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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 16 - 21, 2000 on the Guru's Den
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can anyone tell me where i can find info on HOW TO on metal illuminaties - i have 40 round cans i want to make illuminaries out of - specifically - what to put into the can so it won't crush - tools to make shapes - patterns and ideas book
tammie  <aaronassoc at aol.com> - Saturday, 09/16/00 02:07:23 GMT

can you help me with sheetmetal layout for example square to round and the like?
louis  <itfct at hixnet.co.za> - Saturday, 09/16/00 12:07:45 GMT

Luminair, illuminaties, lumens: Tammie, I don't have a clue where you would find info on the web. Your library should have something under crafts, colonial.

The only ones I've seen had patterns punched in the metal using a center punch (round holes) or a cold chisle (slits). Those two tools and a hammer are the only tools needed.

To support the can a piece of soft wood (pine) clamped to a bench so that it over hangs the edge by no more than the depth of the can can be used. This piece should be long enough to clamp to the front and back ot the bench or table. The wood should be shaped to the curvature of the can and be as large will fit. On large cans a 2x4" (framing lumber) can be used turned on edge. This provides a narrow but rigid support and requires little effort to fit to the curvature of the can. Leather belting can be wraped around the working surface to provide a surface that is both soft and longer lasting than the wood.

Layout your pattern and start punching.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 09/16/00 15:37:23 GMT

Sheet metal layout: Louis, I don't think I understand your question. Circles are laid out using a compass. On our 21st century page under math we have two articles covering ovals and cones.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 09/16/00 15:42:07 GMT

I have very recently became interested in blade makeing (knife blades or sword blades). I've yet to make one and am currently trying to gather materials. I am a tool-maker at a local powder metal factory so i have good access to a variety of steels and alloys. but this is my question, i want to make a rather long slender blade like a sword blade, now from what i understand alot of the finer blades are made from A-2 tool steel. so i have purchased the toolsteel and i am anxious to get started.. but i really don't understand the meaning of "folding the metal". and do i really need alot of blacksmithing tools to do this? also, to form a blade like described above do i need a furnace, or fire? umm just about any info i can get on how to do this would be greatly appreciated. Also a question more to do with metalurgy than blacksmithing i guess, to make the blade strong yet able to withstand heavy and hard blows, what would i need to add to the toolsteel. (for instance) old japanese sword makers would add iron pebbles from the streams to thier metal while forging it. do i need to do this? thanks for all the help guru....
adam  <taylor_plyr at yahoo.com> - Saturday, 09/16/00 17:54:48 GMT

A-2 and Iron pebbles: Adam, I'll send you an e-mail. However, where ever you got this collection of misinformation, don't go there anymore. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 09/16/00 18:13:55 GMT

Guru -

Please explain brazing in the forge for me. Do you use copper, brass, bronze, etc.? Do you use flux, and if so, is borax okay? Also, if you get any of the brazing materials in the forge, will it prevent forge-welding later on?
Bob Rackers  <rackersr at home.net> - Saturday, 09/16/00 20:18:08 GMT

Forge Brazing: Bob, There are a variety of methods. The classical one is using "spelter" which was the equivalent to ground up brazing rod. You heat and flux with the parts borax. Then you sprinkle on the spelter and stick the parts together. The parts may be clamped together or setting side by side and given a tap to push them together. For brazing to work the surface under the clear melted borax must be bright (ie look like clean metal).

The only time I've used it was making a cow bell following the method I found in one of the foxfire books. I braze better with a torch. .

Bill Epps makes what he calls "penny" welds using material from a penny. Make sure its a pre 1983 penny. They are a low tin bronze. Later ones are made from zinc and copper. There is not enough copper to classify the total as brass. Same technique as above.

This is one of those techniques that takes practice and has its range of applications.

I've always heard the parable about copper and forge welding but do not know if it is true or not. Most folks have enough trouble forge welding consistantly that there can be many reasons for failure. It doesn't hurt to clean the ashes from your forge once in a while anyway. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 09/17/00 00:00:39 GMT

I live in northeastern Pa. and I restore old tractors and walk belhind garden tractors. I have this Blacksmiths drill, so Iv'e been told. It is a manual drill press made in Lancaster, Pa. by Champion Blower and Forge Co. I would like to know the approximate year it was made and any thing else I can find out about it.
Lyle  <oakesla at epix.net> - Sunday, 09/17/00 00:16:46 GMT

Dear Guru
My name is Bill. I have been interested in metal working since junior high school. After high school i got into working in a body shop. Allways keeping my interest in metal work and wrought iron work. My problem is that i use an oxy-acetelene setup to heat my metal. In the last little while my interest has really grown to the point of investing in some kind of forge. I have been looking for some direction in the making of a propane forge. Could you please help me out in any way you can.
Thanks for your time,
Bill Hatcher  <bill_hatcher at telus.net> - Sunday, 09/17/00 01:13:29 GMT

I am starting to accumulate the materials to build a small air hammer. I have found hydraulic cylinders are about half the price of air cylinders and and much more readily available. In Mark Krause's book he describes using a hydraulic cylinder as the drive cylinder are there any problems anyone can see with using a hydraulic cylinder as the ram cylinder as well.
JNewman  <newmanj at attglobal.net> - Sunday, 09/17/00 01:18:33 GMT

Old Drill: Lyle, This question comes up often enough that someone should write a book. The majority of the patents on these devices date from the 1870's and 1880's. They were in common use until the 1930's when electification became nearly universal.

There were several makers of these machines but they were all very similar. The major makers were Champion and Buffalo.

Most of the older ones came mounted on a hardwood board with beveled edges. As an antique it would be worth more with the original board.

All the blacksmith's drills took "blacksmith's bits". These were bits with 1/2" shanks. Unlike modern bits where it is common to find larger drills with 1/2" shanks these were made down to 1/16" (~2mm) with the larger shanks.

You can find illustrations of these machines in many old catalogs, some of which are in reprint such as the ols Sears catalogs. See our 21st Century page for a sample.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 09/17/00 01:35:37 GMT

Gas Forge: Bill, See our Plans page. There is a list of links on the forge burner plan.

Did you know that early Oxy-acetylene sets were sold as "forges". You can do a lot with some fire bricks and a rose bud but its expensive fuel and a lot hotter than necessary.

Small oil furnace burners can also be used to fire an oil forge. They run hotter than gas and the reducing atmosphere is more condusive to forge welding.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 09/17/00 02:05:33 GMT

Hydraulic Cylinders: JNewman, Hydraulic cylinders are fine except that some have too much seal friction. In cylinders that can be dissasembled you can remove one of the seals where they use dual seals. Worn cylinders can often be used as-is.

