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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 Sept 9 - 17, 2001 on the Guru's Den
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   - guru - Monday, 09/03/01 19:14:57 GMT

Anvilfire "Tool" Auction Test

This is the link to our new auction test site. The anvilfire Tool Auction is another Andrew Hooper Production
   - guru

Thanks Guru, Tony et al.
Tony, when it didnt bend with one tire on the 6'span, I manovered around 90 deg.and got 2 tires on and boogied back and forth...then I put some weight in the bucket and raised it overhead and did tne same thing. That should have sneaked up on 3+tons load. Flex but no bend. Doesn't feel like mild steel .Wher is that BIG hydraulic press anyway?Been thinking what a lot of noisy fun using the bucket to drop big pieces of heavy junk on it till it submitted. When the fog came in thick in the evening, some AH tourist started discharging a largish pistol off the point to the south of us..shooting blind. I hollered across the chasm at him but he kept shooting. Thought,time to test the falling junk method ?or, do I take the 1" air hammer to this plate? It would sound like a big machine gun at that distance. Then I thought, wrong kind of pissing match...grow up just a little.
Guru; you are sure right about the fire this time of year! And the rust too, scuff.
Having done the arc bead trick before, it was on the list and I have 100s of # of old damp arc rod saved up for this sort of thing, but it really isnt the best place for stripes aesthetically because my wife's ornate steel timber bracket goes on top of the post in front of it and I dont wanna distract from it...It's gonna be something...all 250# of it!
So I put the plate on some blocks on top of the other plates and tomorrow I'll haul out the logging chains to wrap it and a varied assortment of abused mechanical and hydraulic jacks, all in a row,to crank up underneath the plate. Let's see, sunday=not a chance of any inspectors, good. Really rather not have anyone else around either. Flying rust scale in a line from jack to jack = capitulation. Is this sport?
   - Pete F - Sunday, 09/09/01 06:46:40 GMT

building new gas forge need advice on curing itc 100 coating time? heat? thanks
   dave davelaar - Sunday, 09/09/01 14:39:09 GMT

need help on curing of itc ioo time? heat? thanks
   dave davelaar - Sunday, 09/09/01 14:41:53 GMT

Bending a big spring: Pete, You ever see the "armor" worn by the some of the folks in Junk Yard Wars including football helmets? Do it!

Ever been in line of a snapped chain (on a springy load)? Please be careful. This thing could swat you like a fly.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/09/01 14:47:28 GMT

Refractory Drying Dave, give it as much time as you can stand waiting. A couple days at least. The first time you fire it up let it run 5-10 minutes and then shut down and let dry some more. ITC over Kaowool is pretty resiliant but castable refractories and cements need to be well cured and very dry prior to firing the first time.

Even cured refractories absorb moisture and need to be dried after a period of disuse. My big brick firebrick lined forge has a sheet metal "heat sheild" underneath. When it is fired up after not having been used for a long time water drips out the bottom onto the pan, and steam hisses out of many of the uncovered top bricks. If I use it every day this is not a problem but if it sits a month or more it soaks up that moisture again. This is not a problem as long as you don't in the way of any steem jets. But on solid refractory it can cause cracking if you don't sneak up on it.

Speaking of which, I have a hot forge waiting.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/09/01 14:58:43 GMT

Tony, Pete`s plate...cold bend it with a big sway back anvil and a big sledge hammer. 10'x6'x7/16" thick, thats a chore for most to just move to its resting place let alone beating it with a sledge. next time you do a project like this please get it on video, i`m sure many of us would like to see you work the plate this way.

Thomas Powers, you can bend beams,pipe (other steel also) the way you said. the arch in the piece afterwards is called "camber" we have done it with many rosebuds at one time. heating in certain spots and then cooling in certain spots with water soaked (big) rags, it will move. this is also used by ironworkers to get bad places in handrail to straighten out.
   Robert - Sunday, 09/09/01 15:00:26 GMT

What did Blaksmiths haritage look like?
If you could please answer my question and send it back it`s for a class report.
   - taylor - Sunday, 09/09/01 16:36:43 GMT

Taylor, "hairitage" is not a word. "Heritage" is a word but it is not a thing it is a what.

Your heritage is something that is passed down to you like your name or social status. It could also be something you inherit (land, money, personal items).

So it is not a thing that can be described by how it looks because it could be many things.

Check your assignment or ask your parents or teacher about it. We will answer your question as soon we know what you want.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/09/01 17:00:04 GMT

Air Force One rose like an eagle, flew for about an hour, then descended like a dove and now sits in its cradle like a old red hen and refuses to fly. I guess I loose points for originality since Clippard used the name first. I could get even by calling it the Yankee Clippard. However, I don't think copyright laws will be a problem since nothing I do ever hits the market place.

Cracked had a good idea...Air Forge One. He is perhaps the world's greatest living authority on the use of the language of blacksmithing but I am afraid that most unschooled ears think that forge refers only to the fire side of smithing rather than the process. I would gladly follow his suggestion were it not for that.

I appreciate both yours and his thoughtful response.

At this moment I feel like I have an unnamed orphan sitting in my shop criing out for attention. It's massive air leak is either due to a failed o-ring or a faulty valve. I don't know whether to take it to a cardiologist, or a rocket scientist. I do know that I'll need to see a marriage counsellor if I spend many more evenings working on it.

I'll keep you posted because this project promises to be of great benefit to my fellow junk yard dogs and my friends at Anvilfire (no linkage intended) if it works out.

Have a good week,
   - L.sundstrom - Sunday, 09/09/01 19:13:55 GMT

I am not involved in your line of work/hobby in any way, but came upon your site looking for info re some antique brass South American stirrups my mother has. At least that's what we think they are. Really, they resemble boots more than stirrups, although not full boots (sort of like Dutch wooden shoes). My uncle lived in South America about 50 yrs ago. My mother just always calls them the "brass stirrups." Does ANYONE have any idea what these could be? Sorry I don't have a photo. Thanks, and any help would be greatly appreciated.
   Leigh - Sunday, 09/09/01 21:11:24 GMT

Leigh, They are probably Peruvian. There have been some knockoffs in recent years, but if your stirrups are old, they are probably worth in excess of $200.00 (but don't trust my appraisal judgement). You can probably find out more by contacting highnoon at pacbell.net. They have a huge equestrian gear sale and auction annually in Mesa, AZ. This year, it is scheduled for January 19-20.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 09/09/01 22:26:31 GMT

and just who but those possessed of schooled ears you think gonna give a single solitary flying bleep about an air-driven trip hammer, much less know what one is, or does, pray tell?
   Cracked Anvil - Monday, 09/10/01 04:30:55 GMT

Dave..Just a comment on ITC-100. Wet yor Koa wool with a spray bottle of water, just enough to dampen it. If you follow directions, the Itc should be about the consistancy of pancake batter (not a scientific approach, but you get the idea). I use a 2" paint brush and "dab" it onto the damp wool. I let it dry for at least 48 hours and even bring it inside the house so the AC will help dry it(Fla is very humid). As it drys you will see the changes in the color, When it is all light gray you should give it a light firing. Its nornal to see steam escaping. Once cured you will see a more even heat in your forge, at least I do. It is a fairly delicate coating and care must be used when moving work around inside your forge. I redo the coating about 6-8 months as it does break down, especially if you forge weld a lot. One jar does my NC whisper low boy about twice. I have a list of distributors ,if you are interested e-mail me. I am not connected with or make any profit from the company, but I do know the owners. It is very popular with ceramic artists.
   R. Guess - Monday, 09/10/01 04:53:46 GMT

Dear Gurus, Slight over a year ago I asked some questions regarding a maintanance blacksmith shop associaed with an Iron Furnace in SE Pennsylvania. I am an archaeologist and I was analysing the artifacts from this shop. You were very helpful. My finished report has now been published in Pennsylvania Archaeologist, Vol. 71, No.1, Spring 2001. If any one is interested pleses feel free to contact me.

I am also looking to contact the blacksmith in Colonial Willamsberg who contacted me requesting a copy of the report when it was finished. I have name and address.

Thank you all.
   Keith Doms - Monday, 09/10/01 14:29:03 GMT

Sorry about the type-o in my last sentance. It should read, "I have lost his name and address".
   Keith Doms - Monday, 09/10/01 14:35:39 GMT

Hi I would like to know just exactly is the difference between a hydraulic cylinder-valve and an air cylinder-valve......I know that it is probably elementary,but I'm from WV.....and have some hydraulic cylinders not in use....was hoping maybe could be the start of a power hammer....thanks for any info....Mikey
   Mikey - Monday, 09/10/01 15:55:40 GMT

Frank; I've got some cast iron from an old bathtub saved away to experiment with this process; if I can get some forge time this weekend I'll give it a whirl. The instruction manuals were written by working smiths so I trust the stuff they write.

One thing you didn't mention the possiblity that it is the CI *losing* carbon that ends up making a thicker high carbon steel layer. (thin CI sheet being decarburized was one method of making Steel mentioned in "Sources for the History of the Science of Steel" WRT steel making in 18th century France.

Anyway I'll re-read the section and try it out and then we will have more than hot air to bandy about (would have done it already but I'm still on light duty---trying *hard* to heal up before Quad-State! If I don't get a chance afore I will bring the stuff to Quad-State and we can borrow a forge there and try it out: two pieces of mild steel cut from the same bar. beat out a chisel end on each and then try the CI crayon on the one. Heat and quench both, check with a file---that suit you?)

   Thomas Powers - Monday, 09/10/01 16:03:55 GMT

I have done a lot of searching and see lots of people asking about the Champion Blower and Forge Co. model 400 but no replys to the age or history. I too have found one in my just passed away grandfathers WWII fallout shelter. It is on a tripod and only has surface rust. Hand cranked and runs very smooth. Could you please inlighten. Thank you for your time.
   Palmer Hudson - Monday, 09/10/01 18:06:40 GMT

Pete F.: In the shipyard, large pieces of plate were routinely curved into complex shapes (or straghtened after being warped by thermal or mechanical stress) by the process of "line heating". Never done it myself but spent several days once obseving line heaters at work so I'd understand what they did. With a rodebud, heat the steel along a line, a few feet at a time (good red heat). Then quench the line with a moderate stream of water (about 10 psi from a 1/8" orifice). The rapid cooling will cause shrinkage on the up-facing side, curving the plate. Same idea as drawing beads, but no scars. This method is routinely used in shipbuilding all over the world. Hope this helps.
   Rob. Curry - Monday, 09/10/01 19:16:18 GMT

Champion Blower and Forge Palmer, Champion Blower and Forge Co., was established in Lancaster, PA, USA in 1975. The model 400 blower was patented in 1900-1901. These were manufactured until some time in the late 1950's or 60's. Then there was a flurry of sales for bomb shelter blowers.

At least one manufacturer made a cheap model with plastic bearings and a sheet metal housing just for this purpose (Buffalo Forge I think). It only had to last 2 to 3 weeks. After that if the fallout hadn't blown away or settled sufficiently that it was safe to go out it probably didn't matter anymore. . . Such was life growing up in the 60's.

