dickson  <TheIrony at worldnet.att.net> - Thursday, 09/14/00 20:33:55 GMT


I use aluminum oxide for most everything. Works well for me.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 09/14/00 23:00:10 GMT

JD Grinding belts. Norzon - Norton Abrasive Co Its blue and cut for a long time.
JohnC  <careatti at crosslin.net> - Thursday, 09/14/00 23:19:06 GMT

Low temperature rolling: Jay, this sounds like an R&D project. There is a great difference in the steels you list. The basic problem is that yes the steels do become more ductile at elevated temperatures but I believe they continue to work harden. If the steels start at less than the annealed condition then the temperatures you mention (400° to 750°F) will make little difference.

Steel starts to flouresce at 1,000°

My ASM Metals Reference didn't have information on strength at elevated temperatures. I've seen that info for structural steel but I'm not sure where. Let me have some more time on this one but I don't think I can help.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 09/15/00 01:38:41 GMT

Jay: If you can find ref. materials on the tensile strength of the materials you'r interested in at elevated temperatutes it will answer some of your question. Steel worked (rolled) at temperatures below the critical does not go through a recrystalization after deformation and therefore will workharden as Guru mentioned. Significant change will no happen until the temperature is raised to the "neighborhood" of the critical.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Friday, 09/15/00 01:55:01 GMT

i'm having trouble setting down cleanly. is there a trick to it? or is it simply a skill gained over time?
coondogger  <onehorse at mediaone.net> - Friday, 09/15/00 02:17:30 GMT

Grinding: It seems like a simple question but is actually very complex. Everything depends on the material being ground, the finish desired and how aggressive you want to be. HD grinders with coarse belt can cut hard steel like a cutting torch.

I've always had good results with Norton products as John recommends. 3M has always been my favorite. That said, the manufacturers make the best recommendations. There are literaly thousands of abrasive belt materials designed for industry that wants RESULTS. You should find that either manufacturer will suggest the same grade. Coarser is almost always better than finer.

The best thing I can tell you is that cheep abrasives DO NOT cost less. Always buy the absolute best. They will do the job faster and longer saving you greatly in the end.

With ALL abrasive stock cutting use coolant any time you can. Water coolant not only keeps the work cool but it rinses away the swarf and increases the life of the abrasive, reduces dust and sparks (keeping the shop cleaner and you healthier).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 09/15/00 02:18:04 GMT

Low temperature rolling: Grandpa, Thanks, I was sweating that one. Glad you put in your dollars worth to my 2 cents!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 09/15/00 02:23:00 GMT

Hossfeld Mfg. Co.
Box 557
Winona, MN 55987
507-452-2182 FAX: 507-454-1194
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 09/15/00 02:25:49 GMT

Low Temperature Rolling: Thats what I get for letting the questioner control my thinking. . .

Jay, Wayne Parris hit the nail on the head. So I moved my Tempil Basic Guide to Ferrous Metalurgy to within reading range of my desk (I used to be able to read it at 8 feet). Quote
[9] BLUE BRITTLE RANGE occurs approximately from 300° to 700°F. Peening or working of steels should not be done between these temperatures since they are more brittle in this range than above it or below it.

In blacksmithing there is an old saying, "You'll go to hell for beating on cold iron"

That said, A friend of mine swings a hammer fast enough to bring steel in the black heat range 800° to 1000°F back up to a visible low red 1200° to 1400°F. I've seen others do the same with a power hammer. The point being that above the blue brittle range extreme deformation can bring the steel up to near critical.