Hydraulic cylinders are of much heavier construction than air cylinders and are actually better for building an air hammer. Most have much heavier tubes and mountings.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 09/17/00 02:16:08 GMT

Ok time for a silly question, I have done (well tried to do) a little flintknapping. I was thinking, If I could get a piece of steel hard and brittle enough, could it be chipped like obsidian or flint?
I know it would take a super fine grain structure almost glass like microstructure and probably a lot more pressure. Any ideas on a good alloy?
Also, I know I saw a chart on identifying steel alloy from spark testing but I can't find the page. Could you point me in the right direction please?
Thanks, Moldy Jim
Moldy  <njordan at epud.comcheesecake> - Sunday, 09/17/00 05:05:35 GMT

Guru: What type of material can you recommend for a corkscrew? That seems like a simple, inexpensive project for a novice, but I'm not sure what I should ask for at the local steel yard. What about using ring-shank nails? They are of considerably harder material than common nails and of a size that could be worked down to corkscrew dimensions.

thanks for your help
kalvin wille  <kjwille at aol.com> - Sunday, 09/17/00 05:07:37 GMT

Can you tell me anything about old tools used by the blacksmith? In particular, what sort of monkey wrence or its equivalent was used in the early to mid 19th century?
Does the term "monkey wrench" have special meaning for blacksmiths?
I thank you for your time and expertise.
Raymond G Dobard
Raymond Dobard  <Rdobard at aol.com> - Sunday, 09/17/00 07:15:10 GMT

Just getting started. I bought a rivet forge (Champion Blower and Forge Co. - Lancaster, PA) at auction and stamped in the pan is "Clay(?)Forge before using" I think this means put a clay base in the pan. If so what do I use and how much?? Also, do you know any of the history of this forge? It's a hand crank blower.
Thank you..I'm sure I'll have many more questions as I get going.

Mike Salvino  <msalvino at shentel.net> - Sunday, 09/17/00 11:11:23 GMT

when i clean out my firepot, i notice that some of the coke is very obviously coke, and there is some unburned coal, but also a lot of gravel-like stuff that could be either one. also, how large can clinkers get? are they always much smaller than the coke pieces?
coondogger  <jessie> - Sunday, 09/17/00 11:18:22 GMT

Moldy Jim,

I've got a copy of the chart. I tried to forward it to you, but the message bounced.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 09/17/00 13:31:18 GMT

Coondogger: At John C. Campbell they used to have a clinker on the wall that was a perfect 8" x 10" oval with a 3" central hole. It was formed by someone not cleaning out the fire over a full day of class while leaving the blast running. The biggest I've ever managed is about 2"x4". Good coal will form bigger clinkers than bad coal. The crap I'm using at the moment makes little rice-grain sized clinkers that are h*** to clean out.
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Sunday, 09/17/00 14:28:56 GMT

Steel knapping: Moldy, I've seen tool steel spall similar to flint. It would need to be very hard and not tempered. . . But its something good steels are designed NOT to do.

Spark testing for alloys. I've got it somewhere. It only roughly gives you a clue to certain elements like manganese. I see if I can find it. If its in a recent book I'll let you know which one. Remind me if I forget. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 09/17/00 16:39:17 GMT

Cork Screw: Kalvin, These take tremondous strain. I'd try mild steel first. Then a medium carbon steel like 4140. On the steels of higher carbon than mild steel a part like this should not be very hard. Temper back to about 800°F. You want toughness more than hardness.

The best tool for getting corks out of bottles is a little device with two thin spring steel fingers that slip between the cork and the bottle. You wiggle it in then twist and pull. Pops the cork out slick as a whistle without hurting it! My wife bought one at a California winery about 15 years ago and we wouldn't use any other kind since.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 09/17/00 16:45:56 GMT

Blacksmith Tools: Raymond, In traditional blacksmithing smiths did not use an adjustable wrench of any type. If they did it was a one-off made by the individual smith. For twisting they would use double handled tools that are a sort of a wrench. However, modern smiths use a "Stiltson" wrench for twisting or a special non-adjustable twisting wrench with a variety of jaw or notch sizes.

In blacksmithing a "monkey" tool is a block of iron with holes in it used to back up work while riveting and punching.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 09/17/00 16:54:35 GMT

Kalvin, and guru.

I've made corkscrews out of mild steel. Quench in room temperature water from the working heat, and they work fine.

One neat thing about them. Do two for samples. On with a left hand twist, and one with a right hand twist. Ask folks if they can tell the difference.
Darn few folks notice, but if they'r south paws, they'll buy in a heart beat!
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 09/17/00 17:00:40 GMT

I seem to remember that the turm monkey wrench can from machensts or maybe pipe fitters in the 20's there was a story that went allong with the name but for the life of me I can't remember it.
MP  <mparkinson at mpmatelworks.com> - Sunday, 09/17/00 19:18:33 GMT

Guru - For future reference, The FOOS Manufacturing Company of Springfield, Ohio was in business from 1885-1893.
They made blacksmith tools, including portable forges & blowers. I have a small miner's or propspector's forge made by them.
Bob Rackers  <rackersr at home.net> - Monday, 09/18/00 00:07:16 GMT

is it safe to assume that if it has brown or gray and is harder than coke, but not angular like green coal, then it's probably a clinker?
coondogger  <onehorse at mediaone.net> - Monday, 09/18/00 01:02:59 GMT

another question. i've been bending stuff by sticking it in the hardie hole. it works. but would i be better off using scroll forks or my vice?
coondogger  <onehorse at mediaone.net> - Monday, 09/18/00 01:04:59 GMT

coondogger~~(being frum Ky. I kinda like that name-bg)I have a large coffee can full of "U"s. From 1/8" for little bitty curls on vent picks for flintlocks to 1/2" for pokers and campfire sets etc. that I use in the vise. But I have a few made for the hardy that I can whack on when I need to. The horn gets some use too. I guess it's what ever works best for the job and what you get accustomed to using.
jerry  <birdlegs> - Monday, 09/18/00 01:57:43 GMT

Wrenches, Scrolling and Clinkers:

I use an old Ford wrench, with the edges of the jaws rounded as an adjustable scrolling wrench. One problem with using the hardy hole for turning a scroll is it's rather limited to how far you can pull the turn. Check out Peter Lindbergh 's quick and simple rig under "Benders" on the "21st Century" page.

The key point about clinker is it doesn't burn. It may glow when you break the fire, but it doesn't add to the heat, just absorbs it. The acid test is to segregate it and see if it ignites under a torch. If you're using anthracite, the clinker doesn't consolidate, and it a dickens to sort out. The coke, however, is grey and has a feel like fine sandpaper while the clinker tends to be heavier, glassier and/or "spikier". It sort of stick to the fingers. I suspect that this may apply to low grade bitiminous, too. It's mostly just one of those things based on experience and exposure, which is why beginning solo smiths go a little crazy trying to sort it out.

(If the size of the clinker is equivalent to the quality of the coal, I must have been using some dynamite stuff last night!)