Historic Note: Fallout shelters were a "cold war" development of the late 1950's through the 1960's, NOT WWII. Several times a day the television networks would run public service announcements about how to build, stock and use your fallout shelter. These were usualy preceeded by film of the Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev pounding his shoe on the table at the U.N. Shouting "WE WILL BURY YOU!" followed by the image of a mushroom cloud from a nuclear explosion. This was going on before and after the missle crisis in Cuba. At the time there were tax incentives and special loans for adding shelters to your home or building them into new construction.

In the late 1960's most Americans felt that the terror of "mutualy assured destruction" that was the result of more and bigger nuclear weapons eihter made the likelyhood of all out war nill, OR if nuclear war came nobody would survive so there was no point in building bomb shelters. Meanwhile the Soviet Union and China continued to build massive public shelters.

This threat existed until the 1980's with the fall of the Soviet Union. Now China is getting into the act as they industrialize and modernize their military. The threat may come back. And your fallout shelter may need that old hand crank blower!
   - guru - Monday, 09/10/01 19:19:48 GMT

I am working on forge-welding, and as a project I am practicing on making hair sticks with a basket on the top for decoration. Hair sticks being a thin stick used for keeping long hair up on the head and out of the way.

I am making these with 1/8 inch round stock. I can get the top forge weld pretty decent, but the bottom one is where I'm having some difficulty. I am using steel wire to tie three 1/8 inch rounds approx three inches to another 1/8 inch bar that will be the bulk of the stick.

I can make a bee-hive type fire and get the top weld, but when trying to get the bottom to welding heat it takes a great deal of tending to prevent burning. What is happening is I get the bottom generally welded, save for the very tips where the three meet the longest piece. when I re-heat to continue the weld the three tips heat to temperature faster than tthe 1/8 rod I am trying to weld to.

Any suggestions?
   Norm Harvey - Monday, 09/10/01 21:35:52 GMT

Norm Harvey, Try fagot welding the bundle of three on each end. Upset one of the ends and forge a lap welding scarf. Lap weld it to a scarfed length of 1/4" round (for extra mass). Then cut and draw the 1/4" length to a nice taper down to your 1/8" or whatever.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 09/10/01 22:18:06 GMT

Mikey, Hydraulic cylinder's. I built my Kinyon-style hammer using a hydraulic cylinder two years ago and I have not had any trouble with mine which is in daily use. It is a 125 lb. ram and gets 160-190 beats/minute. If you would like pictures of it let me know. Use of these types of cylinders requires more air so keep that in mind. I am using a four cylinder 30hp compressor with mine, probably overkill but it pushes my hammer for all it's worth! The hydraulic cylinder shows no sign of giving up the ghost.TC
   Tim Cisneros - Monday, 09/10/01 22:43:36 GMT

Thomas, I'll be interested to see what you discover. I don't know about the French method, but of course, wrought iron was made from pigs (essentially a cast iron) by a finer who melted the pig thereby oxydizing the carbon and silicon in the pig. The carbon was reduced. But that was a skilled technique, and is a far cry from the "crayon" way.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 09/10/01 22:51:16 GMT

Hairpins: Norm, Frank has the best and classic solution. Any time a bar is involved in this type joint it should be upset to avoid the loss from scaling and working the metal. No matter how hard you try to blend pieces together there is usualy some reduction in size. Starting with 1/8" it will be almost impossible. See our iForge page demos for some classic forge welding joints.

Here is another solution. Cold bend your pieces into a bundle of four a couple inches longer than needed. Then you have one piece and only two "loose" ends. Tie together.

Forge weld the "far" end. Then forge weld the two inches of extra stock and draw out into your pin. This avoids the third lap weld and several heats. You COULD to making one rod shorter to reduce the drawing out but I do not reccommend it.

We also have an iforge demo on basket twists that may be helpful.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/11/01 00:37:35 GMT

And one more post script to the basket fagot weld. Whether or not you hairpin the pieces, I found that you don't need to wrap them with wire or tack them with the arc welder. Just get a pair of bolt tongs that fit, and go to welding!
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 09/11/01 01:50:27 GMT

Hydraulic Cylinders: Mikey, There is a little debate on this issue. Basicaly the cylinders are the same except the hydraulic cylinders are much more heavy duty and more expensive new. The main application difference is the seals are doubled and sometimes tripled in hydraulic cylinders for their high operating pressures. This greatly increases the friction in the cylinder and reduces the overal efficiency. New or good condition cylinders probably need one seal removed from the piston. Old worn cylinders that move freely will work better if not completely worn out.

Several folks have built hammers using hydraulic cylinders such as Tim (above). If air consumption is a concern you should get a copy of Mark Linn's air hammer video. He discusses air consumption verses cylinder size among other things (see our review).
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/11/01 02:39:43 GMT

Thank you for your information. I have searched the whole yet and have still found no picture but after doing some serious cleaning tonight... I have found this on casing.
Champion Blower & Forge Co. Lancaster PA. USA
Patented April 15 1902, June 11 and July 30 1901
Nos 676322,676323,676324,697623,34880,34881,34882,34883,34884,
And on the top there is No 582520 ( Serial number I guess )
I guess there is no way of telling the exact age other that what you had posted about them being produced between 1900's and 1960's. Do you know if the color was all black? I'd like to restore this one back to its orginal state. And if known, a place for spare parts. The "Only" bad part of this blower is that the wooden crank handle is cracked and falling off.
Once again, thanks for your help.
   Palmer Hudson - Tuesday, 09/11/01 03:26:36 GMT

Blower parts Palmer, parts have not been available for these for many years. If you need a handle it will need to be custom made. Almost any wood worker that does turnings can do it.

Hmmm, only pictures of these on the site are old ones installed in shops. All the ones I've seen were black. They have a habit of leaking oil and most old machinery was painted black so the oil drips didn't show.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/11/01 04:46:12 GMT

question: Various finishes for wrought iron / steel ( something to coat bare metal and leave a shine) It also as to be durable.
   Ray Ewens - Tuesday, 09/11/01 04:52:03 GMT

Thank you Rob. Curry;
That's the best answer yet and one of general application...sounds like fun (if expensive) ...beats dodging flying chains and abusing old mechanical jacks besides.
   - Pete F - Tuesday, 09/11/01 06:30:58 GMT

Robert, how much are you willing to pay for a plate bending video? Yes, I have bent plate by hand. Up to Ĺ" thick, but so far not as big as 6 by 10. Usually, Iím not bending, but straightening with a sledge and ďanvilĒ of some sort. Note that I suggested hand bending as a last resort. It is a lot of work. Many vessels and tanks have been made that way over the years. Machine bent plates were (and possibly are even still) frequently ďtweakedĒ with a sledge in construction equipment manufacturing. For the right price, Iíll show you that hard work can get the job done. But Iíll only do it with mild steel plate. Grin. I donít think Pete has mild steel plate. The heat would be a lot less work. Both heat straightening/bending and sledge work require some skill.

Pete, youíre welcome. Sorry it didnít work. I second the guru in that tensioned chains (or straps or cables) are to be avoided. Having them break is scary. And I wouldnít want to be in a gun fight in the fog either!

Hydraulic and air cylinders: To add to what has been said. There are many differences in cylinder construction. Most obviously, hydraulic cylinders are stronger due to the higher pressures they are designed to handle. Beyond that, there are many different seals used in both air and hydraulic cylinders. Some of the seals hold pressure in one direction only. So if you remove seals to reduce friction, make sure the remaining seal will hold in both directions. Cheap air and low pressure hydraulic cylinders use just O-rings for seals.

Honed and hard chromed or nitrided cylinder bores are good. Replaceable rod cartridges (include rod bearings and seals) are good. Hardened cylinder rods are a must, and most cylinders now have them. I donít like plastic or bronze piston, or plastic rod wear rings/bearings unless the fluid or rod is real dirty. The tolerance stackup requires more piston to bore clearance which reduces seal life and the bearings wear out. For the longest running cylinder with the least friction I prefer a ductile iron piston running with close tolerances in a lubricated and hard chromed or nitrided bore. I prefer metal piston seal rings and u-cup rod seals with a good rod wiper to keep the dirt out. Thick hard chrome that is ground after plating, on quenched and tempered rod stock, makes the best rod in my opinion. A long cast iron or hard bronze rod bearing is good. This construction requires lubricated and clean fluid. I also like cylinders that can be rebuilt. But thatís just me. Grin

Frequently, many different types of seals will fit in the same groove. So if you have multiple high friction seals, you may be able to install one lower friction seal. Two nitrile rubber u-cups on the piston is a common hydraulic seal setup. You could remove both u-cups and install one teflon composite piston ring with o-ring energizer/backup in one of the u-cup grooves instead. These are very cheap, but you may have a hard time finding someone to sell you just one.

Please note that for a hobby hammer, just about any cylinder seal setup will work for a while. And a while might be just fine for what you are doing. The efficiency and/or life difference may not even be noticeable to many users.

What Iím still concerned about is using air cylinders for hammer applications when no one seems to know what the pressure spikes are when the air is trapped and used as a cushion and spring. The pressure spikes may well exceed the rating of the cylinder or tubing or valves. User beware. Iíve never heard of one blowing up, but I certainly would calculate the pressure spikes before I let my son use one. The air spring on my JYH develops over 2000 psi under certain conditions. Not something Iíd want to be doing with an air cylinder!

Mikey, you also mentioned valves. Do you have questions about valves or just cylinders?
   Tony - Tuesday, 09/11/01 13:40:04 GMT


NYC: Terrorists have attacked and apparently destroyed the World Trade Center in NYC. Both towers were hit. At least one tower has collapsed. Two hijacked commercial aircraft with passengers on board were crashed into the towers which burned for approximatly an hour before the collapse.

VA: A plane also crashed into the Pentagon this AM and the resulting fire has destroyed a part of the building.

DC: A car bomb was reported to have exploded in front of the State Department building but that is now denied. Public buildings in DC are being closed to tours.

All non-military aircraft in the US have been grounded and international flights diverted to Canada. At least one unsubstantiated hijacking of a US aircraft has been reported. The US military is on a heightened status.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/11/01 14:57:47 GMT

Jock, Mikey, Tony,
I just got Air Horse One back in operation. It uses a 3" bore fork lift hydraulic cylinder converterd to run with air. I relied heavily on Ron Kinyon's book, use a 1/2" air supply line and a Norgren 5 port, 2 way valve with a Cv greater that 3. We made a piston out of bronze and it uses O rings. It sits on a twin I beam stand and has a back bone of 2 3/4 inch steel. It stokes at about 100 per min., floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. there is no question of control. it could scratch a fleas back. as far as the power of a single stroke, scary. the great thing about using hydraulic cylinders is that the glide/guide system is a given and is as smooth as silk. There is also the inherent mass of the piston rod and the fact that they crop up in the scrap yard for about twenty bucks. one of the biggest differences btween hydraulic and air cylinders is that different in the area bewteen the top of the piston and the bottom of the piston is a lot greater in a hydraulic piston and Kinyons operations principle must therefore modified. I ended up paying 5 times more for fittings,lines and valves then I did for about the hammer and stand. tolal cost (air compressor exclude) about 300 dollar.
Mikey, I live in the Shenandoah valley and would be proud to
demonstrate this hammer for you. I think you are dead on in your desire to use hydraulic cylinders run with air for hammers. Sounds like Tony and Tim are the experts on this conversion...but I probably live closer if you want to see one in operation.
Jock picture coming soon,
Pray for America,
   - L.sundstrom - Tuesday, 09/11/01 16:15:16 GMT

O-Rings: Larry, I would not recommend o-rings for a dynamic seal. In such applications they require extremely fine surface finishes and compensate minimaly for wear. Quad rings are better but still do not compensate for wear. Lip type seals or rings are used because they can wear a great deal and continue to seal. Big commercial air hammers use steel piston rings (like cast iron automobile rings) for steam and teflon rings for air.

