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THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you.

This is an archive of posts from September 18 - 23, 2002 on the Guru's Den
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I am in the process of getting a 50 lb. Little Giant powewr hammer in running condition and was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me:
1. What size motor should I use? At what rpm's should it run? The man I bought it from said I should use a 2 hp 1140 motor but I haven't been able to find one at a reasonable cost. I have a 1 and 1/2 hp 1725 rpm motor that I plan on using. Would it be acceptable?
2. The pully has some wear in the bearings and I am thinking of replacing them to tighten up the pully movement. I was wondering if anyone has replaced theirs with the bronze bushings that Little Giant sells. It seems to me that it would be easier to press in the bronze bearings than to pour a new babbitt bearing and have it machined out to the proper size. Also while I am repairing the bearing. I would like to replace the brake material and was wondering what I should use. I ordered the Dave Manzer video yesterday and it probably will help me alot but I thought I would go ahead and ask the questions any way. Any info is greatly appreciated Thanks, Mike
   Mike - Wednesday, 09/18/02 02:22:03 GMT

Do you have any information about blacksmithing in the renaissance period (17th century)? Please send links/info if you have any.
   Rachael - Wednesday, 09/18/02 02:23:15 GMT

Little Giant Tech: Mike, See our Little Giant spec sheet on our Power hammer Page for specific numbers.

The motor speed is irevellent but you need the reduction to operate the hammer at the proper speed (or a little slower). It can be done in one step but it is better to do it in two steps. 50# LG's came with a 1800RPM 2HP motor. Center clutch hammers were designed to run off a low speed line shaft and had smaller pulleys. A 50# LG came with a 2HP motor. Little Giant did not use fractional HP motors so they skipped the 1-1/2 HP size. I've run a 50# LG on a 1-1/2HP motor and it ran fine.

You cannot press fit a bronze bearing into a machine designed for babbit. The journals are rough and not designed for a bushing. To install bronze sleeves where there was babbit you have to machine the parts to accept the bushing. Babbit bearings are normally poured on-size using a mandrel. It is bronze bushings that usualy must be machined to fit after pressing in EXCEPT in the case of very precise bushing, shafts and bores designed for the shrink of the busing. This is only found in high production devices like fractional HP motors that use oilite bronze bearings.

Bronze is much harder than babbit and will wear a shaft faster when improperly lubricated.

Don't try to re-engineer a machine unless you are a machine tool engineer and fully understand the machine.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/18/02 02:52:38 GMT

Does anyone have any idea how they did blacksmithing in the 17th century? I need info for a class project....
   Rachael - Wednesday, 09/18/02 03:26:01 GMT

Mike-- My 50# Meyer Bros. hammer, a copy of the Little Giant, has run fine on a 1 H.P. single-phase motor mounted up over the clutch-pulley for the last 11 years. Before that it ran on another, much older 3-phase, 1 H.P., which, however, probably put out a lot more oomph than the rating.
   miles undercut - Wednesday, 09/18/02 04:42:09 GMT

is it possible to fix an anvil
i have one the there is a deep gouge on one edge of the top.
can if be filled with say ad hard facing rod.

the anvil is about 100lbs and there is a "w" stamped on the bottom under the horn.

any information is good.
   ralph - Wednesday, 09/18/02 06:42:24 GMT

Greetings all, room for another Aussie by the fire?
This is a test for a post as well as a question. I have been checking out the archives for a few months now and find then very interesting.
I know it is out there somewhere - but where? I am trying to find out if a cubic foot of steel that should be used to make a plastic or injection mould (I was told it was P20 steel)would be any good to use for an anvil. I can get it for a good price.
If not good for an anvil, it would make a good doorstop or a stool to sit on whilst imbibing a quantity of brewed beverage?
   Big A - Wednesday, 09/18/02 11:18:52 GMT

Shop lighting: I need to install some low bay lighting in my shop. The question is high pressure sodium or metal halide? One is whiter than the other but I can't remember which. Also is one more efficient that the other? One more, I can wire these 220, will my bill be less if I do so?
   - Pete-Raven - Wednesday, 09/18/02 13:15:36 GMT


Get thee unto a library and find a copy (or do an inter-library loan for) “Mechanick Exercises or the Doctrine of Handy-Works” by Joseph Moxon, 1703; © 1975 by the Early American Industries Association, Scarsdale, NY; LoC 79-15526 . That's a good start! As long as you're there, try Alex Bealer's, "The Art of Blacksmithing" for an overall history. Both books are reviewed on the Bookshelf page at http://www.anvilfire.com/bookrev/. You might also take a look at Saugus National Historic Site at www.nps.gov/sagu/ . Be sure to click on the "in depth" button. Since very few techniques changed between the 16th century and the early 18th century (styles changed, but very little in the tools and techniques used to create those styles), any good books on Colonial or Early American blacksmithing will also be useful.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 09/18/02 14:05:05 GMT

Rachael; smithing in the 1600's was very much like smithing in the 1500's, the indirect method of making wrought iron starting with cast iron was known and the big changes like using coke to smelt iron (Darby) or crucible steel (Huntsman) came toward the end of the 1700's.

The basics are:
Materials: real wrought iron (a composite material) and shear steel.

Fuels: coal and charcoal were both used depending on where and what was being made.

Tools: hammer and tongs have basically been the same from Roman times till today. Anvil shape has changed with time and was very un-standardizied at this time (Hint look for 1600's paintings like "Venus at the forge of Vulcan") Use of water power for heavy forging hammers was common.

Look at "Mechanicks Exercises" by Moxon for info on the techniques (published in 1703, written in the end of the 1600's) Also look at Alan Williams et al book on the technology of the royal armouries at Greenwich. "Ironworks on the Sagus" has a bit of info on 17th century iron technologies IIRC and of course the information shown in "De Re Metallica" by Agricola was still valid even if the clothing styles had changed.