The alloy steels you listed will work harden much sooner than the low carbon steel. Neither is recommended for cold working.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 09/15/00 02:55:56 GMT

i have a 25# little giant with flat dies. can i use it to chamfer the corners of 3/8 and 1/2" HR square without damaging my hammer or dies? this chamfering is light and occasional, and done cold.
dennis smith  <dsmith3725 at aol.com> - Friday, 09/15/00 13:04:41 GMT

Cold Chamfering: Dennis, Yes. Just don't get carried away and try to make chamfers over 1/16" wide. Keep the machine well lubricated. Guides, bearings, clutch. YES, the clutch. For cold forging it won't hurt to oil the dies too.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 09/15/00 13:13:51 GMT

What do you mean by 'setting down'?
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Friday, 09/15/00 14:26:21 GMT

I'm interested in finding out about "traditional" blacksmithing finishes and where to get them. Are they oils, waxes, both? Can anyone point me to a source? Thanks for your help.
greg  <sharpfrets at hotmail.com> - Friday, 09/15/00 14:35:21 GMT

Hi I have made various small stuff out of metal and thought that the black finish was paint on the blacksmith projects , so I painted my projects. Paint looks like paint and I was woundering how you guyes put a black finish.
please email me the step by step details.
al  <al_1_msa at yahoo.com> - Friday, 09/15/00 15:00:22 GMT

Paw Paw: No, the words on the anvil do not look like "Mankel"> There are at least 9 letters, maybe 11. I appreciate all the effort you are putting into trying to help me identify this anvil. Thanks. Paul
paul  <pmetzger at inlink.com> - Friday, 09/15/00 15:21:36 GMT

ralph, I mean creating the taper right behind an enlarged area, like a leaf.
coondogger  <onehorse at mediaone.net> - Friday, 09/15/00 15:25:35 GMT

That is a skill that just takes practice. And a littel thought as to what you are doing.
For a leaf example Before actually forming the leaf I neck down the area just behind where the leaf will be. Using either a spring fuller or some sort of guillatine tool(or the horn and the peen side of the hammer) Also for round stock, you have to make it square and tehn taper down then make it an octagon and then make that round.....

At least that is how I do it... probably a zillion other ways as well......

Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Friday, 09/15/00 16:12:47 GMT

thanks ralph. i think my problem is i've been working with round stock and not squaring like you're suggesting. can i neck down the area using the edge of the anvil?
coondogger  <onehorse at mediaone.net> - Friday, 09/15/00 18:06:08 GMT


yes you can. I use a combination of the horn and the anvil edge. To me the secret to smithing is use what works for you. I use almost all teh sides and ends of my anvil all the time. I often move around my anvil as I work til I find just the right spot. I have been told by friends I look like a dog trying to find a place to make a bed....
PawPaw, now you be quiet!!!!

Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Friday, 09/15/00 18:44:10 GMT


I use a spring fuller to start the neck down. If you need, I'll try to get a picture of the one I use.


(VBG) you aought know better than give me an opening like that! Been sniffing around again, huh? (VBG) I'm gonna tell Dawn on you! (BGOA)

Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 09/15/00 19:03:25 GMT

Natural black finish: Al, Step by step:
  • Heat to a yellow heat
  • Forge to shape
  • Cool and wire brush off loose scale.
  • Wax, oil or paint with clear lacquer.

    That pretty blue black is the color of the scale (anhydrous iron oxide) that forms on the surface of heated iron/steel.

    You can reproduce it with paint but it is very difficult.

    Greg, The wax/oil is sometimes burnt on, but sometimes its just applied cold. Some finishes are a mixture of bees wax and some boiled linseed oil. I do not recommend these "natural" or traditional finishes except for "quick and dirty" use. They are also rather temporary and almost always rust except in the driest climates. They are never suitable for exterior work.

  • - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 09/15/00 19:36:37 GMT

    Introducing, Cracked Anvil: The newest member of the color guard.

    A humorist in our midst who wishes to remain anonymous. He has been filling my mail box with his witticisms for years.
    Mail to Cracked goes to the -guru and may or may not be forwarded. Cracked has the ability to post here directly and may be inteced to do so on some occasions. Many of his comments may be posted by myself and have been edited prior to posting.

    He is also a great source of information that has been a help to me many times.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 13:26:22 GMT

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