Let me know when you are ready for a visit!
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/11/01 16:37:53 GMT

Please accept our deepest regrets for the loss of so many people to such cowardly scum I can only hope that the U.S. forces (all of them) hunt these bastards down ,hugh
   hugh - Tuesday, 09/11/01 19:20:00 GMT

O-rings: Larry, I agree with the guru. O-rings won't last very long in most reciprocating applications. The usual problem (besides wear) is nibbling chunks out because the O-ring gets caught between piston groove edge and the bore. The fluid pressure tries to force the O-ring into that gap between the piston and bore. If you made the piston .002" less than the bore and honed the bore to less than 20 microinch Ra finish, it should last for quite a while if you lubricate the air well.

One thing to do, that will extend the life of the O-rings, is to install Teflon or other plastic backup washers on both sides of the O-ring to keep the O-ring from getting damaged from extrusion. You may have to cut the O-ring groove a little wider to make room for the backup washers.

When a teflon composite seal ring is used, there is generally an O-ring under the teflon to seal between the back of the teflon and the seal groove. And to act as a spring to push the Teflon against the bore when there is little fluid pressure acting on the seal.

The advantage of O-rings is that they are cheap and readily available, and easy to install. Some of the teflon rings require special tooling to expand them and then resize them once on the piston.

But hey, if it runs with O-rings, go for it! You just may find yourself replacing them frequently.

My day job is designing fluid power and lubrication equipment. Seal dynamics are quite a science. I'm not a seal expert, but I do know a bunch and I'm always learning more. One common thing is that if the metal parts fit close, and the surface finish is good, almost any seal will operate better.

I just had one design where we tried many different seals and had small leaks. We ended up with an O-ring seal with unconventional installation. It worked better and was less expensive than other seals.

So..... there are no "right all the time" rules. But cylinder sealing is quite mature.
   Tony - Tuesday, 09/11/01 21:04:21 GMT

Hydraulic cylinder's, The only reason I used one in the first place was cost ($50) I used the Alabama Forge council schematics and the thing hasn't hiccuped in two years. I now want to buy an old German VULCAN 100 Kg (220lb.) hammer. I alway's seem to need something BIGGER. The older the boy, the BIGGER the toy's. On a more somber note: Pray for America. TC
   Tim Cisneros - Tuesday, 09/11/01 23:19:55 GMT

Deepest regrets to all the American people. Canada and Canadians stand beside all of you. We will make those "people" who did this gutless deed pay. Slag.
   slag - Wednesday, 09/12/01 01:18:04 GMT

Best quote from the pub tonight:

Tom-Stovall, ". . . living dangerously is what we do best. Power hammers, Beverly shears, 60 ton ironworkers - and wives."
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/12/01 03:57:36 GMT

That Stoval sneaks right up on eloquant sometimes.
   - Pete F - Wednesday, 09/12/01 05:54:31 GMT

If you could see the cylinder I am using and the hazards the poor "O" rings have to navigate, it would confirm your suspicion that I will be up on the ladder replacing "O" rings on a regular basis. That will indeed get old, however, right now I am still in the euphoric stage of watching it flatten coke cans in six strokes. I am hoping to lure the Guru out of his den and up to my shop for his expert advise. Right now I am thunk out.
I put a mist oiler at the intake port of the top end of the cylinder. I made sure the arrow was going the right direction. several hours later I realized the the intake port was also the exhaust port (I may be dump but I'm slow).
now my question to you is: Would it hurt my valve to have lubrication going through it from the up stream side?
I may have to call the manufaturer on that question.
Thanks for your imput.

   - L.sundstrom - Wednesday, 09/12/01 14:38:56 GMT

We would be deeply honored if you would visit our humble estate. I fear that you would be disappointed by our lack of refinements, however, I would, as always, be profoundly grateful to you for any contribution your knowlege and expertise could make to the plight of poor ol' Air Hoss One.
I am off work (day job) this Friday and Saturday and next Thursday and Friday. I work 12 hr. shifts so I am always off some during the week and every-other-weekend. It takes about 90 min. to get here from Lynchburg. Hope to see you soon.
   - L.sundstrom - Wednesday, 09/12/01 14:49:35 GMT

Hammer Lubrication Larry, oil won't hurt the 4/5 way valve, but it will saturate the lines of the little control valve(s) if you are using them and cause eratic operation. It is also bad for regulators.

To prevent this you need to seperate the power and the control air supply (a T, before the oiler and be sure it is down stream from the regulators). Mark Linn also recommends check valves in the supply line. I also suggest the proper exhausting of oil laden air either into a seperator or outside the shop. Breathing oil mist can cause pnemonia and other respiratory illness.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/12/01 15:03:29 GMT

Larry, in addition to what the guru just said, and since I had most of it typed before he posted, grin, most air valves donít have any problem with lubricated air going through them. Some of them require it. Generally, the problem would be if the seals donít like the lubricant you are using. A non detergent 10 to 30 weight motor oil or air tool oil is usually a safe bet. To be on the safe side, you would call the valve manufacturer like you thought. All Norgren valves that I am aware of have no problem with lubricated air. That includes the nugget, goldenair and prospector series. The goldenair and prospector series require lubrication of the incoming air.

I know what you mean about being happy itís running. I frequently get a new fabricated tool running and then tweak it to make it right afterward.

If you lubricate the air, you will get lubrication out of the exhaust. Extra lubrication wonít hurt most cylinders and will make them last longer. So turn up the oiler. I make my own oil collecting mufflers by brazing or welding a pipe nipple into the end of a can. Then fill the can completely, but not packed tight with rags. The rags will absorb the oil and muffle the exhaust noise. Wring out or replace the rags as required. Iím too cheap to buy a coalescing muffler and most of them don't work well enough because the exhaust velocity through the filter is too high. Just donít let any sparks get on the rags. Grin.
   Tony - Wednesday, 09/12/01 16:02:08 GMT

Oil Seperators To avoid the oily rags. . . On screw type compressors where a large amount of oil passes through the compressor and must be seperated from the air they use a simple device. The oil laden air enters through a pipe in the bottom of the collector. The pipe extends about half the length of the collector. Above the pipe seperated by about 2 pipe diameters is a circular plate with down turned edges (an upside down candle cup). This is supported off the end of the pipe. Exhaust air goes out the top of the collector. As the air bounces off the plate oil sticks to it and drips to the bottom of the collector. Oil is tapped (or pumped) from the bottom of the collector. The collector needs to be 8-10 pipe diameters or larger and the target half that diameter.

I've never built one of the above but I've seen the cross section drawings and I know they work. What I HAVE used is a standard air filter used to remove dirt/oil/moisture from compressed air. The simple cyclone type made by Parker work very well. We were extracting about 10% by volume glicerine from air used in an ultrasonic coupling device where air was sucking up the excess glicerine. A relatively small filter was used that normally had a drain tap on the bottom. A small positive displacement mtering pump was used to continously drain the filter. We had to use the pump because this was a suction device. On a pressure device (like an air hammer) the drain could be cracked open a little and the seperated oil continously drained into a container.

You can also pack Tony's device with stainless steel wool (dish scrubbers) and tap the bottom for the oil that drips to the bottom.

Besides the oil mist problem, or oily rag problem, oil on the floor is a serious slipping hazzard.

On self contained hammers where the hot compressed air goes immediately to the cylinder special oils are required to prevent dieseling. These are synthetic or high flash point oils.

Yep, getting a newly fabricated machine running the first time is a real joy. For most of us metal heads it is as exciting as the bith of your first child. But then you can build another, and another and another. . . and not worry about feeding them or sending them to school!
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/12/01 17:50:28 GMT

Oily Rags a problem? Some of us think the flame puffs coming out of the homebrew muffler on fire are pretty cool looking!

Just kidding! grin.

Jock, what kind of screw compressors use the deflector plate? I'm used to Ingersoll Rand screw compresors and they use a big honkin expensive depth type coalescing filter element to do the separation. Similar to what your Parker air filter does. Learn something new everyday.

The key to particle separation is filtration/capture velocity and particle size. Small aerosol particles of oil in the exhaust can get a round a deflector plate carried in the air stream. Big particles can't make the turn because their mass is higher. F=ma again. To get small particles out, you need a low gas velocity. Coalescing is the idea that small particles will group together to form bigger particles. Bigger particles are easier to remove. Smaller aerosols are the ones that give your lungs problems.

I saw a typical small engine muffler on a new self contained air hammer. Those mufflers operate by changing the gas flow direction. The thing was spitting oil mist and aerosols all over the room. A not so nice gray/blue cloud. The gas velocity through the muffler was too high for it to operate well as a separator.

So if you do the can thing, don't use a tuna can, use a 3 pound coffee can. I just clamp 1/4" hardware cloth over the open end. Stainless wool is a good idea as long as the can is big enough to keep the velocity of the exhaust air low enough to trap the small particles. The rags will remove smaller particles better since the opening that the air will have to go through is smaller.

If you install a typical air filter as a muffler, make it big enough so the velocity across the element is low. and use a 40 or 50 micron filter element in it, not a 10 micron.

Tradeoffs as usual. To each his own.

You don't have to feed the toys you make, but you do have to keep building more housing for them as they multiply. Grin
   Tony - Wednesday, 09/12/01 18:42:37 GMT

I've acquired a chunk of junkyard steel approximately 4 x 6 x 28. I want to turn it into an anvil. I think I've got a place lined up that can rough cut the shape that I want. Here are some questions I need answered:

Should I have a hardened plate welded on for the face? If
so, what should I use? Are there any special techniques for doing this successfully?

Is there a method for making a hardy hole that doesn't involve me taking the anvil to a machine shop?

Is there anything special about rough-cutting the anvil pattern that I need to tell the company that will be doing the work?

I've been consulting books by Weygers, McRaven and others and have looked over the info on your excellent site. Anything you could add would be greatly appreciated.

   Khym Harris - Wednesday, 09/12/01 19:00:27 GMT

I am doing a report for school and i was wondering what the simmilaritys and uses of blacksmithing are compared to glass working.
   TSmith - Wednesday, 09/12/01 19:28:30 GMT

Hmm; both are constant volume processes using materials rendered plastic by heat. Can't touch either one when "working" it. Glass is a softer material. Uses well one devolves unto the uses of ferrous alloys the other to the uses of glass. Could you frame the question a bit more?

   Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 09/12/01 19:42:02 GMT

the uses in the lines of artwork and maybe science
   TSmith - Wednesday, 09/12/01 19:55:24 GMT

For the base plate of my powerhammer, I'm using 1 3/8" plate steel.. the anvil is 6 1/8" solid shafting.. i'm planning on welding the anvil directly to the base plate but I was thinking that for both an artistic effect and to raise the anvil height if I would be a good idea to cut a series of discs from the left over plate and stack and weld them in a step-like pattern, underneath the anvil.. if I'm welding the anvil to the base plate, it doesn't seem like welding the anvil to a disc that is welded to the baseplate would cause any problems. what do you think?
- Loren
   Loren P - Wednesday, 09/12/01 20:26:20 GMT

Compressor Oil Seperator Tony, Thats what my Sulair (Sulivian Corp) manual shows. . . . Hmmmmm Just got out the manual, its shows two steps. The plate that gets the bulk of the oil is on the bottom of the "final filter". Apparently a depth type screen mesh filter. Oil is pumped from this but the bottom of the tank ('reciever') and is also pumped out of the final oil seperator. .