You are not going to find a single source that will cover this topic you will have to dig it out of many sources and assemble it into a coherent thesis.

   - Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 09/18/02 14:14:12 GMT

Further Note:

Be sure to click on the "Bookstore" link at the Saugus site for more books to pull from the library or on inter-library loan. Master Powers is quite right about multiple sources, although I would have said "...pound it into a coherent thesis." ;-)

Thomas: Maybe you're just the man to do the job?
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 09/18/02 14:29:40 GMT

How would you describe a traditional blacksmithing meet to someone who had never attended one and has little knowledge of blacksmithing in general?
   Jules - Wednesday, 09/18/02 14:38:19 GMT

Traditional Blacksmith Meets:
A bunch of folks interested in smithing getting together to swap tools, scrap, lies, watch people demonstrating aspects of the craft, show off things they have made---and teaching folks how they did it.

These folks will range from under 10 years of age to over 90 and from BBB (bearded beerbelly in bluejeans) to slim ladies, though in generally we tend to run towards the BBB's in pickups... potlucks and home made music is also pretty common.

Expect to come back itching to try out something you saw

   - Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 09/18/02 16:24:53 GMT

Traditional Blacksmith Meets:


What do you mean by "traditional"? Modern blacksmithing has been in a rebirth or renaissance since the 1960's. At that time blacksmithing in most western countries had died out, particularly in America. In North America the "traditions" of blacksmith meets starts in the 1973 with the establishment of ABANA. However, the "traditional" meetings occur on the local level at chapter or independent group meetings.

Unlike the trade in the distant past where knowledge was passed down father to son or Master to apprentice, modern blacksmithing is exemplified by the free exchange of information by individuals, groups and now web sites such as anvilfire.

Sharing and comradery are the keywords of the modern blacksmith and blacksmithing organizations world wide.

At a typical monthly ABANA chapter (now called affiliates) meeting there are foring demonstrations either by the host or by an invited demonstrator followed by an "open forge" where anyone may try their hand at blacksmithing OR demonstrate something themselves. Depending on the shop and folks involved the open forge may go on for hours. At some annual meets it may run until the wee hours or the fuel runs out. . .

There are also usualy a number of "tailgaters" in attendance. These are folks that buy sell and trade equipment from the back of their pickup truck, off the tailgate. Sometimes these are smiths with excess equipment but often they are part time equipment dealers that spend a great deal of time going to auctions, sales and fleamarkets seeking out blacksmithing equipment. They usualy have a "nose" for finding old tools where you or I would find nothing. For a small profit they perform a great service to the blacksmithing community in general. Need an anvil, forge or leg vise at a decent price? Blacksmith meets are the place to go.

The traditional fund raiser held at ever meeting is something called "Iron in the Hat". Everyone donates something, tools, a scap of metal, some odd object. . . a book, anything that might interest other blacksmiths or tool junkies. Occasionaly valuable objects are donated, sometimes it is junk and other times it is just useful stuff. Then numbered tickets are sold for a dollar each and you put your ticket or tickets in cups next to each object you are interested in. Toward the end of the meet a drawing is held to see who has won each item. It is great fun and you never know what kind of prize you will come home with.

There is generaly a group business meeting to decide some piece of business. These are usualy short and often you would not know they have occured.

The public is invited as guests and there is little or no pressure to join. Most meets are free to members and guests alike unless there is a meal provided, Then there may be a small fee charged.

This form of meet is also occasionaly privately hosted. Often a smith wants to show off his shop, some new piece of equipment or just have a party. Local groups and folks interested in smithing are invited. Often a meal is provided at the host's expense and most of the usual things go on. Demos, tailgating and ocassionaly Iron in the Hat. Sometimes these are fairly large events with a hundred or more people attending. When a meet of this type involves several blacksmithing organizations they usualy share the proceeds of Iron in the Hat if one is held, and SHOULD offer the host some compensation if a meal was provided.

THEN there are the big annual events. Not every group is large enough to put one on but many do. These events usualy last two or three days and are just bigger versions of the monthly meets. There are usualy many invited or paid demonstrators, many tailgaters and several meals are served. A fee is charged at most of these events to cover demonstrator fees, food and the venue. Attendance varies from several hundred to a thousand folks depending on the location and sometime the reputation of the event.

ABANA puts on a large conference every two years. Generaly these are more or everything and bigger than the rest. Often demonstrators are invited from other countries. It is impossible to see everything. In recent years they have come to have a circus atmosphere and there has been much controversy around them. They are also expensive to attend. But everyone should go to at LEAST one ABANA conference.

All the blacksmiths I've met are good honest people. There is no better group of folks to be associated with. Although there are fewer women smiths than men there is no discrimination against women or minorities and there is just as likely to be a woman demonstrating as a man at many meets. Generaly the public is invited to attend the monthly meets and learn about blacksmithing and what the local group does.

For more about what goes on at blacksmithing meets large and small see any of the 27 editions of the anvilfire NEWS.

Y'all come see us now.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/18/02 16:25:00 GMT

Dear Guru, I am a ToolMaker by trade for 25 years. I am changing careers to teach high school students machining. I am developing lessons plans. The first lesson plans (after safety) will be history. I want to give them basic metalurgical info too including carburizing. I think it would be a fun project to carburize iron the old way in the charcoal wood fire. Can this be done simply and within 8 hours? And then would we work harden the iron by hammer and anvil and quench in water or brine? Can you help and give me directions-can't find any. Thanks ever so much Dianna
   Dianna Williamson - Wednesday, 09/18/02 16:12:52 GMT

Huntsman & cast steel /// Darbey & coke mfg.& smelting
Being mildly obsessive-compulsive, I am compelled to dispel a very common misconception. The metallurgical use of coke for iron smelting and the discovery and use of the sealed crucible/flux process for producing refined steel, (cast steel process)are not advances made in the LATE 1700's. Mr. Darby (1678-1717) first used coke for converting iron ore to cast iron, in 1708. Coke use was rapidly adopted by all English iron masters. The reason was that there was a shortage of wood to make metallurgical charcoal for smeltering and smithing. The scarcity was serious in the middle 1550's. Queen Elizabeth (of sainted memory), had to pass several pieces of legislation, banning wood cutting, in order to preseve trees for the admiralty. (for ship's masts and spars, etc.)By 1700, there were few trees left, with which to make charcoal.