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Monday, 09/18/00 02:11:47 GMT

I just acquired this tinsmith tool? and was wondering if anyone could tell me what it's called and a little bit more about it's use. The link is
Brian  <bkit72 at aol.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 02:42:23 GMT

FOOS Bob, Thanks! Now where I am going to store that jewel of information. . . :)

Bending in Hardy the Hole: Coondogger, Yes it is done very commonly. I would just caution you not to cold bend large pieces in the hardy hole. This is the weakest place on the anvil and there are many broken off at the hardy hole. It takes a lot of abuse but it happens. Anvils are not indestructable.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 03:00:02 GMT

Clinkers: Good coal should not make a LOT of clinker but it is desirable for the ash to consolidate into clinkers. The consolidation means that the rest of the fire has less ash mixed in the fuel bed. This is one of the measures of good coal.

Why is called a "clinker"? Because the glassy mass makes a "clinking" sound when struck.

Coondogger, those brown lumps are probably stone mixed in the coal. The purest coal is almost pure carbon. At the furthest end of the spectrum is a dark slatey stone that is mostly metamorphic clay. Carbon content makes it black like coal. Coal varies infinitely between they two extreames.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 03:08:52 GMT

Creaser?: Brian, in modern tinsmithing there are dozens of tools used for "creasing" Most are the hand crank type devices with rollers. For large work a brake (sheet metal bender) is used. This appears to be a very early creaser. I've never seen anything like it. Neat treasure.

Anyone else got a clue?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 03:15:19 GMT

I don't know much about blacksmithing, but could anyone explain to me in laymans terms how to re-temper a gig so as
to remove a bend and not weaken the steel?
Jon Mosher  <Moyankee at hotmail.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 07:57:13 GMT

Gig: Jon, tempering is one step in the heattreating process. Roughly: To harden, heat to above the critical point then quench in oil or water. To temper, heat to some temperature below critical depending on hardness desired.

The hardening temperature is generaly a little above where the steel stops being magnetic (a low red heat). The quenchant depends on the type of steel. Some steels are even AIR quench (just cool in room temperature air). Most spring steels oil quench satifactorily.

As-hardened most steels are too hard and very brittle. Tempering reduces the hardness a little while reducing the brittleness a lot. The tempering temperature is generaly between 400°F and 900°F.

For milinia smiths have judged the tempering temperature by the temper colors (those bright rainbow colors that bright steel turns when heated). To use this method all the scale (black iron oxide) must be removed from the part so that it is bright and clean. A polished surface helps. Then the part is gently heated and the temperature determined by the color. Done properly the entire part will have the same temper color. Springs are often tempered to a blue.

Where things get complicated is that most modern steels are alloy steels. They contain chrome or nickle both of which affect the temper colors.

In your case, if it was soft enough to get bent AND it is not a sharp kink, you should be able to straighten it without doing anything to the temper.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 11:51:14 GMT

thanks guys. you've cleared up a little more of my confusion.
coondogger  <onehorse at mediaone.net> - Monday, 09/18/00 12:03:28 GMT

TOM TAYLOR  <CWOOLSEY at CONCOCOMPANIES.COM> - Monday, 09/18/00 12:15:41 GMT

TOM TAYLOR  <CWOOLSEY at CONCOCOMPANIES.COM> - Monday, 09/18/00 12:17:52 GMT

Brian's creaser: Don't know anything about date of manufacture, or brand name, but I got one too.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 12:49:32 GMT

Can anyone give me any information on the leather wrist bands that are often seen in pictures of blacksmiths. How do they work,what are they mean to achieve and how were they made. I am searching for any remedies for overuse injury to my wrist and elbow which are suffering the after effects of polio and and more excercise than was necessary.
Many thanks.
Jim Steele  <bushmansedge at hotmail.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 12:49:49 GMT

Hey, those zealots in the Early American Industries Association have a picture of the mystery tool, in their estimable volume, Jedediah North's Tinner's Tool Business, by John H. Demer, EAIA, 1978. Right there on page 83, exactly the same as the one pictured, mit der adjustable shoe, the works, and Demer calls it a "creasing swage." It belongs to John S. Kebabian, who is a wheel in EAIA.

This is a darn fine book, by the way, as are most of the EAIA publications I've seen. Lots of fine pictures.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 13:06:03 GMT

dear guru,
I'm 15 years old and interested in blacksmithing. Over the summer I took a course that showed me the basics of this craft. This included everything from starting the fire to welding metal together. Now I would like to set up a forge at my home where I can practice some of the things I learned and make some pieces. My question is how to build a forge with a relatively cheap budget of time and money. If you could give me some ideas or diagrams for a forge I would greatly appreciate it.

Ben  <benbanger at hockeymail.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 13:06:43 GMT

Cheap Forge: Ben, See our plans page for the "Brake Drum" forge. Its as cheap as you can get. Having used a real forge you have the advantage of knowing how you may wish to modify the plan. The same design can be expanded to a full size forge.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 13:19:42 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

Guru,that little forge is in a book by Readers Digest under
the name Back to the Basis. It gives a good color picture
of the forge. This book covers life as it was when we weren't dependent on the local Wal-Mart.
Bobby  <nealbrusa at netscape.net> - Monday, 09/18/00 13:27:25 GMT

Guru, how can I get a copy of the book of the hammer by
Mark Krause .
Bobby  <nealbrusa at netscape.net> - Monday, 09/18/00 13:32:03 GMT

By saying "good coal makes a big clinker" what I guess I meant was that with good coal the clinker will consolidate in the bottom of the fire, and not stay as free-floating boogers throughout the fire, which is what the coal I've got at the moment does. It's also pretty ashy and has lots of rocks in it. Too bad I have half a ton of the crap!
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Monday, 09/18/00 13:34:36 GMT

Air hammer book: Yes, I've been derelict in getting the rest of the Junk Yard Hammer photos and article posted. . :( Mark's address:

Mark Krause
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 13:52:36 GMT

Whoops. . .

Mark Krause KBMK13 at prodigy.net
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 14:15:06 GMT

Where can I find a color chart showing the color of different metals?

Kevin MacLellan  <kmaclellan at annatek.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 14:38:05 GMT

Guru, the Mississippi Forge Council has an Editor
for their Site here now check it out.
Thanks for Sponsorship
Bobby  <nealbrusa at netscape.net> - Monday, 09/18/00 15:34:46 GMT

I was just wondering if you give me a lot of information on blacksmithing or anything that has to do with blacksmithing. I am doing a report in my metals 1 class at school and I got this topic on blacksmithing. So if you could please send me some information I would be much abliged.


Levi Streebin
Levi  <lstreebin at bedford.k12.ia.us> - Monday, 09/18/00 16:18:54 GMT

This is a very large topic...
Blacksmithing is in a large part a history of man. At the very least the history of man in the last 2000 years or so.