Sorry, my memory is not what it was. . . Now the system using the Parker cyclonic filter worked pretty well. Even fine particles are slung out to the walls. These actualy take advantage of the high air velocity. I know it works on water vapor so oil mist must be pretty easy.

I've looked at other portable gasoline powered compressors and many others seem to use the same. Well, I needed to study the Sulair manual some anyway, since I need to get the monster repaired and operating. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/12/01 21:16:03 GMT

Stacked Spacers Loren, it works but is real springy and doesn't add true working mass to the anvil (or at least efficient mass). But it won't hurt.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/12/01 21:18:16 GMT

Fabricated Anvil Khym, There is only one way to weld a plate to the top of an anvil that works and that is to forge weld it. The last time that was done was around 1910.
Welding a plate around the edges makes a dead anvil and you might as well buy a cast iron door stop. Heat treating then becomes a problem.

Low carbon steel anvils can have the face hard surfaced with special welding rod. It is expensive in material, power and labor. If you have the skills and equipment to do it yourslf AND your time is not worth a lot to you then go for it. Otherwise good used anvils are a much better buy.

A solid steel anvil that is soft is not too bad. It is better than cast iron (OR no anvil). You just have to be carefull not to hit it with your hammer and be prepared to dress the dents with a grinder often.

There are no easy ways to make a Hardy hole. The most common DIY method is to start with a piece of square tubing and build up around it OR fill in around it in a flame cut hole. I show a better method (structuraly) but overall it is not a great way to make an anvil. I would use a drilled hole in good solid (unwelded) metal before going the fabricated route.

Even a machine shop may not be happy about making a square hole and charge a bundle to do it. I've machined many and it is picky work. You start with four drilled "corner" holes that remove about 85% of the corner oustide a drilled hole. Then you drill out the center. The interupted cut is terrible on the drill and there is always a good chance of failure (breakage). It is better to mill out the center. Then even smaller hole are drilled in each corner (about 1/8"). The ridges between round holes can then be chisled or filed out.

The other (production) option is to drill an on-size hole and then broach it with a square broach. These cost about $500 for a 1" square and have almost no other use in most small machine shops so don't expect them to have one OR to charge a pitance for the use of same. . . Round holes start to look a lot better. Square shanks fit if a little smaller. A lot of folks worry about loose fits but as long as it drops in I use it. . .

I would NOT try to get a classic anvil shape out of that block. Have a horn shape cut about 10" long on one end that is full width and height at the rectangle. You want to keep as much of the mass as possible. If you are lucky they will cut two dimensions for you (side view first and then top). Then you will have to hand torch the diagonals and carve the curvature of the horn yourself. You MIGHT be able to get someone to do this for you but again, a good used anvil (with hard face, horn and square hardy hole) would cost less.

There should be no "rough cut" to it. Anyone cutting 6" plate needs to be using a machine torch and these leave the equilalent of a "rough" machine finish of 125RMS. A very light grinding and the finish should be smooth and flat.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/12/01 21:56:13 GMT

To all my American friends and brother blacksmiths I offer my prayers at this time when you are being tested so sorely as a nation ... My thoughts and best wishes go with you today
   - Mark Parkinson - Wednesday, 09/12/01 21:56:47 GMT

T-rex: Hows the review going? I've been working on getting a new forge going and so far I'm not too happy with the results. The interior size that I'm after is 14"x24"x 4.5". I'm using 2" Insa-board. I built the pipe in pipe style of burner from the ABANA plans that call for a blower. I know that a pipe is a better design but I want to have at least 4-5 pcs of 2"x 24' round or square going at one time. Anyway, I'm getting frustrated and I started to wonder if maybe 2-4 of the T-Rex burners would do the trick and also wondered if anybody out there had any experience with them?
   Pete-Raven - Wednesday, 09/12/01 22:25:52 GMT

Tsmith, Questions for a report are one thing but writing it for your is another. Art and science? Forget the science. Each are their own.

As Thomas mentioned both use heat to make the material plastic to work it and therefore you can't touch it. But the two materials are entirely different. Glass is a technicaly a liquid at room temperature. It is worked in the liquid state no matter what temperature. As a liquid it can be "stretched" almost infinitely. It can be poured into molds or blown using very little effort. The blowing temperature is low enough that hardwood molds can be used.

Steel is forged as a solid. Its crystal structure changes and the metal becomes more plastic as it approaches the melting point. The lower working temperatures for steel are the highest for glass. However, steel still takes a lot of force to move it. If a blacksmith melts a piece he has usualy screwed up and probably burned the piece of steel as well.

Where a blacksmith uses a big hammer for small work he uses poweful machines for heavy work (see our Power hammer Page).

There are simalarities in terms used for heat treating glass and steel but the undelying science is completely different.

Blacksmiths produce a much wider range of items from steel than can be made of glass. Everything from nails to machine tools as well as purely artistic pieces have come out of the blacksmith shop. However, both materials come in almost infinite types or alloys. The properties of steel change dramaticaly with the change of a few tenths of a percent of added carbon or other metal. Meanwhile glass is almost as universal a solvent as water and will disolve and hold large volumes of other matter such as metals and often remain transparent. Common class has a density or specific gravity of 2.6 but lead glass used for radiation sheilding has a specific gravity of 5.2 and is still transparent with just a slight yellow tinge in thick pieces (several inches thick).

There are more differences than similarities, but both are worked hot, but then so are most plastics.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/12/01 22:27:43 GMT

Gas Burners: Pete I didn't know ABANA had a blower burner plan. The couple I've built have worked well enough to melt steel. . . The only problem with big forges is the gas supply. It takes a LOT of gas and small cylinders will not keep up. I've built them with common plumbing fittings as on our plans page and the one Grant Sarver put together for the 10 minute forge was REAL junk! A bunch of miss-mash tubing and pipe sputter ball welded together. It still worked.

The T-Rex is a great burner but cost about $100 ea delivered. They will heat a larger volume than the common type so you might only need two.

So what kind of problems are you having?
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/12/01 22:48:09 GMT

Khym-- why not just take that wondrously gorgeous hunk of steel you have, set it down atop a frame of some sort, maybe a section of tree trunk or such, or just lay it upon the ground in some firm spot, heat up another piece of steel and proceed to beat the whomping hell out of it-- the latter piece-- for a while? What you already have, sans hardie hole, is vastly superior to anvils that people used for centuries to make marvelous things. And in the process of the above-mentioned whomping, you will discern what you really need in an anvil when one comes your way, as it will, it will, promise-- and meanwhile save a bleeding fortune in machine shop fees. If you've looked at Weygers, you've seen that while a real anvil's nice, it ain't absolutely essential.
   miles undercut - Wednesday, 09/12/01 23:13:34 GMT

Gas burners:Hmm..I don't remember where I got the plans, I thought it was ABANA. A guy I know built a scaled down version of the plans. A pipe forge maybe 6-8" inside and boy did it get hot!!! But like most pipe forges there is just a brick for the floor. Not wide enough, I want/need more room than that. So, I looked a the forges that the Bull Hammer folks sell and I remember the commercial type ones that I saw at ABANA Ashville so thats what I'm shooting for. A low rectangle box type. But, I have no idea how to engineer one, so I'm winging it. And I'm bumping my ass on the runway.:) At first I thought I'd have the burners (2) come in from the side. All that did was heat up the far wall. Tonight I'm going to put them on the top aimed down like the NC,Mankle forges,etc. I do things the hard way sometimes. I'll spend $200.00 of my time to save a $100.00. Just starting to wonder if I'm doing it now. I just need a larger forge. I bought one of the china hammers, a 165 lb,and I spend most of my time waiting on the metal to reach temp.
   Pete-Raven - Wednesday, 09/12/01 23:20:58 GMT

Forge Problems Pete, You probably need a door. Gas forges need some restriction to enclose the fire. Burners typicaly heat one spot more than others but if the fire is enclosed the burning extends throughout the volume of the forge. Once the interior surfaces are all up to heat then you start getting more even heats. If you looked close at the many NC-TOOL forges in use those with extra vents (the biggere ones) often had the vents closed or partialy closed with a piece of brick or Kaowool.

Even with a door the front needs a droped front edge to contain the fire. You cannot fill most of the forge with steel and have it work. You need that overhead space.

You also have to let them preheat before use. The light weight insulation helps. I let my NC-TOOL baby heat up for 1/2 hr. to 45 minutes before I put in a piece of steel. My big high BTW brick lined forge takes 45 to start work but is best after a couple hours. Then you have to throttle it back or it will fuse a pile of billets into one lump!

If your forge is running right once you get those big hunks of 2" bar hot, if you put one in as you take one out OR if you are taking more than one heat, that forge will work you to death.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/13/01 00:07:32 GMT

Plain Anvils Khym, Miles is right. For most forging a big flat surface is all you need. The piece you have is 190 pounds. Being relatively compact it is equivalent to a 250-300 pound anvil and has as much face. If you cut it all up you will have much less.

I just spent a week practicing making fancy folded leaves on S hooks. Sort of like the ones in my leaf demo or on my bio page. Except these have a heavy rope twist from square stock. I used a bunch of shanked tools, hardy, 1/2" round bottom die, 2-1/2" round bottom die and a smooth jawed leg vise. The leg vise was the most important. It was the only tool that would be hard to substitute.

When I made these leaves in the past I did not use the two bottom dies, they were just handy this time. Last week I used a swage block sitting on top the anvil for several operations including the ones using the bottom dies. Its heavy to move and last week I dropped it off the anvil while incising a hot piece. . . Could have broken my foot! So I set it aside and used the bottom tools. I used them in my 300# anvil because it was convienient. I didn't use two of these tools in the past because they didn't fit in my old anvil, the shanks are too big. They are too small for this one! But I could have also clamped them in the leg vise.

I used the horn on the anvil for touching up the tip of the leaf (which could be done on a rounded square corner) and for shaping the hook in the S-hook. The horn on this large anvil is a little fat for this and I kept eyeing an old stake anvil I have. It would have been better but I can also do the same shaping on the front jaw of the little 30# leg vise I was using. The leg vise is indespensible in this job for two operations and could supstitute for hardy hole and horn on the anvil.

I have a demo to do with Paw-Paw next month and I'm thinking of mounting that stake anvil in a block so it is usable. Its a little light but I could do all my demonstrating on it (even though it is soft). Back before anvils had horns or heals or steps or hardy holes. . Stake anvils (bickerns) were used for all the things done on the horn. They also have the advantage of having a round AND square horn as well as being much more slender. Most did not have hardy holes but a few had small round holes.

Sure, I have lots of tool options. But sometimes it is easier to do without and use the minimum.