Mr. Darby's invention was a Godsend to England.That invention plus his introduction of sand mould casting helped kick start the industrial revolution in England. Sand casting allows the manufacture of cast parts of much finer shape and better precission, necessary fort the machines that were soon to be invented.

Mr. Huntsman's invention of chopping up Swedish blister steel and melting it with crushed glass flux in sealed crucibles was made between 1740 and about 1745. Mr. Huntsman kept his process a trade secret so the exact invention date is not known. The discovery of his process, is one of the classic cases of early industrial espionage. The discovery kickstarted the Sheffield steel industry. shortly thereafter.

To repeat my point, neither invention was made in the LATE 1700's.
Perhaps I'm being too fussy, (but the Devil made me do it).
   slag - Wednesday, 09/18/02 16:39:31 GMT


You can case harden iron or low carbon steel in 4 or 5 hours but this is only a layer of high carbon steel about 1/32" thick that blends into the steel (has no sharp demarcation).

The steel to be carburized must be sealed in a container packed with charcoal or carbonaceous material. After a few hours at a red heat the contents of the box are dumped into water to harden the case. Most case hardened parts a finished to shape before casehardening.

The same method was used to create "blister steel" but the steel is held at a red heat for days not hours. The resulting product is blistered and not suitable for use as-is. It must then be refined by folding and forge welding numerous times to create a more uniform product. It is a LOT of work.

The standard text book and reference for the class you are teaching is Metalwork, Technology and Practice sold by McGraw-Hill or whoever they are today. . . It has been the standard text for over 60 years and has been updated over and over. It is used in high schools, colleges and trade schools.

The "normal" metalurgy and forging 1 day class (outside of the blacksmithing world) makes a chisel from a piece of tool steel. SAE 1095 or 5160 hex or octagon stock is used. A short piece is held with tongs, heated (with a forge or torch) and then forged to a taper. Afterwards the cutting end is heated and quenched to harden (I recommend an oil quench) and then tempered. Then it is sharpened and tested.

This is the typical one day survey class session. I would recommend making a center punch instead of a chisel, they are much more useful, everyone needs one and they can never be found when you need one. . .

If the McGraw-Hill text above is too much (it is a big thick expensive text book). Then The NEW Edge of the Anvil by Jack Andrews is very good and could be used as a text book. Although written primarily for new blacksmiths it reproduces some of the heat treating information from MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK (another reference I recommend almost daily). See our Book Shelf page for reviews on both.

AND if that is still too much, the NEW Boyscout Metalworking merit badge book has an interesting set of skills and projects including tinsmithing, casting and forging. However, it is designed for the instructor(s) to have the knowledge and skills to teach the subjects.

AND, judging from your questions I highly recommend you try to find time to take the toolmaking course at Frank Turley's blacksmithing school (click on THE GURUS at the top of this page). Hot working steel and doing your own heat treating as blacksmiths do is a MUCH different set of skills than toolmaking in the modern machine shop.

See also our FAQs page and the Heat Treating FAQ. . It needs to be cleaned up but you will find a lot of basics there.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/18/02 17:10:11 GMT

Guru, are you coming to SOF&A's Quad-State roundup this year? 3dogs
   - 3dogs - Wednesday, 09/18/02 18:00:10 GMT

Thanks Slag; my library is about 16 miles away from the computer. BTW I've been to Coalport and seen both the bridge and the remains of Darby's furnace; though others didn't really duplicate the process until the 1750's according to the course notes for UK students...

Note I didn't say they were *invented* then; but they became commercially important then; shoot we have data on crucible steel dating about 1000 years before huntsman for that matter.

What I am sure you will agree was that in the 1600's smithing was quite a bit like what was done in the 1500's where we have such a great record in De Re Metallica and has not changed that much by the time "Mechanicks Exercises" was written; but did change more by the time of Diderot's encyclopedia and a sea change by the time of the Kelly process metal became common. Ja?

   - Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 09/18/02 18:07:17 GMT

GURU - my son and i are going to install a blacksmith shop ion his 22X16 foot concrete-block-wall garage. We have built a portable truck-brake-drum forge with a 4'x2.5' bellows and aprox. 18x18 hood. We want the flue to come out the top, up a slight angle to the wall, then out the concrete block wall and turn up to about 3 feet above the roof. Does a 10 or 12" flue sound right? I have an old 7" fan i intend to put in the flue to help get the air moving, but not necessarily for constant use. I know that flues in homes need to be tuned to the shelf and opening size, because too large a flue can lack sufficient draft, too small can simply not overcome the gas and smoke production. Any rules of thumb?
   squirrelman - Wednesday, 09/18/02 18:31:10 GMT

Sad news:

Charlie Sutton, Canadian blacksmith, and a moving force behind the CanIron celebrations passed away September 16th, after a bout with cancer. Charlie wrote UNDER THE SPREADING CHESTNUT TREE, a basic blacksmithing book that teaches a lot in a little bit of space. Charlie will be missed.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 09/18/02 19:23:42 GMT

Use of Coal and Coke: Slag, you also have to recognize that in North America we held back on the use of coal and coke for about 100 years. Brittleness due to sulfur content in coal was a recognized problem and we still had large timber tracts to make charcoal. It wasn't until the greatly increased demands for iron just prior to the US Civil War that we changed to coal for iron production.