Basicaly smithing is the art/craft of heating ferrous(iron or steel) to a plastic state(forging temp) and shaping it with a varity of tools, including hammers and anvil(the main tools of the trade), into usable tools and objects. Also includined in this are the use of files, chisels and saws used to shape the metal while cold.

Such items that are made include, hammers, drills saws, punches, chisels, door hardware(hinges and door latches)
mining equipment, logging industry equipment, chain, nails screws, bolts. Basically if it was made of iron or steel a blacksmith made it......

Basic tools a smith needs are: a forge(to hold and contain the fire) to heat the iron, hammers, anvil(does not have to look like one the Coyote uses..., can be a block of steel)
some tongs to hold hot metal.
With these a smith can just about make anything he needs to, including more tools to make the tools he would sell...

This is just a BRIEF overview. If you would go and look at the getting started page on this web site it gives a more indepth look at the tools etc. Also the Guru has a few good historical fiction stories about a smiths life.

Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Monday, 09/18/00 16:44:50 GMT

Does anybody have a cheap method for bending rings out of 3/8" round. I have a cheap jig I use, but the rings never come out flat. Is there an easy method for flattening the rings? There about 10" in diameter.
bret  <banderson at acs.roadway.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 16:59:49 GMT

Do you know where I can get a Heat-Glow Color Chart?
an Oxidation Color Chart for Steel?

Thank you
robert Schlag  <rschlag at eagnet.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 17:21:02 GMT

Any tricks for finding those micro-cracks (from hardening. not bad welds) BEFORE handlapping damascus to a 1000 grit and etching?

(And it was looking so good, really nice edge-pattern on a random-pattern body..... sob.....)
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Monday, 09/18/00 17:52:17 GMT

I've tried to make the dragon fly from "I-forge" and have several problems. Everytime I try to get the wings spread out from the body, there is a squared off piece which extends from the top, blunt chisel line towards the tail and my wings end up looking like flat pieces stuck on the back of the dragonfly with two squared off bent posts. In other words, how do I get the wings to spread from the chisel line outwards and then how to flatten the portions still over the body portion without getting the body portion underneath also flattened?
Dave  <dschw at rocketmail.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 19:41:38 GMT

Rings: Bret, Check the benders in our 21st Century page article. The problem with 3/8" round if you are using hot roll it tends not to be very straight to start sometimes. It also helps if you use a long enough mandrel or drum to coil up a whole length of rod then saw individual rings out of the coil. This will give the most uniform rings. You will have to give thenm a twist at the opening to flatten.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 19:59:45 GMT

Charts: Robert, Tempil the manufacturer of "Tempil" sticks has always had the standard chart for high temperatures. Its not mentioned on their web site but if you call them and ask for their Basic Guide to Ferrous Metallurgy they should still carry them.

The only temper charts I've seen were published in books . . . just checked. The new edition of the one I jnew had it doesn't. I'll look some more and ask if I can reproduce the chart from the first edition.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 20:22:53 GMT

i'm having trouble splitting with a hot chisel because i don't have a hold down or an extra set of hands. is there a safe way to do this working solo?
coondogger  <onehorse at mediaone.net> - Monday, 09/18/00 21:40:47 GMT

splitting what? I mostly do not use hold downs etc.
If the work is rolling around on the anvil then put it on the step(in the corner) to keep it from rolling out from under your chisel.
ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Monday, 09/18/00 21:51:03 GMT

I have a stainless steel question. I've been told 51/60 tool steel is user friendly. Is there a user friendly stainless steel to forge white feathers??? I am going to forge and engrave a profile of a bald eagle head, maybe 8x 10 inches. I will be welding it with the HENROBB 2000 torch. Chris C
Chris C  <contosc at mv.prescott.k12.az.us> - Monday, 09/18/00 22:20:57 GMT

ralph, you mean just snug it up against the "riser" of the step? i guess that would keep it from rolling out from the chisel. i'll give it a try. thanks.
coondogger  <onehorse at mediaone.net> - Monday, 09/18/00 22:24:51 GMT

Thanks for the info on the hydraulic cylinders Guru going with a hydraulic cylinder should make it much easier to find a junkyard one or inexpensive new one.
JNewman  <newmanj at att.net> - Monday, 09/18/00 22:25:24 GMT

Dragon Fly: Dave, I've never made one of these but there are two things that may help. Most smtihs today use very thin hot chisles made of hot work alloy steel. They look more like wood working chisles than metal. Most of the blacksmithing suppliers carry them. Give Kayne and Son a call.

Then after carefully splitting and opening up, Bill has a step you may be skipping. He dresses the area you speak of with a dull chisel (like a small fuller). This type tool should have the corners ground smooth and round (semi spherical) and the front just slightly arced so that is smooths in all directions.

Other than that some of these items take a LOT of skill and control. There are many I would not attempt today do to my lack of practice even though I still generaly handle a hammer well. The tiny detailed stuff is tricky.

Just keep trying.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 23:37:09 GMT

SS: Chris, The most common stainless 304, is also the most friendly. Just remember that SS is red hard (compared to carbon steel) and needs to be worked hotter. Also be sure to clean any carbon steel scale and rust from your anvil and tools. Embedded steel is the most common staining problem with SS. Be sure to use SS wire brushes with SS. NOTE that as-forged SS is the same color as carbon steel. Scale must be removed physicaly or chemicaly.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 09/18/00 23:52:47 GMT

Olle, Have you tried Magnaflux dye penetrant ? we use it to find imperfections in welds on pipe in power plants, finds the tiniest of cracks. just clean off with the cleaner,let dry,spray on penetrant and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes,wipe off do not spray with cleaner or you may clean dye out of cracks, then spray on what looks like white paint, the dye will bleed through if there are any cracks
Tom L  <Tjlapples at aol.com> - Tuesday, 09/19/00 00:37:48 GMT

On the subject of my experience I am completely a bright eyed teenager, although i do have a couple clues...Anyway my question is probably a simple one for someone who knows what they are doing. How do I start a forge fire. I made my fisrt attempt at it tonight and failed. I filled the fire pot and wrapped a fire starter log in some paper and put it in the coal, I now relize, after talking to several people about it, I should have put it deeper, if thats all I have to do Thats great. I did use my blower. I have been told several different ways to start a fire, walnut shells wrapped in paper, paper with kerosene, starting a fire with kindling and after that gets going then to put the coal on it. I am at a loss for what to do. Would you please tell me your way or at least tell me what I am doing wrong. By the way I am using Pennsylvania Arthricite, I dont know if that is a good or a bad coal to use.