The point? You learn to adapt to what you have and what works at the moment. But I would spend my money on a good leg vise before I cobbled up that nice block of steel.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/13/01 00:49:34 GMT

Forge blues: Changing the burners to the top helped alot but still not so good. What it did was to give back pressure so that the burners held the flames better. I closed the back of the forge w/fire brick and that was where most of the heat was. Yea, after you mention it the NC does have a dropped floor to the forge. I noticed at Kaynes place the he sells a Forgemaster that has a cast floor w/ridges in it. I guess it does the same thing. And then there is the forges that Centaur sells that have the floor covered in 3/4" or so ceramic balls. I'll put a lip on the forge entrance and "try" to wait alittle and see if the forge will get up to temp. Now I'm curious. I've got a friend who is a potter, I think I'm gonna go over and see if she'll let me fire up 3-4 doz litle stoneware nuggets.
   Pete-Raven - Thursday, 09/13/01 01:41:51 GMT

Pete, I put up a picture of my forge for you to look at, its about the sameas what you are looking to build
I too found the pipe forges a bit too narrow, mines about 300x400x100mm with 2 x 3/4" burners, I found rounded sides held the kao wool better than a square type of wall and I used stainless steel flat bar to hold the roof up, thats what all the stainless bolts are for on the top of the forge. Two burners is only just enough, I might put another in some day. The door is kao baord with itc coating, works well ,you stil get the dropped front edge the gooroo mentioned but your stock can fit under it. The angle of the burners is fine too I get a very even heat across the floor.

Guru, you've made me feel better about having to wait 20-30
mins to get a good heat in my forge, it always bothered me as my old lower tech forge seemed faster, also guys on "theforge" mail list seem to boast about their sub 10 minute forge "ready for work" times, mabey you and me are the only ones being honest huh :)
   Shannell - Thursday, 09/13/01 10:58:26 GMT

Was just curious about the valves...know now that I will have to buy a valve,etc.....the hydraulic cylinder that I have in mind came off of a hay bale kicker....was having a lot of problems with the kicker and took it off the baler...the cylinder hydraulic-ly aims the kicker to fill the wagon.....so it goes back and forth....don't think that i would have to remove any seals........anyway ....email me sometime and let me know where you live and i will try to get up there and see your hammer.......thanks for the info..Mike
   Mikey - Thursday, 09/13/01 12:11:27 GMT

Shannell-- snazzy forge! Cast venturis maybe'd give more bounce to the ounce than the bell reducers. I found they did on mine.
   Cracked Anvil - Thursday, 09/13/01 14:02:36 GMT

"Where steel suitable for the making and repairing of ploughshares, ridger points, landsides and similiar equipment is not available, the smith often has to use low-carbon steels. They may also have to be used in toolmaking. For several kinds of tools the wearing life of parts subjected to abrasion can be prolonged by refacing the most affected parts of jobs. Where there is a lack of suitable steels, there is almost always a lack of modern hard-facing and wear-resisting materials. Even when available, they are often too expensive for use in rural areas of developing countries. In addition they usually require electric-arc or oxyacetylene welding equipment which again is not always available. Never the less, given a good blacksmith's fire, flux, cast iron and a little practice cast iron can be applied to low-carbon steels that, when quenched from high temperature, will give a very hard surface. Although not as effective as the use of modern alloys, this treatment does prolong the life of wearing parts and allows some tools to be made from low-carbon steels....The workpiece is heated at the part to be treated to a bright yellow or nearly white heat. While this heating is taking place, the cast iron is also heated. As the cast iron nears the melting point it will sag toward the fire. Dip the cast iron in to the flux, reheat a little and then apply to the hob by rubbing it on to the heated part of the work. The cast iron will be spread fairly easily on to the work and a build up will be observed. Sufficient thickness is 1 to 2 mm. More can be deposited if needed. During this operation the work remains in the fire. Allow it to cool to a dull red heat and quench it in water. No additional work is required on jobs such as those shown in Figs 172-175...."

Agricultural Engineering in Development Intermediate blacksmithing: a training manual by J.B.Stokes
   Thomas Powers - Thursday, 09/13/01 16:35:39 GMT

Does anyone know the cost of the KA-75?I have contacted Wallace metal works but have yet to recieve a reply. I would also be interested in hearing comments about this hammer from those who have used it. thanks
   - Patrick - Thursday, 09/13/01 16:59:51 GMT

Forge Heating Rates Shannell, Large forges will heat the steel immediately but it takes longer and the scaling is terrible. Some will produce orange heats before the forge is well heated but I have gotten better results by waiting until the forge is hot. For forge welding you must wait.

Pete, take note that Shannell has choked the opening to about 20% of the forge cross section. Without that choking you are just heating your shop air.

Also note that he had put air dampers on his burners. This added device makes them much more adjustable and is recommended on ALL non-commercial, non-optimized burners. On blower type burners you need either a damper or electronic control.

On my large forge the controls stop and start the forge on adjustable timing. The problem with this is the electronic motor control does not repeat very well. Part of my circuit operates the blower at full power for just long enough to get to full speed before the reduced voltage is applied. Even with this the blower does not repeat well. I have considered adding a damper for some time.

My forge uses a stacked brick enclosure that I can modify as needed. However I almost always end up with nearly the same chamber shape as it works best. I vary the shape of the opening more than anything else except when used to heat a crucible. When doing this it still needs a larger chamber that is choked at the opening. On commercial units the vent is smaller than the crucible so the lid must be mechanicaly movable.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/13/01 17:13:32 GMT

Frank Turley - Just wondering if you have ever gotten a chance to try out those railroad track clips. Recently heard that they are 1080 steel. No hurry, just curious.
   Stormcrow - Thursday, 09/13/01 17:16:43 GMT

Price of KA-75 Several years ago they sold for $4,000 but you need to add about $400 for an additional base block. Bruce has probably mailed you the video and price sheet. However, with all planes grounded the U.S. mail (as well as UPS and Fed EX) are not making many long distance deliveries.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/13/01 17:20:01 GMT

I am VERY new to all this. where is a good place to get tools CHEAP. I am also dirt poor.
   Susan - Thursday, 09/13/01 17:40:01 GMT

I posted awhile back about a 22"x6" diamond stone wheel I picked up. It's 60~70 lbs, couple of small nicks on the edge but seems to be perfectly round. My problem is the 12" mounting hole!! Any ideas on setting this thing up for average shop work would be appreciated.
Fly our Flag Friday!! Pray that God will guide us in whatever we have to do to stop terrorism, where ever it is.
   Jerry - Thursday, 09/13/01 17:53:35 GMT

Susan the best place is right over there, no a tad more towards the south. The cheapest tools are usually the ones found close to home---shoot I've bought anvils for less than the cost of shipping one on e-bay! So if you could kind of hint where you are located---continent, state, city; whatever you are comfortable with we can probably dig out some sources.

However in general I buy most of my tools at fleamarkets, junk stores and scrapyards (amazing the *tools* that show up down in the mire in an old yard...) I also make some of mine from scrounged materials picked up along side the road or in illegal dump sites. Blacksmithing supply houses have lovely stuff but way too pricy for me; likewise conferences and most the auctions here in central Ohio (local fleamarket locations available on request)

There is a "flavor" of smithing called "Neo-Tribal" that is based on starting up with minimal tooling and equipment. You may want to review their websites (I like Primal Forges and the Outpost)

I tell folks that they should be able to start smithing for under $25 (that's forge, anvil, fuel, something to hold hot metal with and something to hit it with---plus some metal to hit!) OTOH I've spent thousands over the years on my shop mainly in $1-$35 increments as I find stuff cheap...

Thomas Mid Ohio Blacksmiths---Come to Quad-State Blacksmith's Round-Up Sept 21,22,23 Miami County Fairgrounds, Troy Ohio (north of Dayton)
   Thomas Powers - Thursday, 09/13/01 18:02:21 GMT

dear Guru,
I need to change the color of some galvinized metal sculpture with out painting it. Any information on surface treatments that would do this and save the highly polished parts as well?
thanks tom
   tom - Thursday, 09/13/01 18:18:31 GMT

Thomas, thank you for posting the text about CI hardfacing. Makes more sense now. Hope to try it out this weekend (if I can find some of that useless CI scrap I usually throw away..)
   Olle Andersson - Thursday, 09/13/01 18:21:04 GMT

Thomas and J.B. Stokes, We know that a mm is one thousandth of one meter. In inches, it is expressed as 0.0394 inch. We should realize that there is a difference between metal-to-ground wear and metal-to-metal wear. An example of the latter is gun parts which contact each other, and gun parts are often case hardened. I've got to wonder about how long a landside or share would last with this treatment. P.S. I was born in Missouri.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 09/13/01 18:54:08 GMT

Galvanized: Tom, The galvanized will eventualy turn frosty white (a couple years) in normal outdoor conditions. The "polished" surfaces will become flat grey/white. Plan to paint it. However, the surface will need to be treated with an acid etch (OR let time do its job) before paint will stick. Since thin places may show rust it is best to etch and paint immediately. There are special etching primers for zinc also. The bare zinc OR zinc primer need to be isolated from the top coat with a neutral primer such as a red-oxide or grey primer surfacer. This prevents chemical reactions with the pigments in the top coat.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/13/01 19:14:54 GMT

Cheap ToolsSusan, See our Getting Started article for some hints, we also have articles on our 21st Century Page on cheap anvils (DO NOT BUY CAST IRON). And on the iForge page there are articles on making various tools. See our brake drum forge article on the plans page.

Some things cannot be done without funds. Welding equipment is best bought new unless you know a lot about it. An arc welder can quickly pay for itself in sticking together junk to make tools. Oxyacetylene (gas welding) is never cheap.

A good vise is harder to come by than an anvil and is often more used. Flea markets and blacksmith meets are your best bet. Currently good blacksmith leg or "post" vises sell for around $150. This is a bargain. Somethimes you can find then for less at flea markets. See my posting on "Plain Anvils" above.

One warning, vises and forge blowers have many parts that wear out or get lost. There are NO repair or replacement parts. Springs and anchor plates can be made by the smith for leg vises but screws are a serious problem.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/13/01 19:29:25 GMT

Diamond Wheel: Jerry, unless this is setup on a precision center (true to shaft and bearings) it won't perform very well. This is time for some serious machine shop work. . or some real fancy mill wright work with many wedges and a dial indicator.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/13/01 19:33:19 GMT

Well, I'm on the road to NC! Later folks!
   - guru - Thursday, 09/13/01 19:35:20 GMT

Susan-- Get hold of Alexander Weygers's three books-- they are slim, well-done, wonderfully well-ilustrated, available now in one volume, I think, from Centaur or Lindsay, I think-- on how to do smiting on the cheap. And that means cheap: with found material for making everything: tools, etc. Weygers did beautiful work with his stuff, and you can, too.
   Cracked Anvil - Thursday, 09/13/01 21:00:54 GMT

It makes me want to screem COALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!when I hear about 2o min heat times. The secret to coal is blast and fire maintenance. I use two fans in line for variing the blast but the 220 volt blower from the Yellin shop that Mr. Kidd from Richmond sold me generates a ferocious white heat that gets right to the point. The G.E. clothes drier fan produces a quiet steady heat. They can run together or separate. I also have a gas forge for special applications and speedy heat but my go to forge is coal. Look at the fire in Bob Patrick's video on forge welding. It takes a very short time to reach welding heat with fair sized stock. The whole video is only about 20 min.long. A coal forge can't be any harder than a gas forge to build. Well, to each his own. you don't get all that ucky black stuff on your hands and face with gas and I understand the satisfaction of making something that burns well.