When inventions occur and their general adaptation are two differnt things. History often credits the person that was at the right place at the right time, not the true inventor.

   - guru - Wednesday, 09/18/02 19:33:04 GMT

Low-Bay Lighting:

Both high-pressure sodium and metal halide lighting will run off 220v (with the appropriate ballast), but there won't be any noticeable savings over 110v, since it is primarily a resistive load. 220v ballasts seem to be a bit more sturdily made and last longer, in my opinion. The metal halide is a cooler white, the sodium is a much warmer, yellow white. The drawback to both is that they generate a fair amount of radiated heat, however efficient their lumens per watt rating may be.

For lighting heights under about 16', I would recommend standard fluorescent lighting, unless you are willing to spend large amounts of money and are covering a large (over 3,000 sq. ft.) area. The fluourescents can be had in a "daylight" color spectrum that is easy on the eyes, and they are much less directional than the sodium or halide lamps. That diffuse lighting makes the shadows less of a problem and allows you to use a bit less overall light without having dark areas. Additionally, you can often obtain fluorescent fixtures very inexpensively at salvage yards or from electrical contractors, where the h.i.d. lamps are very scarce. Unless you need a jillion foot-candles on a small area, I think the h.i.d.s are over-rated for small to medium sized shops.

If you do use the fluorescents, have a few regular incandescent desk lamps in areas where you need to read. They're easier to read by for extended periods of time. The halogen lamps are particularly good.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 09/18/02 21:10:57 GMT

Thanks for the info on the Little Giant power hammer. When I talked of replacing the babbit bearing in the pully with the bronze ones from Little Giant in NE, I was only trying to find a simpler way of replacing the babbitt bearing. I haven't had any experience with babbitt bearings until now that I've my 50 lb. Little Giant and am trying to get it running. The only info that I have come across is in Kern's book on the Little Giants that I borrowed from a friend. His method of pouring the pully bearing by using a 2 degree tapered shaft and the maching out the bearing to fit the shaft seems like a lot of trouble. Why can't you just blacken the shaft and pour the bearing to size. By the way, my Dave Manzer video came today and I'm looking foward to watching it tonight. Thanks for your help. Mike
   Mike - Wednesday, 09/18/02 21:44:19 GMT

Lighting: My experiance with sodium lamps is that the yellow color makes everything very flat looking and hard to see in the shop. It also seems to effect depth perception. A friend of mine has a bunch of old steet lights for shop lighting and it is terrible to work in at night.

Flourescents are good but you need to be carefull using them around rotating machinery. They strobe on and off just enough that at certain speeds rotating objects like machine spindles will appear to be holding still. It helps to have a few incandecents in the mix.

Another note on flourescents is that if your shop is unheated and you have cold weather (anything less than 40°F) you need low-temperature balasts in the fixtures. Otherwise in cold weather the lights flicker and strobe visibly and bulbs have a very short life. Replacement balasts cost as much (or more) than the entire fixture so be sure to get them the FIRST time. I didn't and it is going to cost me a pretty sum (as well as a LOT of labor) to replace them. . . especially since they are on a 16 foot ceiling and I removed the scaffolding several years ago.

Check your line voltage before buying incandecent bulbs. Modern distribution systems often provide 125 volts. LOOK at the voltage rating on the bulbs. . . most sold in stores are 110 or 115 volt. The difference in bulb life is HUGE! If you go to an electrical supply they will often have 130 VAC bulbs. BUY a CASE! The difference in life is 30 to 50:1. In our family shop we went from replacing bulbs weekly to anually.

The only problem? When you run out of the high voltage bulbs you forget why you should NOT buy grocery store light bulbs. . . until you have been replacing bulbs weekly for a while. . .

The biggest savings in high voltage installations is in wire size. If large distances are involved the line losses are less with higher voltage but you don't use more electricity unless you try to make up for the line loses. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/18/02 21:46:42 GMT

A note on Charlie Sutton, as a jumpup starting smith I contacted Charlie for information, he spent uncounted hours explaining differant ways to approch what I was tring to do any rarely got exasperated with a pest, even after telling me the same thing several differant ways, this was before we even met. I finally met him at an OABA meeting and he was as kind and genourous in person as he was over the phone. sadly I only met with him in person twice but know that I allready miss the wisdom that he had to impart. Canada, the OABA ,and Blacksmithing in general have lost a great voice.

I will miss him. The world was a better place for him having passed through. My prayers to his family and loved ones.

   Mark P - Wednesday, 09/18/02 21:51:34 GMT

LG Clutch Pulley Bearings: If your machine has a center clutch just lubricate it and run it. They will woork with a lot of slop. The reason for machining the clutch pully bearing is to true up both the bearing AND the clutch surface which may be out of round. You also need the bearing to be dead true to the clutch bore. If you take care you can babbit to size but you must VERY carefully true the shaft to the clutch (+/-.005" TIR). There are numerous ways to do this but they all take adjustable fixturing of the pouring mandrel, a dial indicator and either balancing stands or a lathe big enough to rotate the assembly in while doing the truing.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/18/02 22:10:50 GMT

Re: Stainless steel slack tubs. This is a bit late but I have been out of pocket for the last 4 days and I am just getting caught up on this board. Stainless steel used in cooking utinsiles is often of the 18-8 variety (18% Chromium, 8% Nickel = austenitic stainless = non-magnetic) and this stuff can be quickly corroded by chlorides, ie, table salt, chlorine bleach, chlorinated water, etc. Also, stainless steels depend upon oxygen to replenish the chromium oxide film that protects the metal from corrosion. Slack tubs that sit for weeks or months without being changed can get depleted in oxygen and this can cause corrosion. I would suggest that every time you go to the shop, scoop up a couple of gallons of water and pour it back into the tub from a height of 3-4 feet (several times). This will entrain air into the water and keep the oxygen supply sufficient to maintain the stainless quality of the tub. It is interesting that a good oak barrel is still probably the best slack tub.
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 09/18/02 22:36:51 GMT