Please help me....
David Seeber  <insane_milkshake_stalker at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 09/19/00 00:50:14 GMT

RINGS -- I use an old pipe threader {Elt}. I have a few sizes of pipe I use in the threader. I clamp on end down and turn on the threader. It goes slow enough that you can control feeding the stock. I feed a whole piece in at once 20' for most stock, when all done I cut off the rings required bend them to together and weld.. clean them up and there are my rings.. Use them for wine racks,hanging plants.etc etc..I have sizes from 1/2" to 7" the 7" one is acut off of an old fire extigusher with a pipe welded on to fit the threadser...
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Tuesday, 09/19/00 01:13:42 GMT

While I have never used it with coal I don't see why this wouldn't work.
I was out of lighter fluid for my barbeque one day as a bunch of friends arived for dinner. I had been doing some work with my heat gun earlier in the day, so I turned it on and pointed the heat gun at the charcoal. Within a very few minutes the coals were lit and getting nice and hot. Made some really good porkchops with sage, garlic, rosmary. No taste of starter fluid either.
Try it on your coal and I bet it lights easy for you.

Moldy Jim
Moldy  <njordan at epud.net.fish> - Tuesday, 09/19/00 02:10:32 GMT

JNewman, I built a Kinyon-style air hammer last year and used a hydraulic cylinder. The hammer can be seen at: http://www.starsticker.com/blacksmith%20Shop.htm I would recommend using one but with the knowledge that you will need slightly more air. I had to build a new compressor starting with a 120 gallon tank from Graingers. The higher volume helps. Any questions I'd be glad to answer. Tim Cisneros, Cisneros Forgeworks. e-mail: blacksmith at starsticker.com
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Tuesday, 09/19/00 03:57:46 GMT

Brian's Creaser:

Similer/simpler tinsmithing tools are found on Page 118 of "Colonial Wrought Iron; the Sorber Collection" by Don Plummer; (c) 1999; Skipjack Press, Ocean Pines, MD; LoC 99-070856; ISBN 1-879535-16-5.

I'll have to do a review for the book shelf soon. A comprehensive and informative tome.

Cool and cloudy on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come have a row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Tuesday, 09/19/00 12:23:06 GMT

I need a lot of information or sites that contain information about blacksmithing. If you can help me please email me at lstreebin at beford.k12.ia.us. thanks
Levi Streebin  <lstreebin at bedford.k12.ia.us> - Tuesday, 09/19/00 16:07:21 GMT

In that case if you want to wade thru over 2 years of posts and information go to the archieves on this web site and start reading.
I am not sure what it is you are truely looking for.
I am not sure if there is any one location that has the definitive 'A to Z' on black smithing. At least not in a easy to sit and read format. This web site has the most that I have found.
If you have specific questions after browsing around the archives feel free to ask.
I do not think anyone here will have the time to try and write an A to Z book for you, BUT we will be happy to clear up questions for you. But I do recommend that you look thru the archives to get a basic understanding of the scope of blacksmithing.
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Tuesday, 09/19/00 16:32:50 GMT

Does anybody know of any good resources out there for information regarding startup of a small business (iron metalworking) furniture, candleholders, crafts....I live in the Akron Ohio area. I am looking for suggested equipment, shop space and any other advice anybody would have for me.
bret anderson  <banderson at acs.roadway.com> - Tuesday, 09/19/00 16:37:03 GMT

How is the best way to clean brass?
Penny  <PWendele at aol.com> - Tuesday, 09/19/00 16:37:30 GMT


If the item is small enough, put a tablespoon of cream of tartar spice into an aluminum pan with enough boiling water to cover the item. Allow to boil for at least 15 minutes. Remove from the stove and allow to cool. All of the corrosion will have dissolved, and the item can be wiped clean with a soft rag. To bring to a high shine, use a product called BRASSO. Most drug stores carry it in the same area as shoe polish. (Don't ask me WHY, but that's where I've always found it! grin) If the item is too large for this procedure, then BRASSO and elbow grease will work.

As an ex GI, I've shined a LOT of brass, and these are the methods that i use.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 09/19/00 17:48:31 GMT

Start up: Bret, Jack Andrews covers the subject of a business plan clearly and with great thought in his book "The NEW Edge of the Anvil". See our book review (linked from home page).

As far as equipment and shop space are concerned you should have a good idea of your needs based on the products you intend to manufacture and the processes you intend to use. If you don't then you probably don't know enough about the business to be going into it as a start up. Skilled blacksmiths often turn out mountains of product from microscopic shops. Unskilled laborers making the same product may have ten times the facilities requirements.

The problem for most smiths is finding an outlet for their product at a price at which they can make a living. Marketing a relatively expensive hand made product is the real problem.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 09/19/00 18:11:16 GMT

I am a historian working at Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark. At present I am conducting an inventory of all artifacts in our collection, and I am having trouble identifying some forge tools which are listed. It would be a big help if you could describe the following tools: punch bolster, necking tool, bolt header tool, radius cutter, a pair of chain welding hammer dies. Any information you could give would be appreciated, or possibly a good reference book although I have been through at least 15 of those. thank you.
john springer  <jskorzeny at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 09/19/00 19:19:03 GMT

HELP... I have 10-15 children 5-6 yrs old coming to visit a blacksmith tommorow can you suggest a demonstration project I thought about maybe doing a puzzle (two horse shoes and a ring) but any other suggestions would be helpfull.. thanks Mark
mark  <mparkinson2 at home.com> - Tuesday, 09/19/00 21:35:54 GMT

Kindergarteners: Mark, take a long piece (or two) of 3/8" square (about 8 feet) long, Bend an "L" in the end about 1 foot long. Debur the end. When the class is there, heat the straight end, clamp in vise and let one of the munchkins twist it up.

Cut off 6" of twisted steel and repeat. You may want a sawhorse to support the long bar so it doesn't droop from its own weight. I designed a "twister" for doing this but it needs to be LONG and tested. Paw-Paw made one but it was a little short and the wood was too close to the hot iron and caught fire. The method above will work fine.

THEN, making anything they will recognize. Kindergarten age kids don't have a lot of life experiance. A leaf, a quick scrol, anything you can cool, cut off and pass around.

Whatever you do, make it fast. One or two heats each. Horseshoes are good if simple. Stamp the teacher's name in it.