Mikey...I ran 1/2 inch black pipe to a place near my valve and then went onto it with 5/8 tigon tubing rated at 200 lbs per square inch. Kinyon advises steel tubing and I would like to hear from Jock, Tony and Tim on what they recommend. It's a little scarry to turn on the main valve and see the tubes flex. I would feel awful if you used the tubing I am referring to and something happened. But the 4-way 2-pos 5 port spool valve with air pilot spring return is the same valve referrenced in Ron Kinyon's book by Norgren. I reached them through the gracious offices of MSC
800-645-7270 and after talking with their application tech decided on MNOICGA33A000-$72.35 Dollar. Kinyon says bigger is better on valves and having wasted time and tears on undersized valves I totally agree. The Cv which is a unit of flow (gallons of water per minute across the wide open valve with a pressure drop of 1 psi) of this valve is 5 which is appropriate for my 3" cylinder. The air powered roller limit valve (flow direction switcher) was $43.53 dollar U.S. #03029322 (Norgren). Just a word about air flow. Given a constant pressure, the major limit on air flow is the smallest diameter of any part of the conducting airways. Flow varies with the 4th power of the radius of the smallest orifice in the system. If you double the radius of the smallest orifice in the system you get sixteen times the flow. the difference between 1/4 inch pipe and 1/2 inch pipe is phenomenal and may be the make/break factor in your endevors. The valve must be capable of passing the gas you work so hard to get to it. That is why you need to know the Cv of the valve and make sure it is adequate.
(Strokes per minute x stroke length x 3.14 x radius squared = minute volume (volume of air used in one minute.)
I apologise for the length of this post. Please come see Air Horse One for yer-self. The trip may save you some of the time I wasted being to proud to ask for help.
I thank you Jock for allowing me to use this space to answer Mikey's question.
Pictures on the way,
Have a good weekend and please go to church and pray of our nation.
   L.sundstrom - Thursday, 09/13/01 21:51:38 GMT

Cracked anvil , cast venturis? where do I get these? what are the normally used for? I never liked the "step" of the bell reducers Ive got, looks a bit sudden to have a good venturi effect, but it worked.
   Shannell - Friday, 09/14/01 00:59:14 GMT

Bell reducers do indeed work, but that lip impedes the flow, smooth is better in my opinion. New they're available from an outfit named Ransome, which sells all manner of goodies useful in forges and furnaces. Since they are virtually indestructible,however, you might also look around outside furnace shops, in junkyards, for old discarded gas furnaces. Braze the venturis onto your supply tubes. Bonus: they come with chokes. Mmmm, good!
   Cracked Anvil - Friday, 09/14/01 01:14:30 GMT

Ummm, just looked up Ransome. Their website is http://www.meeder.com/ransome_mfg_.htm and it does not feature the equipment I see in their 1994 catalog, which is/was chock full of venturis, torches, furnaces, burners, etc. But, try 'em anyway. Maybe that stuff is just small beans for them. Or maybe they laid off the line onto somebody they recall the name of.
   Cracked Anvil - Friday, 09/14/01 01:29:35 GMT

I have an antique forge from the 1920s-1930s and would like to know if you could give me an estimate on how much it would be worth. It is a large four foot by three foot base with blow cage. Included are handmade Amish tools. Thanks for any help.

Jenny Findley
   Jenny Findley - Friday, 09/14/01 02:32:05 GMT

Old Forge Jenny, These vary greatly depending on who's interested. Anywhere from $125 US to $500 if all the pieces are there and they are not rusted out or worn out. The tools are something that would have to be looked at seperately. There are good hand made tools and bad.
   - guru - Friday, 09/14/01 03:52:52 GMT

About 6 weeks ago I made myself a coal forge because I got a job making 22 pair of strap hinges. The eyes are forge welded. There was no way I could do this in my old NC forge. The blower setup is a $50 vacuum motor from Grainger and a variable transformer. Works very well. I disconnected this blower and hooked it up to my attempt at a forced air forge. I was able to adjust the air all over the place. It just didn't look like the burners that I built were ever going to do the job. By the way I looked again and I did get the plans from abana. From a Hans Peot or something. I contacted Mr. T-Rex and he has a 30 day wait on his burners. So I guess its back to fiddling with the home made kind. Now I'm on to trying the Minimongo design. One good thing is that I have a RHI refractories near me that is selling me the Insa-blanket or board at wholesale prices. When I handed the guy the cash for the sale he looked at me as if to say "whats this??" Most of the time they deal with big factories but he did say that they are nation wide and like the idea of dealing with the little guy. I don't own stock in the company or anything just thought I'd pass the tip along.
   Pete-Raven - Friday, 09/14/01 04:01:07 GMT

I am a beginner at blacksmithing, and heat treating metal, but my grandfather (Oscar Widmer) was the village blacksmith in Kimberly Idaho from the 40's to 1955. I still have many of the original tools. (No, I don't want to sell any of them, I plan to use them myself.)

I have an old office chair with worn out springs. I know it is probably easier and less expensive to buy a replacement spring, but...

Is tempering springs a one time only thing, or can it be re-done to make a spring usable again? If it can be re-done suggestions on how to use a coal/charcoal forge to do the heating are welcome.

Thanks for your help, and for providing a great web site!

   Rick Widmer - Friday, 09/14/01 04:04:28 GMT

I want to put a flaming propane torch outside my showroom, I've made forge burners before but how do I get as big a flame as possible with as small amount of gas as possible?, I think 1-2 feet high of flame would be ideal, how do I make one of these? and how do I calculate the gas usage?
   Shannell - Friday, 09/14/01 04:18:41 GMT

I want to put a flaming propane torch outside my showroom, I've made forge burners before but how do I get as big a flame as possible with as small amount of gas as possible?, I think 1-2 feet high of flame would be ideal, how do I make one of these? and how do I calculate the gas usage?
   Shannell - Friday, 09/14/01 05:05:40 GMT

Susan and Cracked. All 3 of Weygers books have been compiled into one book and reprinted with the title "The Complete Modern BlacksmithTen Speed Press, Berkeley, Cal. C. 1997 Compiler is Peter Partch. It is in print and easy to get. the original 3 books have become collectors items= pricey.
   slag - Friday, 09/14/01 07:10:19 GMT

Springs: Rick, Springs fail in several ways. The often break from fatigue. This is the result of high performance springs cycling millions of times. It is a rare occurance but it DOES happen. Springs also "take a set". This occurs when springs are bent or compressed for a long time and fail to return to their original shape. This is common in automobile springs where there is load on the springs for decades and is the reason for "blocking up" old cars taken out of service. The last is when springs yeild (bend). On compression springs this is a result of bad design. Most compression springs can take being compressed to "shut height" without damaging them. On tension coil springs this is the result of overtravel. The springs have been stretched to the point of yeilding and are no longer their original shape when relaxed. I suspect this last type is the kind of failure you have. Re-heattreating the springs will not correct their shape. Most tension coil springs are tightly wound the coils each touching each other. To return the spring to this shape will be difficult. It would need to be compressed to shape. Heated to anneal and slowly cooled, unloaded to check that it remained tightly wound, then rehardened and tempered.

New custom made springs or new replacements would be much more economical and reliable. There are spring catalogs that have tens of thousands of spring sizes and types and replacements can usualy be found.

For details on heat treating see our Heat Treating FAQ.
   - guru - Friday, 09/14/01 12:56:20 GMT

Shannell, I think you are on your own on this one!
   - guru - Friday, 09/14/01 12:57:03 GMT

Larry, nice job on explaining what you did with the valving, etc. Iíd like to make a couple of comments. Most of you know I am concerned about the safety of the kinyon setup due to potential pressure spikes. Again, I have not heard of anyone getting hurt, so I donít want to cry wolf. But many people do not understand the principles involved.

I have what I think is a cost effective solution. The pressure spikes would come from trapped air in the cylinder getting compressed by the moving weight of the hammer when the directional control valve is closed to that end of the cylinder. So the source of the spikes is the cylinder. I propose that pressure relief valves be installed in tees at both of the cylinder connections. That way, if there is a pressure spike, it can be relieved through the relief valves. You always want to install relief valves as close to the pressure spike source as possible. Iím talking about the same kind of valve that is installed as a safety relief on small air compressors. They are cheap. Grainger part number 5A709 is $6 and a better one is Grainger # 5A714 at $10. These are preset at about 150 psi. There are different numbers available for the same price up to 200 psi. I would install the 150 psi units. If there are pressure spikes above 150 psi in the kinyon style circuit, you should not be using typical compressed air rated components.

Cheap insurance. With the relief valves in tees on both cylinder connections, you could install typical compressed air components and not worry about pressure ratings, etc.

I wouldnít try to use flexible tubing as a safety valve. Some tubing has a higher factor of safety than the metal valves. Flexible tubing also has a much higher pressure drop than hard tubing or pipe.

The metal components are not necessarily safe just because they donít blow up in the first few hours of operation. Most fluid power components fail as a result of metal fatigue. And that can happen any time. Just about the time you have been operating it for years and are feeling safe. If operating stresses are below the fatigue limit for the material, it will ďneverĒ fail. Never being a relative term. Grin.

Yes, bigger flow rating power valves are better. You will have less pressure drop. Less pressure drop is more hitting power and faster speed. I donít want to get into a big discussion on Cv rating, but it is only valuable to compare the flow capacity of different valves.

If your frame is stiff enough, metal tubing would be better all around. Less pressure drop, generally safer around hot metal, less expansion in the piping will mean faster response.

If Kinyons information contradicts me, please let me know.

Have Fun, Be Safe!
   Tony - Friday, 09/14/01 13:09:53 GMT

Larry,, Tony, Concerning the Kinyon-style hammer valving. I used a 300 psi 3/4" flexible hose for all except the impulse lines from the roller assy to the 5-way valve. In that application I used 1/8" high pressure tubing (plastic). You have to use smaller lines to the impulse or the air will tend to compress rather than switch the valve. I think Tony's concern of the spikes may be valid although I've had mine in operation for almost two years and have had no problems it might be ready to fail somewhere in the system that I'm not aware of. Not a bad idea to put the releif valves on, as Tony said it's cheap insurance. I brought the dimensions to a company that specializes in making custom air and hydraulic lines. I would recommend this instead of making the lines yourself unless you have the equip. TC
   Tim Cisneros - Friday, 09/14/01 14:02:35 GMT

Shannel: My oilfired forge is ready in about 5 min for bending work but in 20 for forgewelding. so it is also what TYPE of work.
   OErjan - Friday, 09/14/01 17:33:28 GMT

I am an oil-burner technician and was at one time thinking about making a forge with a Riello Oil-burner burning #1 fuel since the Riello has a short, wide fire, and #1 fuel burns with less soot.

How is your forge set up, and how does it work for you? What are the downsides as opposed to LP?

I am VERY curious about a #1 OR #2 fired forge.
- Norm
   Norm Harvey - Friday, 09/14/01 18:25:23 GMT

Norm. my forge is about like a old style blowtorch (venturi burner with fuel preheat) and uses diesel for fuel.
not much more I want to discuss about it's design, the liablity on this kind of thing is ridiculously high.
the hard part was to get the oxygen/fuel balance.
it is curently just a one burner micro forge (65mm dia and 195mm deep),
I could easily make a 2, 3 or 4 burner forge just double... volume of chamber. as is it is verry economic to use when forging small parts, leaves, nails, rivets... that is what I designed it for.
   OErjan - Friday, 09/14/01 19:20:19 GMT

Interesting. I was thinking of an oil burner like the kind used to heat homes mounted on an insulated box with a flue and a power-venter. I abandoned the idea in favor of an LP forge just for the simplicity. Basically with an LP forge there is little trial and error.