Mr. Powers /// cast steel Process.
Mr. Powers, I agree with you on most points. Especially, the difference between an invention date and the time when an invention is exploited, on an industrial scale. I presently do not have figures on the output of coke/blast furnace produced steel in England from 1708 until the 1750's. I will research the question in the next while. But what you say makes logical, historical sense, and I will work with the 1750 date.
That use of coke for smelting iron, came none too soon as the iron was needed to make the machines of the Industrial Revolution. The first of the textile machine inventions were made shortly after 1750. (Arkwright's frame, 1768 ; Hargreave's spinning jenny, 1770; and shortly thereafter Crompton's spinning mule and Cartwright's power loom.) The iron and some steel was, also, needed for the first steam pump, Savary's atmospheric engine in the 1690's (to pump water out of coal and mineral mines). The engine was improved upon by Newcomen in 1715, and "perfected" by Watt, in 1769, with his invention of the separate steam condenser.
Crucible steel is a good deal older than 1000 years before 1740. The ancient Indians were exporting crucible steel into Europe as early as 2000 years ago. ( some archaeologists say 2300 years ago) Some of that steel was the legendary Wootz steel.
Crucible steel was made in India, and elsewhere,by a variety of processes, three of which I will describe. All the processes required that the iron be melted. This can be done in a well blown charcoal fire (at around 1400 degrees centigrade.)
The main problem that had to solved, by the three processes, was to invent a clay crucible that was capable of withstanding iron/steel melting temperatures well above 1400 degrees centigrade. How this was done is beyond the scope of this writing. But let me tantalise the few people who are still reading this screed. The clay, which was standard issue clay, had lots of rice hulls (husks) in it!
The first of the 3 processes was carburising wrought iron , together with carbonaceous material. (e.g. wood, leaves, leather bits, hoof parings etc.) in a sealed crucible. The crucible was sealed with clay to make it air tight. It was then subjected to very high temperature, in a furnace, for many hours.
This process was a lot like the carburising of Swedish iron done, 1800 years later, in closed steel boxes that produced blister steel through slow heating for many days. The heat encouraged the carbon to slowly dissolve into the surface, and below it, of the wrought iron.
Please note that the temperature was never high enough to melt the iron. (the resulting blister steel was not homogeneous, hence the need for Huntsman's cast steel process that chopped up the blister steel and melted it with a little added flux. The melting turned converted the blister steel into a homogeneous steel.) Huntsman had done glass making, which had the highest temperature furnaces of the day. Indeed, his flux was crushed glass. (a good source of silicon).
The Indian process differed in one impotant aspect. The furnace temperatures were high enough that the iron slowly absorbed carbon and then became molten. (the crucibles withstood the very high temperature) The higher the percentage of carbon dissolved in the iron, the lower the melting point. The carbon dissolved into the wrought iron and eventually the melting point dropped low enough that the iron become molten. Melting allowed the carbon to dissolve uniformly throughout the iron. Careful control the percentage of dissolved carbon in that molten iron produced a high quality steel. There is good evidence that the Indian smiths knew how to adjust the percentage of carbon in that iron, very precisely.
There is some evidence that tends to suggest that Huntsman knew some English manufacturers that had visited India and he may have learned about the process from them and then he patented it.
The second Indian process for steel making was far more elegant. The process was carried out in sealed crucibles, as in the previous method. But the crucible charge was very different. It consisted of a mixture of wrought iron (with very little carbon in it), and cast iron that could have as much as 4% carbon. (making it very hard and brittle, but having a much lower melting temperature than wrought iron.)
The sealed crucibles were heated to a very high temperature and the cast iron melted and dissolved the still solid wrought iron. As the percentage of carbon dissolved into the wrought iron rose it melted to form a homogeneous melt with about 2% carbon throughout. The dissolved carbon from the cast iron migrated into the wrought iron (with essentially no carbon)as they melted. A very high quality homogeneous steel resulted.
The 2% carbon could be reduced for sword making by decarburisation. (I'll discuss that process shortly).
Please note that cast iron can only be made from molten iron.
European smelter workers could not duplicate these Indian processes. They did not reduce iron by a molten process. They produced wrought iron using a more primitive solid state process. This was the bloomery iron smelting process. (because much of the iron does not melt) The furnaces did not get hot enough to melt the iron. The resulting solid state bloomery iron oxide ore was partially reduced to iron and some silicon. Some silicon slag did melt out of the bloom. A spongy bloom of iron formed at the bottom of the furnace. The bloom was removed and repeatedly heated and hammered to squeeze out as much remaining slag as possible. The process also burned out a great deal of the carbon, dissolved in the bloom's iron, as the hot iron contacted the air.
Yet a third steel making method was known to be used in ancient India.
The co-fusion process was much like the wrought iron / cast iron mixture process just described. But there was one important difference. The iron mixture was heated to a temperature just hot enough to dissolve the cast iron but not high enough to melt the wrought iron. The solid wrought iron bits floated in a bath of cast iron. The wrought iron absorbed carbon from the molten cast iron by diffusion. The mess was eventually cooled and was hammered to produce a fine quality homogeneous steel.
One other steel making process was practiced elsewhere, but not in India, as far as I have read in the literature.
It is the decarburising process. (Ill describe it quickly shortly).
Some of this Indian steel actually was traded to the Romans. They thought it was from China! The Romans seem not to have made too much use of Indian wootz steel for weaponry and none for structural steel purposes.
These steel making processes were NOT unique to India. Archaeometallurgists are finding the remains of such steel making in many places in the Middle East and Central Asia.
Consult Dr. B. Bronson seminal paper for some further details. ("The making of wootz, a crucible steel of India" Archaeometallurgy 1(1), 13-51), also papers by Dr. P. Craddock for newer finds).
Evidence of crucible steel manufacture, as early as 800 A. D., has been found at Merv in Turkmenistan, and Achsiket in Uzbekistan. These two areas are near present day Afghanistan, thousands of miles north of the wootz producing regions of South East India.
Scientists discovered the remains of a very old smithy, 700 A.D.!, at a Saxon site in south England, called Hamwic, That site yielded homogeneous steel ingots of very high quality. The steel is three times harder than any comparable steel produced, in England, at that time.
They think the steel was made by the decarburising process. (I haven't explained this one yet, but read on ,we're almost finished.)
This steel making process was used by the Chinese, and occasionally by the Japanese.
Incidentally, the Chinese never went through a solid- state bloomery iron making stage. They learned how to make high temperature furnaces very eary on.
Decarburising is another way to make steel. Take cast iron of 3-4% carbon content and reduce the % of carbon by "burning" the dissolved carbon in the iron to make tool steel (0.60-1.5% carbon). This process is tricky and uses a lot of fuel. It's harder to control than the carburising processes described above.
The Saxon smiths somehow modified a bloomery furnace, and process, to get the iron ore hot enough to melt to produce cast iron. (remember the bloomery process never got the iron hot enough to melt, only partially melt it(if at all).
They then blew air over the molten cast iron. (at 1100 degrees C.). That air starts to oxidise some of the dissolved carbon. As the % of carbon, (dissolved in iron), drops, the the melting temperature of the iron rises.
At 2% carbon content the melting temperature of the steel climbs from 1100 to 1200 degrees C. The metal suddenly solidifies. (1200 degrees was the maximum temperature of their furnace). 2% steel (% carbon in iron), is close a very good steel for knives and swords.
All this, 1000 years before Huntsman's discovery.
But the use of this steel was not extensive. Scientists think that it was too expensive and too slow a process. The pattern folded "Damascus" steel sword making process was much cheaper, it although produced a markedly inferior weapon.
Phew! Those readers that are still with me congratulations.
In summary,
Crucible steel manufacture is very old.
It was, probably, developed in more than one place in widely scattered areas, of Asia.
Some cultures witnessed it and made little use of its potential.
It was lost and rediscovered several rimes.
More aechaeological descoveries are being made monthly and we probably know only a fraction of the ferrous metallurgical history that will be found in the future.
One more point of clarification..
The "Bessemer" steel making process was independently discovered by an Englishman (Sir) Henry Bessemer in 1856, and by an American steel maker, from Kentucky, Mr. William Kelley, independently, in 1854. The inevitable patent battles promptly ensued. After some time, the two parties amalgamated their two companies. Mr.Bessemer got 2/3% of the patents' proceeds and Mr. Kelley got 1/3.
I suggest that we refer to the process as the "bessemer-Kelley process", in order to forstall any untoward international incident.
That process ushered in the modern era of cheap steel. Within 6 years the open hearth steel making process was invented. It eventually eclipsed the Bessemer-kelley process.