My absolute BEST audiance was kindergarten kids. To them someone that heats steel yellow hot and shapes it with a hammer is like a god! Be sure to let them know that an anvil is a TOOL, not something for Wilie Coyete to drop on Road Runner (their only expossure to such things).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 09/19/00 22:21:04 GMT

I am just starting to try and learn about blacksmithing. Could you please explain the uses of fullers, flatters, and hardies.
Brian  <cornish at zoomnet.net> - Tuesday, 09/19/00 22:57:04 GMT

TOOLS: John, many of these tools are common but not of common shape.
  • Punch Bolster - A large piece of steel with a hole to match the punch. Is used on flat dies when punching through. Exterior shape may be round, square, hex, round with handling groove or include a handle
  • Necking tool - probably a handled fuller or set of spring dies
  • Bolt header tool - Similar to punch bolster
  • Radius cutter - a lathe or milling cutter
  • Chain welding hammer dies - Large blocks of steel with dovetails to fit a steam hammer. Impressions (or raised area) to support link while welding. Custom, shape could vary
All these are tools still in use in commercial forge shops. In a small shop the "punch bolster" is called a "monkey" tool and often has more than one hole. For medium shops the tool is handled to hold under the hammer dies. A "bolster" can be any one of a variety of support tools.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 09/19/00 23:22:34 GMT

One more question for tonight. I have read your reviews of the NC whisper Baby and Momma forges, do you have any advice or opinion on the Whisper Deluxe. Thanks
Brian  <Cornish at zoomnet.net> - Tuesday, 09/19/00 23:25:43 GMT

  • The fuller is a tool with a cylindrical or eliptical section used to spread the metal like squeezing with your fingers. The round face is more efficient than the flat or nearly flat hammer face making is much more efficient. There can be pairs of top and bottom fullers OR pairs held together by a long bent leaf string. Bottom fullers can have a square shank to fit in a hardy hole or a flat back. Fullers can be little things a fraction of an inch wide to hugh things you can't pick up designed to go under a steam hammer. The fuller gets its name from a similar tool used to make fabric soft by "fullering" to make more full.
  • A flatter is a handled tool with a flared flat face used for flattening or smoothing a surface, particularly after fullering. Common blacksmiths flatters can have an eye for a wooden handle or a gqoove for a wythe. For use on large power forging hammers they will look like a cube or rectangular block of steel on a long slender steel handle.
  • A Hardy is a chisle shaped tool with a square shank to fit the hardy hole. There can be "hot" and "cold" hardies the cold being stout like a cold chisle the hot being slender. Many other tools fit the square "hardy" hole in an anvil but only the chisle tool is a "hardy".
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 09/19/00 23:37:15 GMT

John Springer: The best book for power hammer tool illustrations that I have found is "Blacksmiths Manual Illustrated" by J.W.Lillico,technical press, 1930-1970. I believe that Norm Larson and Centaur Forge both carry reprints.
Shows among other tools, a radious tool for use under the hammer -- fig 1 plate 25.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Wednesday, 09/20/00 01:13:29 GMT

I am a welding instructor located in Salisbury MD. I am looking for information on building a powerhammer in our shop. Any information or suggestions would be appreciated. This would not be a reconditioning but a fabrication.Thanks for any information.
biazzio  <biazzio at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 09/20/00 03:33:00 GMT

NC Whisper Deluxe: Brian, it has the same basic firebox as the Momma. The big difference is that it only has a front door. These work well for farriers and folks working short stock that fits horizontaly in the door.

You have to remember that gas forges limit the size work you can do and have to be sized to the work you do or intend to do. Bigger is generaly better but then fuel costs more.

The biggest advantage to a coal forge is the range of work they accept with the same efficiency. The biggest disadvantage of a gas forge is that they have a narrow range of usefullness.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 09/20/00 04:17:58 GMT

Hammer plans: Biazzio, see our JYH-Event page or the Power hammer Page and find the JYH catalog. This will give you some ideas. ABANA sells the Simple Air Hammer plans and the Appalachain Chapter of ABANA sells plans for "Old-Rusty". Neither set of plans are designed to take advantage of a full machine shop but are better suited to a welding program.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 09/20/00 04:24:01 GMT

Grand Meier, What type of steal should be used with A203e for pattern welded blades?
L.Sundstrom - Wednesday, 09/20/00 12:20:52 GMT

Alternative ways to clean small brass or copper object:
If you don't have anything more exotic, soaking the metal in vinegar will dissolve a lot of the crud. A weak solution of hydrochloric (muriatic) acid works good too, but is more dangerous to have around. You can buy concentrated acid at the hardware store.
Neal Bullington  <nrobertb at aol.com> - Wednesday, 09/20/00 12:31:30 GMT

I have a WWII German anvil with no obvious (to me) foundry markings & I would like to identify the place of manufacture. Has a serial # stamped on the foot, the letters
J E B, flanked by eagles, stamped on the side of the base.
To see pictures, go to: www.gatheround.com...select: FIND AN ALBUM...enter my e-mail i.d. & the password: german anvil.
If anyone can steer me to where I can get info on which foundry produced this piece, I'd be very grateful. Thanks for any help you can provide
john  <jhunt2 at midsouth.rr.com> - Wednesday, 09/20/00 12:31:52 GMT

MARK: I did a demo two weeks ago for a bunch of kids, screwdrivers, horseshoes, "J" hooks and "S" hooks work great. They are really impressed when you turn the item to "gold" with your brass wire brush.
Clint  <bearsden at tdn.com> - Wednesday, 09/20/00 13:57:19 GMT

I am looking for some small metalworking that is in the design of grapes or leafs. Essentially, what I would like to do is find some thin metalworked grapes or leafs that I can apply to jars and large bottles to make some commemorative items.
Jay  <jbircher at amgen.com> - Wednesday, 09/20/00 15:07:14 GMT

German Anvil: John, You need to be looking for a iron works or forge. The reason I say this is that there are square handling holes in the waist. These almost always indicate a forged anvil, not cast. Look at the bottom, it may have another one of those square holes in the center.

The JEB and Eagles are the marks you are looking for. On forged anvils All the markings are stamped INTO the anvil.

I'm afraid that's all I can tell you. Its a beautiful piece. Do you mind if I use your photographs?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 09/20/00 15:36:51 GMT

Larry: 1st choice W1 with 1.25% carbon, 2nd choice W2 with 1.0% carbon, 3rd choice W1 1.0% carbon, 4th choice 1095. Some people use O1, but me and O1 don't get along well.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Wednesday, 09/20/00 17:17:14 GMT

Guru..& Clint.. thanks for the suggestions did the demo this morning went great let the kids make twists and then made a horseshoe puzzle went on to do a couple of hooks ..... the brass brush really impressed them thanks guys .... kids sang a song about blacksmiths for me to say thanks... made my day... their theacher told me her huband worked for the railroad and where they dump the old spikes .... I phoned and talked to them now I've got spikes for the rest of my life Thanks again guys

mark  <mparkinson2 at home.com> - Wednesday, 09/20/00 20:41:27 GMT


That's the way it works. Contacts come from the strangest places.

gonna send you an article that a magazine purchased from me. I think you'll appreciate it.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 09/20/00 20:55:31 GMT

Mark, I held this back because it was too late and I didn't want to ruin your day. Cracked has some valid points and I'm sure you covered some of them. Some are things we all need to think about before doing demos. - guru

I'm not sure I want to post this, but... to the guy with the kids coming to his shop:
  1. Triple your liability insurance right this minute!
  2. Give each one of the little darlings a pair of safety glasses!
  3. Outfit them all with steel-toed boots and a full set of leathers!
  4. Make them stand well back from the anvil.
  5. Tell them 3rd degree burns hurt something awful and that black stuff is HOT!
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 09/20/00 21:25:49 GMT

Item 3 (above)Leathers: Its a bit much but I HAVE considered putting together some stands with Lexan shields to put around the anvil.