I noticed you said you use Diesel fuel. Thats the same as #2 fuel, Home heating oil. If you buy heating oil it is MUCH cheaper because there are no taxes added to it. Also you may want to consider burning #1 fuel or Kerosene. It burns VERY clean although it does not have the self lubricating properties that #2 fuel has. A little FYI #1 fuel or Kerosene is jet and rocket fuel.

I am sure you were already aware but just an FYI for anyone else experimenting with oil-fired forges.

- Norm

   Norm Harvey - Friday, 09/14/01 19:35:46 GMT

Kinyon applied Cv standards only to valves as far as I know. I just used very small valves on my discovery voyge, and ended up with a very slow moving hammer. One light moment occured. My lab bench was a "I" beam I clamped the cylinder to with the piston going down to a steel plate on the floor. I didn't feel like mounting it for real until I knew if it would work. I was triing to reinvent the wheel (valve system) using a yoke off a universal joint, a 1 1/4 inch ball bearing and a valve spring. Anyway, at one point with the piston extended to the floor I applied air pressure and the beam started bouncing up and down on the floor like a bucking broncho. "Houston, we have achieved oscillation". The problem was that it had a 1 inch stroke. That's when I pulled out the Kinyon book.

Tony, Great idea on pressure pop off valves....will do.

God bless,
   L.sundstrom - Friday, 09/14/01 19:44:52 GMT

i was wondering if you had any information on building a side blast forge (where to purchase the side blast twuere) and maybe some schematics? any info would be greatly appreciated. thanks

   travis koons - Friday, 09/14/01 21:08:01 GMT

I'm a designer/fabricator of furniture & sculpture, with limited forging skills but access to a fairly
well-equipped forging shop. I need to make a jig for bending some large-diameter scrolls (30"), and am
having difficulty getting a nice curve with an even progression and no flat spots. I'm making the jig
with 1"x1/2" flat bar for rolling 3/4"x1/4" scrolls. I'm using a large natural gas forge and attempting
to form the scrolls old-school style, with a hammer and anvil. I can taper out the end of the material
and get the inside of the scroll nice & tight, but lose control after the 1st revolution. Any
suggestions from the pros, other than "Keep practicing"?
   S. Evans - Friday, 09/14/01 22:25:45 GMT

Looking for a blacksmith retired or otherwise to tutor in the Glasgow area of Scotland.

If you can help please contact me at the e-mail address given.


   Mick Connor - Friday, 09/14/01 23:07:45 GMT

S. Evans, 3/8" thick is OK for the thickness of the scroll form and is easier to handle. Use a bending fork in the vise, the distance between posts just slightly more than the 3/8", and use it in conjunction with a wrench (a "hickey"}. Likewise, the distance between the two wrench posts is slightly more than 3/8". Hold your workpiece horizontally and pull with the wrench, not the holding hand. The piece must move between the far post of the wrench and the near post of the fork. You have "trapped" it thusly, whatever length you desire being moved between those two posts. You can unbend as well, if you overbend. Sure, it takes practice. If you have an overbend or have "flat" areas, try to figure where the error *begin*. That's the place that gets put between the fork and wrench. Open it, perhaps just a little more than you ought to, and rebend.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 09/14/01 23:42:51 GMT

Thanks to Larry and all for the info ....Larry I will definitely have to come and see Air Horse One....before I start on a Hammer.....thanks again
   Mikey - Friday, 09/14/01 23:53:12 GMT

I figured i would tell you that there is another coal supplier in illinois that is not in the coal scuttle it is called city coal and asphault it is located in pekin illinois i believe the going rate is 10-15 dollars per fifty pound bag of pocohontas fairly clean too

   dunchadh - Saturday, 09/15/01 01:53:14 GMT

Larry, To quote an unknown predecessor, and for all the guy's (This is a guy thing) who will not ask for directions "Instructions are for those who admit defeat" TC
   Tim Cisneros - Saturday, 09/15/01 02:37:42 GMT

Guy thing: A few years ago there was a quiz on the net to test your "Guyness Quotient". The first question went something like:

You, (a guy) are visited by aliens from an advanced technological civilization. They present you with a device that will end war, cure all known diseases and feed the hungry.

Your course of action is: (choose one of the following)

a. Give it to the Secretary General of the United Nations.
b. Give it to the President of the USA
c. Take it apart to see how it works.

Guess which choice gets the highest GQ score. :)
   adam - Saturday, 09/15/01 04:55:34 GMT

With the answer (C) being so obvious...why'd they bother to ask the question?
   - Pete F - Saturday, 09/15/01 07:26:10 GMT

i am a secondary student and i am doing sheet metal as a subject and i was woundering if you could give me some advice on how to make a sword for a project. i have tried a few times under the advice of my teacher but he does not know what to do and i realy want to learn
   daniel - Saturday, 09/15/01 08:30:53 GMT

I get my coal from a supplier not on the list; Williams Coal & Oil in Braintree, Ma. They charge $5 per 50lb bag if you bag it yourself.
- Norm
   Norm Harvey - Saturday, 09/15/01 10:55:20 GMT

alien gift question: answer: none of the above. instead, here at the Cracked Anvil Center for Analysis what we'd do is, see, we'd patent it and then sell it by the minute for the market rate, with demurrage extra, of course, and a hazmat fee, too, natch.
   Cracked Anvil - Saturday, 09/15/01 17:06:06 GMT

Why does everyone want to make swords? Isnīt it enough that the can buy them from us? Cheap sons-of mumblegrumble....
   Olle Andersson - Saturday, 09/15/01 18:13:13 GMT

Side Blast: Travis, These were not very popular in the US but there was interest for brief periods. They were much more popular in British and commercial models were made on both sides of the pond. Howver in the US I don't think any of the major manufacturers made them.

Side blast tuyer's are water cooled. The tuyer is attached to a water tank that comprises the back wall of the forge. It is made nozzel shaped (a slight taper) and is double walled so that the water circulates all the way to the nose. Air enters from the back of the storage tank. One advantage of the water cooled side blast tuyer is that the shop had hot water.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/15/01 23:07:54 GMT

Scrolls S Evans, See our iForge demo page on scrolls and laying out scrools as well as our 21st Century page article on benders.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/15/01 23:10:27 GMT

Swords: Daniel, #1, swords are not made from sheet metal, this is the wrong project for the class you are taking. #2, a sword is nothing more than a very big knife. LOOK at a good kitchen knife or filleting knife. Many times the parts are the same. Get a book on knife making and study it. Make a GOOD specialty knife. If you can't make a good quality 8 to 10 inch kitchen or chef's knife then you can't make a sword. Start small and work up.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/15/01 23:19:45 GMT

alien gift-- I am ever so sorry. Here, I went and completely forgot the delivery system for this stuff. The substance would only be available from our CACA-licensed practitioners working in our dispensaries, final delivery through our network of distributors. And, oh, yes, $5,000 non-interest-paying deposit on each container.
   Cracked Anvil - Sunday, 09/16/01 02:25:07 GMT

Guy Thing? I venture that the term "guy thing" is nigh obsolete in usage. When was the last time you were at a restaurant when the waitress or waiter *did not* say "Can I help you guys? Can I get you guys something to drink? May I get you guys anything else?" No matter whether you're male, female, old, or young, everybody's a guy these days.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 09/16/01 03:07:01 GMT

sword? what good is a sword? try getting a sword past security. try sitting down at the movies with a sword. what I want is somebody to teach me to forge a pocket laser ray gun that looks exactly like a Parker ball point. and quick.
   Cracked Anvil - Sunday, 09/16/01 05:36:02 GMT

Everyone wants to make a ray gun. A ray gun is nothing but a souped up lazer pointer. Start small and work up. Learn to forge a small utility lazer first.
Re the alien gift....spoken as a true American! But can we take it apart first?
Frank; Of course you are right in terms of usage..but sex-linked glandularly mediated motivations still have a way of shaping our inclinations (grin).
   - Pete F - Sunday, 09/16/01 06:29:58 GMT

Its a "guy thing" "You guis" (you guys) is the New England, New Jersey version of "ya'll" (you all), that I've modified for myself when writing to "folks" or "you folks" as a way of addressing a group. Growing up in the South it is hard to think of any other way to say it other than "yaalll". But since this is an international forum that is often translated mechanicaly I try to use English that will translate. As popular as the slang you guis, and yall, is in America, it is not recognized by most translation programs. As Frank pointed out its a twist of language that addresses everyone in a group as "guys" or "guis" in the New Jersey vernacular.

Its a "male thing" Not to be sexist but men and women ARE different. I have yet to meet a woman that collects tools and machinery to the point that there is no room left in the shop, house and lot. Or that thinks they need the worlds biggest anvil (mine is bigger than yours). Which phycologists would probably say is some sort of phalic symbolism having to do with male dominance like having the most money, power ect. Not that women don't want to be rich or powerful but they generaly do it differently and rarely does it dominate their lives in ways that are symbolic rather than factual.

The credo "the bigger the better" or "MORE POWER!" realy IS a male (guy) thing.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/16/01 13:09:33 GMT

yah, what Pete said....
   - guru - Sunday, 09/16/01 13:11:47 GMT

you can take it apart but only after you get it. which, I forgot to mention requires joining the Cracked Anvil Betterment Association, with a merely pro forma, mind you, application and membership clearance process, annual physical examination fee, processing fee, modest premium payments. We have a special going right now, .03% for a 10-year membership, cash in advance. This how you say in your language "small utility laser" is just exactly what I have in mind. Runs on a rechargeable battery, 18 pops just like a Glock, stopping power of a .44 special, looks like a Chapstick, has a built-in flashlight, cell phone, calculator, police whistle and decoder. And a secret compartment.
   Cracked Anvil - Sunday, 09/16/01 14:14:02 GMT

On the Reil forge and burner page, "Tweeko"(?) tips are mentioned. Is this just a brand name of MIG tips?
   Pete - Sunday, 09/16/01 14:55:05 GMT

Shannell: I like your forge. Looks like you cut an 8" (203mm) pipe in half for the sides of the forge. If you added another burner where would you put it? On the same side between the other two? Does your forge have a hot side? I think I might give the idea a whirl.
   Pete - Sunday, 09/16/01 15:11:52 GMT

Coal...i live in Kansas and my coal is mined in South East Kansas. i drive four miles out of my way coming home from work to get it, 65 dollars a ton.
   Robert - Sunday, 09/16/01 15:34:32 GMT

Tweco tips: Yes, Pete, Tweco is just a brand of MIG welding components. They are good quality, however. Any brand of MIG tip will work for an orifice, but there are also different lengths as well as different hole sizes.
   Tony - Sunday, 09/16/01 15:51:59 GMT

Finally got my propane forge put together totally and lit it... one Big problem.. some fumes were emitted that i'm not familiar with. Rather powerful ones that had my coughing for about five minutes. What could this be?? also my regulator seems to be locked all the way open... it doesn't have a guage on it but when i try to close it or open it more there was no change. Please advise.