   slag - Thursday, 09/19/02 00:39:59 GMT

Coal /// Coke /// Tree Scarcity.
I was only referring to England when discussing the coal vs. coke (and Darby invention.) and the dearth of trees in the British Isles. Canada and the United States did not have that problem. Both countries had plenty of trees for charcoal and for the Royal Navy. (Canada's).
Indeed I think it was the hopewell furnace, in Pennsylvania, that continued to use charcoal and a cold blast for smelting up until it closed around 1903. Hot air blast came in about 1821.
The Hopewell steel was particularly prized by the railroads for track. The Hopewell rails lasted (I think) twice as long as rails made by coke smelting with a hot blast.
The Hopewell forests were regularly replanted with a rotation of trees. (one of the first companies to do so). When the smelter closed, the State acquired the land and continued the tree growing for reforrestation throughout the state. It only recently closed down as a plantation and is now a State or Federal park. (Atlee help!). It is a site well worth visiting. Some buildings have been restored and some others rebuilt. The remains of the blast furnace are still there. (maybe both, I don't remember). The small cemetary has graves of the Civil War and a few of Revolutionary War veterans.
Setting the record straight,
   slag - Thursday, 09/19/02 01:03:32 GMT

You may want to use Slag's research for a FAQ on the subject.
   - Conner - Thursday, 09/19/02 01:09:52 GMT

Could somebody explain how metals can be simply identified? It seems that every metal has 2 or 3 different names. At work we may use carbon steel but technically it will be called A-36 or SA-106 or even SA-210. It depends on the form in which we use it. If it's all mild carbon steel then why do they carry different names? In addition to that,each metal has a P-number. I do know that carbon steel is 1 and stainless is 8, but how do you find a p-number for other metals? I guess my BIG question is: How does one know what to call a metal, or what class it falls in?
   Nate - Thursday, 09/19/02 02:55:14 GMT

Hopewell Furnace is a National Historic Site, surrounded (mostly) by a state park taking up some nof the extensive forrest lands that used to support the furnace.

Check out www.nps,gov/hofu/ (or the Great Guru has a direct link to it and Saugus on his links page). Also check out Catoctin Park (another Federal/State site, plus Cmp David is located there) at http://www.nps.gov/cato/culthist/cultural.htm for information on charcoal, furnaces, sawmills and other goodies.

When you contemplate the time, materials and labor involved in making steel in the pre-industrial era, you appreciate why they went to the trouble of pattern welding swords and steeling the edge of axes.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 09/19/02 03:28:54 GMT

Bruce (a.k.a.Atli)
Thank you very much for the above information.
It is appreciated
   slag - Thursday, 09/19/02 04:06:31 GMT

Excellent site guys n gals, keep up all the good work its allways a pleasure to come in and have a read and pick up a few new tricks and some advice!
   Basher - Thursday, 09/19/02 04:07:46 GMT


Have you clicked on the CSI link yet? You might be interested.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 09/19/02 05:16:05 GMT

Steels: Nate, There are thousands of kinds of steels. Thousands of copper alloys (copper, brass bronze), thousands of aluminiums and thousands of other metal less common metal alloys. The differences are often measured in ten thousandths of a percent (.0001%) of an ingrediant OR and impurity. Practicaly all metals have some impurities and the type and amount can make a big difference in how a metal performs.