Can you imagine what an OSHA anvil would look like?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 09/20/00 21:39:02 GMT

Anybody remember the site that had photos of all different kinds of euro style anvils? Can't seem to find it.
Pete  <Ravnstudio at aol.com> - Wednesday, 09/20/00 23:22:53 GMT

been using welder's goggles with a clear polycarbonate lens. I've heard that there's something more impact resistant on the market. I think it's a lexan lens. anyone know who makes it, or where I can get a safety lens like that?
coondogger  <onehorse at mediaone.ent> - Wednesday, 09/20/00 23:32:44 GMT

I am constructing a set of garden gates for a client. The client request that the (tulip Leaves) I have in the gates be rusty. Other than patinas , how can I advance the rust process? Or what would normally be done?
Bryan Scott Absher  <bryan at pritchettbros.com> - Thursday, 09/21/00 02:00:37 GMT

I'm having a problem with recrystalization while forging 7075 and 7175 aircraft grade aluminum. I'm reducing the cross sectional area about 60% in one heat. I've been told it is due to too long a soak time at temperature (800 deg. F) which is causing excessive grain growth. My time at temp. is one hour per inch of thickness. I tried reductions in heat time as well as temperature (as low as 700 deg. F) to no avail. Is it possible I am moving the material too fast? Is there a difference between grain growth and recrystalization? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
LD  <l.dahlke at worldnet.att.net> - Thursday, 09/21/00 02:02:28 GMT

Hey, Guru! I'm interested in making a hobby out of smithing. I'm about 14, have 0 experience, and an extremly limited income. I don't plan on a future in smithing, but really want to know some basic facts. Is it extremly hard, or easy once you know the basics? How much does an average setup (forge, anvil, etc...) cost? And should I really be considering such a tedious hobby this early in my life? My goal is to one day be able to "work" with metal for fun.
Ryan Snyder  <pokemonman_ultra at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 09/21/00 02:54:54 GMT

Site with Euro Anvils: Pete, Its on our links page and Emile's links too.

Jöel Becker's unbelievable collection of antique anvil photos (Many from his anvil collection). French - If you don't read French, go to: Les Enclumes, c'est beau... je collectionne... and Photos d'enclumes d'amis
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 09/21/00 04:12:44 GMT

RUST: Bryan, First advise your client that the tulips may be gone in a few years without a satifactory finish.

That said. Chlorox bleach works well.

Sharon Epps answered your question on the Slack-Tub Pub,
Hydrogen Peroxide, w/1 Tablespoon of Muratic Acid per pint of hydrogen peroxide. Warm the piece you want to rust not hot just warm. Apply the mixture w/spray bottle, and you get instant rust.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 09/21/00 04:25:13 GMT

BASICS: Ryan, "Tedious hobby?"

Read our Getting Started article, then the 21st Century page and then look at plans.

The ONLY tool that is difficult to obtain is an anvil and if you tell EVERYONE you know, relatives, teachers, neighbors. . that you want to learn blacksmithing and need to find an anvil, you would be surprised how many times this produces a free or very inexpensive anvil.

The next method is to search flea markets and junk shops but this is getting less and less productive as time goes on.

Last is to buy a heavy piece of steel. See our anvil series on the 21st Century page. OR if you can afford it new anvils are still manufactured.

A good vise is also recommended and is probably used more than the anvil.

The rest of the tools can be substituted. Channel-lock pliers work for tongs until you can make your own. Forges are easy to build. Common smiths hammers are sold in every hardware store as well as cold chisles.

When I was your age some 35 odd years ago their were few references available to prospective smiths. Today you can easily fill a library. Tonight you conversed with REAL professional smiths in the Slack-Tub Pub. Something that you would have had to have traveled hundreds of miles to do 35 years ago and maybe even as recently as two years ago.

Blacksmithing is great fun. It can also be a small scale business, or just a great learning experiance. Every engineer should have to spend some real time at the anvil!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 09/21/00 04:49:01 GMT

Lexan(tm.) and Polycarbonate are the same thing. Lexan is a trademarked form of polycarbonate (more or less) Although there are different grades of it, such as,UV blocking, static dissapative, colored, etc.
I don't think welding goggles are supposed to be used as safety glasses, this would be more from the lack of proper thickness of the lens than the material itself.
I have been wearing polycarbonate leneses in my glasses for many years. When I get a new pair and the old ones are way past the point of keeping for spares, I have taken the lens out and tried to break it. I have never been able to break the lens no matter how much I wailed on it. Including hitting it with the sharp end of a rock pick.
Polycarbonate is STRONG!
I would just get some good thick safety glasses.
Moldy  <njordan at epud.net.fish> - Thursday, 09/21/00 05:33:15 GMT


I'll never forget my first experience with lexan. The supplier wqanted to sell it to me to cover the stained glass windows in the church where I was maintenance supervisor. I asked him how strong it was. (we were having an occasional problem with bb's) He brought me a piece 1/4" X 24" X 24". Said if I could break it or punch a hole in it he'd take the wife and I out to dinner at the local "elite" steak house.

First I tried suspending it between two stacks of brick and using a sledge hammer. Next I backed my 11,000 pound truck up on it.

I finally did get a hole in it, but it took a 12 gage shotgun at near point blank range while the lexan was RIGIDLY mounted to a steel frame.

Never did get my steak.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 09/21/00 13:06:05 GMT

Paw-Paw, good story!

Lexan (polycarbonate): Its what they make bullet proof glass out of. It does have one problem though. Like most plastics it has a high thermal coeficient of expansion.

We had an application where Lexan cover plates were mounted in very rigid frames and held in place by a rubber gasket. They covered $20,000 lead glass "port holes" 10" (254mm) in diameter.. These worked great for several years until the equipment was put into storage in an unheated facility. At relatively mild South Carolina winter temperatures many of the Lexan covers broke! Split in two! Why? Held absolutly rigid they couldn't shrink in the cold temperature. Something had to go.

Lexan is very commonly used to protect church windows as in Paw-Paw's story . However, it is almost never mounted correctly. Lexan expands and contracts a great deal seasonaly. When installed "tight" in typical masonary instalations the Lexan buckles in the summer and shrinks drum tight in the winter. I'm sure this can damage the building. Large lexan panels need to be fitted according to the current ambient temperature and held by a frame that allows for expansion and contraction. Gaskets cannot be so tight as to clamp the Lexan and prevent movement.