thank you,
Robert V
(aka Scotsman)
   Scotsman - Sunday, 09/16/01 17:12:04 GMT

propane forge fumes, regulator: the fire in a jiffy will cook the _____ out of the box, so whatever's on it or in it will emit nasty stuff. Don't do this indoors, if you can possibly help it: mucho carbon monoxide in addition to any incidental crud. Sounds, to me anyway, as if you need a new regulator.
   Cracked Anvil - Sunday, 09/16/01 18:15:27 GMT

Eastern PA bituminous coal source.......Blaschok Coal Corp.
Ravine, PA....$88.00 per ton or they will sell by the pound. $4.40 per hundred. More than twice the price of Bradford coal, near Clearfield, Pa but about 100 miles closer to Allentown.
   Bob Beck - Sunday, 09/16/01 21:09:42 GMT

got the regulator figured out... still the fumes were bad.. i might just need to burn it out for bit..:p DEFINETLY do it outside if anyone has anymore advice please let me know. And thanks Cracked
   Scotsman - Sunday, 09/16/01 21:15:28 GMT

Sorry, forgot to list Blaschok Coal Corp. Phone 570-345-8486
   Bob Beck - Sunday, 09/16/01 22:09:55 GMT


I live in Montreal, Canada and I teach Iaido ( The art of Japanese swordsmanship ) and I have noticed that some unsharpened practice swords ( called iaitos ) are made out of zinc/berylium alloy some out of zinc/aliminium alloy, what is the difference between those alloys, Thanks, Bob
   Robert Thivierge - Monday, 09/17/01 01:57:43 GMT

fumes-- you shouldn't be getting anything more noxious than funky old propane furnace exhaust. Mmmmm, good! But deadly. It hangs around even outdoors if the breeze ain't blowing. Anything else must be, has to be, coming off the forge itself: paint, maybe, or caulking if you used some kind of masonry or fireplace cement. How about the casing? Some kind of stuff around the forge that's cooking? Maybe it's just that you're not getting a neutral burn and what you are smelling is unspent propane. Not good. Check your flame color. Ought be a nice healthy sharp blue, mainly. Lotta fluttery yellow, needs tuning. Maybe something near the forge is cooking? Like maybe your supply line if it's rubber? Heat radiates maybe 18 inches or more off a hot furnace.
   Cracked Anvil - Monday, 09/17/01 04:04:31 GMT

Got to thinking, after the emminent Cracked immediately pointed out that an adroit handling of the economic potential of the alien gift was called for..perhaps even BEFORE taking it apart to see how it works.....
That that is a manifestation of true genius. So , recognizing that , even given the alien gift, I was doomed to remain a low rent junkyard dog in my own junkyard, at best......the prudent thing to do was to invest my entire piggy-bank in the vast and well appointed Cracked Anvil Mutual funds Group...so as to have something to retire on.
But when i logged on today; it was clear that Wall Street got there first. Awwww.
When a propane flame is adjusted just the right kind of wrong..it puts off some kind of really noxious choking fumes. It is a carboration/mixture problem as Cracked says and probably means your burners need to be reworked in my experience. Centering jets, cleaning up interior roughness, and how far the jet project relative to the venturi is a place to start.
In my Sandia forge,like an oxy-acet torch, a sharp blue flame is an oxidizing flame and causes scale etc.
A slightly more reducing or carborizing flame is a little cooler but tends to easier on things.
   - Pete F - Monday, 09/17/01 07:19:07 GMT

Frank Turley -
Thanks a million for the advice on bending scrolls - the bending fork and wrench I made today work great. Now, for one more question: after I've made the scroll, which is now flat, how do I get it to the "cone" shape I need (with the center of the scroll as the high point), so that I can wrap my 1/4" flat bar around the form and make multiples? I found I couldn't force the spiral into this 3D form without messing up the center of the scroll. I'd be grateful for any more input you may have. Thanks -

   S.E. Evans - Monday, 09/17/01 12:05:18 GMT

I have an old draw blade (used for shaving wood) It has two handles,and you put it on the wood and pull it towards you and shape the wood.Would you know how to heat treat it.It's very old,and would make a great knife.
   - Bill C - Monday, 09/17/01 12:40:56 GMT

The blade is already "heat treated". It was hardened and tempered (what most beginers call heat treating) when it was made. As to "how to do it" you are on your own, as the grade and type of steel could be just about anything. If you decide to forge the blade into a knife, well, the generic method is to heat to non magnetic, quench, (use oil on tool steel) clean the scale off the blade so you can see the bare steel, and reheat the spine of the blade and watch the colors run to the cutting edge. When you get the color you want (depending on the application for the blade) quench again.

Each steel is different and there are thousands of different steels out there. Good luck, or you can buy new steel and know what you have and then are able to harden and temper properly for your known aloy.
   Wayne Parris - Monday, 09/17/01 13:39:57 GMT

S.E., I confess to not having made a scroll form with a complete cone shape. In the past, I have followed the method shown in the book, "Wrought Ironwork", London, England. While the bar is straight, forge a fishtail (flare) on the end with your cross peen. Start on the end and work back, making the length, from before-to-behind , a little longer than the fishtail width. Use the rockered (regular) hammer face to get rid of the peen marks. "Push" the fishtail over *on edge*, offsetting it, until the bottom edge of your tool is straight. Then, crop the fishtail at its widest point at right angles to the stock length. Clean up any burrs by filing or sanding. This "lopsided" flare is the scroll form center where you will eventually start your scroll. If you are right handed, start bending the scroll center down "on the flat" with the flared point to your left. If left handed, it points to the right. The reasoning is that a right-hander usually walks clockwise (indigenous folks say "sunwise") around the finished tool. When the scroll is finished, the tool isn't. It lacks a leg at the outside end. The leg is made by bending on edge toward the tool bottom, a length say, from 3 to 5 inches, finishing at 90 degrees to the tool. Keep the scroll cooled while using a localized heat for the bend.
Or less traditionally, rivet on or arc weld a leg.

I have seen a conical spiraled scroll form in Oregon years ago. It looked to me as if it were made of a pre-cut length of stock that had a long taper in width BEFORE making the scroll. Some smiths mount the tool on top of a flat, steel plate.

Footnote. It is much easier to make a scroll freehand than to try to make it exactly like a drawing or another scroll.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 09/17/01 13:54:26 GMT

Re: Pete's kind and cautionary words, and drawknives: 1) Pete, many thanks. To paraphrase the rodeo announcer, "Your applause is my only reward." You're probably right about the flame, but the sharp blue gets it hottest, seems to me, and the scale, like the poor, are always with us, anyway. 2) With drawknives, watch out for the dread thermal warpage (you remember old Thermie, don't you, big star back in the '40s, right?)-- They sometimes (today's surprise challenge!) have a tool steel bit that will separate from the softer body in a quench. How about just drawing with it?
   Cracked Anvil - Monday, 09/17/01 13:55:16 GMT

Pete, I think it might be a bit smaller than 200mm pipe, not sure though,but yeah thats how I made it, also has a "sump" welded on the bottom to fit the fire bricks into. If I do put another burner in it would be between the other 2 but the more I use it the more I think it doesnt need it, she will do 1250 Deg C easy enough at 8 psi through 1.1mm orifice's. The heat is quite even across the base of the forge, there is a slightly hotter part where the flame first hits the bricks.
   Shannell - Monday, 09/17/01 14:18:27 GMT

Our middle school has received a grant to provide after-school programs concerning the Lewis and Clark Expedition for our middle school students. At the instructor training camp this summer we learned how to make awls and forks at a portable forge. None of us had ever had forging experience, but we LOVED it. Now we are excited about getting a unit put together for the middle school students. Unfortunately I don't know where to start looking for information on basic blacksmithing. I will ask the coordinator to purchase the books you have recommended for beginners. I looked at your site and some of the links, but all I'm seeing is way too advanced for me and my middle school kids. Do you know of a site that would be a good starting place? Thanks-
LeAnne Brandt, Glasgow Middle School
   LeAnne Brandt - Monday, 09/17/01 16:39:22 GMT

Sunday I was fiannly able to dig the 7 unmounted postvises out of the shop and line them up to decide which two were going to Quad-State. One I had bought to sell on to a new student cheap; but all the rest were ones I wouldn't have minded keeping---including the one I bought *saturday* at the fleamarket. Lining them up I could finally pick one to sell---the pain, the terrible pain....OTOH I was looking at them all in the line and realized that you could have taken any 4 of them and in total the cost would about meet the $150 figure mentioned previous...The "student" starter vise I plan to sell for $35 warts and all (it does have the mounting bracket and spring!); but only to someone who can say that they are just starting to smith and don't have a postvise---and I will still make a profit on that deal!

While I'm at Quad-State they stack will be guarded by rabid possums of unusual size and a deadfall of large anvils (what a way to go!)

Thomas hope to see y'all at the MOB encampment---we're going to try for right behind the SOFA building
   Thomas Powers - Monday, 09/17/01 19:12:02 GMT


Someone sent me a picture of the WTC in 2005. Building one was taller than the other four buildings and had an American flag
on top of it.

I lost the graphic (operator head space error) and now I need to forward it to a friend.

Anybody got it?
   Paw Paw Wilson - Monday, 09/17/01 20:36:03 GMT

Shannell:I'm looking to make a bit larger forge. 350x600x100
(14x24x4") I was thinking 4 burners. Do I put them all on one side? Or four across the top. The forge I had in mind was one I saw at a confrence which as I was enlightened from here, turns out was a Swan porta Forge. I called Tom Clark to find out how much they are and the answer I got was that I'm gonna stay on this path.
Pete-F: I made up a burner today with a new to me style of reducing coupling. I set up the burner in the vise to see how it would work. I remembered your post above and even though I thought I had everything in the proper place I wiggled this and that and discovered how little tweeking it takes to make a very big difference in the function of the burner. All the yellow feathers went away and I got all blue. What a difference! How long will the steel flares last me?
   Pete-Raven - Monday, 09/17/01 21:56:00 GMT

Guru and all,
I'm slowly starting to get things gathered up for some forging. Built a brake drum forge from you plans, but couldn't create enough heat. So I cut the top out of a 55 gal barrel leaving a five inch lip around 3/4s of the barrel and about 12 inches on the remaining 1/4. Turned it over and cut a hole in the center and mounted it on the forge with short braces. Then I created a hearth inside the barrel with very old hand fired brick, leaving an opening of about twelve inches. Now I have a firepot about seven inches deep by twelve inches diameter. Increased the heat dramaticaly. And created a handy shelf all around the edge.
Air supply consists of 2 1/2 pipe coupled to a 12 volt heater fan from a pickup truck. Next step is to install the small resistor from the truck so I can have low, medium and high speed.
Here's the questions. I have been told it takes three inches pot depth for every inch of stock heated. If that refers to thickness does width have any factor in heating? Also does anybody know of a coal source for central Ky. The nearest I have found is in Louisville, 75 miles away, and it runs around $200 a ton.
I am currently using small pieces and dust mined out of an old pile left over from when we used to burn coal for heat. It's not very good as it has a lot of slag in it. Would stoker be a better choice until I can get some blacksmith coal?
Thanks guys.
   - Larry - Monday, 09/17/01 22:59:24 GMT

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