Mild Steel is any steel with less carbon than "Medium Carbon Steel". Medium carbon steel is any low alloy steel between mild and "High Carbon Steel". The demarkation points are approximate since these are not precision terms. The ranges are .01 to .3%, +.3% to 7% and +7% to 1.1%. Above that are ultra high carbons steels which are usualy also aloy steels.

In mild steel the common SAE (Society of Automotive Engineering) steels are SAE 1008, 1010, 1018, 1020, 1024 and 1030. The last two numbers designate the percentage of carbon. The first two indicate a plain carbon steel with a minimum of impurties. Other numbers indicate alloy steels by primary alloy such as chrome or nickel steels and each of these come in wide ranges of designated carbon content. See your MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK for details of the SAE system.

SAE was one of the first to set standard steel designations. Almost all other American systems use or incorporate the SAE numbers except in structural steels. A-36 (UNS K02600)is an ASTM number covering the material most structural shapes are made of. A-36 has a MAX of 0.26 carbon, MAX of 0.04 Phosphorous, MAX of 0.05 Sulfur and a MIN of .20 Copper when Copper steel (for corosion resistance) is specified. ASTM specs are somewhat problematic for those that want to know what is IN an alloy because they are primarily a performance spec. Where the 0.26 carbon maximum is given the steel must also meet a strength requirement that means it will need at least .20% carbon. This means that a wide range of steels meet the A-36 standard. Some is good, some is trashy. But it must all meet the ASTM spec. SAE steels meet much tighter specs.

So far I have listed three standards for designating steels, SAE, ASTM and UNS. There are also ANSI specs, British, European and Japanese specs. I think the Chinese has THEIR own specs. . . But it gets worse. Many metals are sold under proprietary trade names and may be alloys CLOSE to a standard but are also proprietary in content.

We all tend to get sloppy when using metal designations but we SHOULD be more succinct and always give the standard. In tool steels there is an "M" series for die casting Molds but there is also a "M" grade structural steel using the same number ranges. A-36 should always be given as ASTM A-36 and 1018 as SAE 1018. It drives me crazy when someone comes looking for information about some steel and give a trade name numeric designation. It means NOTHING if you are looking it up in any standard reference. I have a huge (over 4" thick) expensive book called Woldman's Alloys of the World. It lists tens of thoundands of trade names of steels made by thousands of makers. . . and I have never been able to find one of these odd ball alloys when queried about one. . . Any time a trade name designation is given the maker's name should ALWAYS be given such as Timken-Latrobe Viscount 44. It is a resulfurized H-13 heat treated to Rockwell Rc44. But if someone asks about Magnadie or Bruno die steels. . then you MIGHT find them on a web search if you are lucky but you will not find the trade name listed in metals references.

If every metal in your shop has a "P" number then that is probably a company stock, quality control or tracking number but it is not a standard designation. To find out about it ask your supervisor. In North America the UNS numbers cover a wide variety of other standards including Japanese and British but fail to help decypher European standards. UNS numbers all start with a letter but P metals are precious metals in the UNS system.

Knowing what to call a metal is EASY. Identifying a cut off piece without a tag, label or marker is a REAL trick. Most machinists can tell 300 and 400 series stainless from each other by color and each of those from carbon steel. Fresh cut ductile iron looks different than common grey cast iron and some tools steels look slightly different than the blueishness of mild steel. But in fact it takes a laboratory analysis to be sure.

   - guru - Thursday, 09/19/02 05:30:07 GMT

Where can I find information on sword making?
   Brian - Thursday, 09/19/02 10:13:59 GMT

Does the older cast iron forges need to be lined. The ring above the clinker breaker is loose. Can these cast forges get burned out?
   - Gerry W. Jones - Thursday, 09/19/02 10:25:57 GMT

Slag, excellent summary! Thanks for taking time to put it together. I have encountered a disinterest in ferrous metallurgy among new graduate metallurgists, presumably owing to the lure of the more exotic materials. Acknowledging the need to persue the development of the exotics, I constantly remind them that there is no other metal, not even gold, that has had the impact of iron on civilization. The history of iron working IS the history of modern civilization. Do not assume that because we have done so much with iron that there is nothing left to learn. New research is published almost daily and new processes and microstructures are constantly evolving. Forgive my passion here, but there is no other metal that is as important to mankind as iron. "Treat it with Respect!"
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 09/19/02 11:23:29 GMT


Had an inadvertant comma in the URL that's going to get me in trouble with the cut-and-pasters. It should read: www.nps.gov/hofu/ . You never know when someone might dredge these posts back up from the archive.

Back to the work of the Republic.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 09/19/02 12:47:55 GMT

I have constructed a forge and would like to turn a few worn files into knives, something along the primitive type, nothing fancy. What are the steps for doing this, as I am fairly new to 'smithing? Thanks for any advice.

   David Forbis - Thursday, 09/19/02 13:02:43 GMT

Hello, I have been reading/learning from this site for the last few months. I am still hunting for tools and such, I'm cheap, but I do have access to a variety of different size, shape and thickness scrap titanium (Some of it is rusty). In general would TI make a good anvil if I could find a large enough chunk and have it cut and then ruin ALOT of grinder disks to flatten it? Also what effect would there be in having a standard furnace lined with wool and then instead of coating in ITC-100 inserting a TI liner into the forge to protect it? I am aware that it will cost me a pretty chunk of change to have the stuff welded as the rod is ~$80 a pound besides needing a tig setup and backgassing. I like tools that last forever with little or no required maintinance(sp). Thanks in advance.