This is a subject we rarely think about because the coeficient of expansion of most materials we commonly deal with are low and relatively close together. We even mix metal and masonary indescriminantly. The only time this becomes a problem is in places like fireplaces where there are large swings in temperature.

Just something to keep in mind if you build something with a piece of lexan in it.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 09/21/00 14:23:28 GMT


I want to find a forging company that resides in India, Russia, China, Brazil or South America which can forge heavy truck crankshafts.

Thank you
Nasir Machine  <pezeshki at nasirmachine.com> - Thursday, 09/21/00 14:32:04 GMT


I want to find a forging company that resides in India, Russia, China, Brazil or South America which can forge heavy truck crankshafts.

Thank you
Pezeshki  <pezeshki at nasirmachine.com> - Thursday, 09/21/00 14:33:48 GMT

i just got a new (old) anvil. it's 162 pounds according to the scale at the scrap yard. it's got a good bounce back if i drop a light hammer on it. and a pleasant and not overly loud ring. however someone obviously tried to put a fire out on the face with a chisel. part of the face is covered with chisel marks. is it ok to try to dress it smooth with an angle grinder? any suggestions for smoothing it?
coondogger  <onehorse at mediaone.net> - Thursday, 09/21/00 15:26:23 GMT

ps: the anvil went for 81 cents a pound. just to show that there are still bargains out there. i found it in a junk yard, and it had been kept in a shed too.
coondogger  <onehorse at mediaone.net> - Thursday, 09/21/00 15:29:25 GMT

thanks for the info on the lexan/polycarbonate. did not know that. the only thing I have against the standard safety glasses is that I wear glasses and they don't fit over them. do they make any that fit over glasses beside from the cheap kind you see at hardware stores?
coondogger  <onehorse at mediaone.net> - Thursday, 09/21/00 15:34:51 GMT

Anvil Grinding: Coondogger, Good deal. Grinding is the only "repair" I generaly recommend as long as you don't get carried away. How do you think the factories got them flat and smooth?

Angle grinders are good but be careful. Some of us can make perfect flat surfaces with them but the majority don't have enough feel for their use. Paw-paw uses a sanding disk in his grinder. I like a belt sander for final finishing. I run them wet on steel and cast iron. A file works well for smoothing the horn.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 09/21/00 15:49:33 GMT

Safety Glasses: I purchase mine from my welding supplier when I only need to replace a pair. When I need more we have a local "Safety Supply" that carries a wide variety of items including every type safety glass made. If you need safety glasses that fit properly (yes they come in different widths) then this is the kind of place to go.

Many Optometrists can order prescription safety glasses.

I prefer a type of safety glasses that have "wire screen" side shields. Once you get used to the protection of the snug fit anything else seems useless. These are the only type allowed workers in the local Intermet foundry (Also worn under full face shields and with IR filters).

I'll post a photo. If you guys can't find them I'll arrange to sell them.

Full face shields are a good option for glasses wearers and give a more general protection of a type that may have saved Paw-Paw from any injury at all. A fellow I know that used to wear out the shields from the constant grinding he was doing started replacing them with 2 liter soda bottle material. He said they were "free", held up well and are made of ploycarbonate (like Lexan)!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 09/21/00 16:20:43 GMT

here's a sticky problem. i have a hardie (hot cutoff) that's frozen in the hardie hole. i've tried turning the anvil upside down and tapping the hardie out with a cold chisel. i've sprayed it lockthaw, a product to unfreeze bolts and things. nothing seems to work. any ideas?
coondogger  <onehorse at mediaone.net> - Thursday, 09/21/00 18:27:51 GMT

How hard did you hit it? From the bottom that is?
I have never had one that would not pop out if tapped from the bottom.
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Thursday, 09/21/00 18:51:58 GMT

Stuck Hardy: I HATE THAT! Hardy shanks and hardy holes are rarely straight. I've had hardies that only fit one way because the hole was so crooked. I've also seen numerous anvils with pieces of stuck hardy and worse, broken heals (probably related to a wedged hardy). Hardies and other shanked tools should drop in and be a sloppy fit.

Give it a really sharp wack using something with a flat end. If that fails. . .

You might try some dry ice on the hardy. However its not cheap. Minimum purchase is usualy $25 (you only need a couple pounds). Most ice plants still make it. Cut some foam insulation to fit around the base of the hardy. Fabricate a container from a cheap small styrofoam cooler or container. Cardboard will do in a pinch. Pour the dry ice around the hardy put a lid on the box and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. Then warm the anvil gently from the sides and underneith. A sharp tap and the hardy should come out.

You can also try to do it on the cheap and use water ice and salt (like making ice cream) on the hardy and warming the anvil gently with a torch. The point is to create as much temperature differential as possible.

Cheaper, is to sacrifice the hardy. Pierce it out from the bottom. Don't do it from the top. A good man with a torch can turn that hardy to slag in about two minutes and barely warm the anvil.

You may be able to work it out by some other method. Not too long ago the recommendation would be to freeze the hardy with freon. . . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 09/21/00 19:23:56 GMT

coondogger, stuck hardie huh? Have you tried hiting it from the sides of the cutoff? Will it loosen even a little? You can try wedges under the cutoff but make the pressure even from side to side and front to back so that it doesn't wedge in the hole. I would be afraid to hit it too much from the bottom, it might swell out the shank and pin it into the hardie like a rivit. If it is REALLY stuck and or pinned into the hole you could try to drill it out from the bottom, be carefull not to drill into the anvil, though this would destroy the cutoff.
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Thursday, 09/21/00 19:26:51 GMT

I have recently started crafting with metal. I am very anxious to learn about "finishing" work with metal. For example - how do you achieve the "rust" look. Is there a chemical that will instantly rust steel? What are some other decorative finishes for steel? I'm anxious to find out - please educate me!
Laura  <laura.weber at sk.sympatico.ca> - Thursday, 09/21/00 20:41:19 GMT

Can anyone tell me the name of any company, anywhere, that sells iron wire? I don't mean low carbon mild steel. I mean iron wire with around 0.002 carbon content. I know of one individual who uses it to make authentic chain maille armor, and I would love to find some myself. Any help is appreciated. Someone told me there was a smithing supply company in Scottland that sells it but I havent been able to find it.
Fletcher  <fletchem at elmendorf.disa.mil> - Thursday, 09/21/00 21:32:52 GMT

Fletcher look at this site:


Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Thursday, 09/21/00 21:56:38 GMT

Iron Wire: Fletcher, The most common "ultra low" carbon steel is .003% carbon average (SAE 1003). Generaly if it has a controlled amount of carbon it IS steel. The "soft" black iron "steel" wire and even the soft galvanized stuff in common hardware stores is made from this stuff.

True wrought iron (with slag inclusions) wire would be more maleable due to the grain structure then pure iron. The ultra low carbon steel wire is actually a better product.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 09/21/00 22:05:00 GMT

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