   Chris - Thursday, 09/19/02 15:23:36 GMT


Have you checked out CSI?
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 09/19/02 16:05:17 GMT

New Grand daughter:
Grand child #24 arrived this morning at 0530 hrs.

Raeanna Leigh Fitzgerald.
7lb 12 oz
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 09/19/02 16:18:15 GMT

Titanium: Chris, If it is rusty, it is NOT titanium. Iron and steel rust (flakes of red oxide). Titanium turns grey and then white occasionaly . . but not rust red. Titanium melts at a little over 3,035°F (1668°C) and burns at lower temperatures. To heat to forging temperatures it is recommended to heat in an inert gas, vacuume OR to coat the clean billets with a class coating which protects the metal and stays on it during forging. Titanium alloys are used in high temperature mechanical or structural applications becuase they hold their strength at up to 1,000°F while other light alloys like aluminiums fails at much lower temperatures. They are also used in cryogenic applications where other metals become too brittle. Titanium is not a particularly hard material.

Good hard refractory brick lined forges do last practicaly forever depending on how they are treated. They will definitly out live you. But they are very heavy and hard to move. Low cost light weight refractory lined forges have a liner life of 4-5 years used in daily commercial service without doing a lot of forge welding. Used by hobby smiths they may last 15 to 20 years unless rats make a nest in your forge and chew up the lining. They do not last forever but they are light weight and economical.

Anvils are made of hardened tool steel OR are soft steel with a hardened tool steel face. There is NO substitute for hardened tool steel no matter how exotic the material. The next best thing is unhardened (but not annealed) tool steel followed by common mild steel then chilled cast iron (which is very brittle and breaks easily but it hard).

Currently the Russian anvils we have a review of on the 21st Century page are about the same price as buying flame cut A-36 plate. They are soft (not sure of the alloy yet) but they are the right shape. On a good day you MIGHT find an old anvil for the same price but in general small anvils are selling for around $2/pound and up.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/19/02 16:47:33 GMT

Knives from Files: David, Files are made of good tool steel and can be forged into various shapes. Tool steel must be forged at lower temperatures than mild steel, a bright orange rather than a yellow (in low light) and must not be forged below an orange (red). The low end is easier to tell because you feel the steel get hard to move. QUIT then. When heating, warm the steel first THEN put it into the fire. Many tool steels are sensitive to thermal shock.

Tool steels are quenched from a red heat (at or just above the non-magnetic point). Many smiths use a magnet to tell when the steel is hot enough. Tool steel should be quenched in warm quenchant (not cold). I generaly recommend oil as water can often cause cracking on small parts.

Immediately after the quench (often before it cools to room temperature) the part should be tempered. See our Heat Treating FAQ for more details.

The biggest problem with using files is the teeth. They flatten (fold over) when forged but do not go away. This results in thousands of small surface "cold shuts". They will remain part of the piece even after much forging and are obviously not desirable. So you SHOULD grind the teeth off a file before using it as forging material.

Spring steel is also good for making knives and doesn't have all those teeth. The round stock of coil springs is much easier to make blades out of once straightened. Normal sized automobile coil springs are closer to a good blade in cross sectional area than a flat leaf spring which would SEEM to be more desirable. .

Once you get some practice if you really care about what you make you will purchase new steel of known composition.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/19/02 17:25:41 GMT

Slag; just a quibble. a bloomery can get up to melting temp of CI, (according to Rehder in "The Mastery and uses of Fire in Antiquity"); but the result was stuff that was useless to the early smith until they much later learned to deal with it.

India did a lot of interesting things with iron; casting grills and then de-carbing them for strength was one interesting example---and their methodology for refining zinc into metal was very ingenious too, (Zn is a vapour at re-fining temp and will spontaneously oxidize if allowd contact with O2, medieval NE use the zinc ores to "colour copper" and did not have metallic zinc).

The crucibles used in Central Asia did not require rice hulls as they used other tempering mediums---including a lot of grog from previously used crucibles, (Ann Feuerbach's PhD Thesis) they did not use "standard clay" at the site she investigated. It seems to have been imported. Kind of a weird place for a steel industry as *none* of the "raw" materials was locally produced!

BTW are you on the arch-metals mailing list? very nice for people interested in this sort of squirrelly details...

I like to use the term Kelly process in honour of Andrew Carnegie and the libraries he donated to America.

Thomas---I need to do another blister steel run so I can make steel from some of the bloom we made this summer and make an iron/steel knife
   - Thomas Powers - Thursday, 09/19/02 17:27:26 GMT

Titanium: Not to be argumentative or anything, I wasn't specific about the rust thing, it is scrap from old Russian submarine hauls that is rusty. Some of which contains between 5% to 10% iron. That's why the stuff is scrap, it is to low of quality to be used as is and must be realloyed in a large plasma-arc furnace. I can get ahold of some of the stuff because it isn't worthwhile to realloy it because the pieces are to small, to thin or to high in iron content.

So even if I can get a couple hundred pound chunk of titanium and make some useful surface or shape out of it it still would be a very poor excuse for an anvil?

I was at a flea market last weekend and this guy has 5 anvils. Four of these anvils are 100 to 150 pounds (guessing) and in decent shape, he wants $200 a piece for these. The fifth one he wants $280 for and he said it is a Franklin?? and it appears to be over a 200 pounder. This one has a welded steal face onto a cast body and it is in wonderful condition. It doesn't appear to have had any repairs and I don't think it was refaced or ground. The face steps down to a square shoulder before it steps down slightly to the large horn. From what I've read on here it sounds like a good anvil and a good deal, is that true?


   Chris - Thursday, 09/19/02 17:31:06 GMT

Forge Problem: Gerry, I'm not sure what type forge you have. Normally there is no "ring" above the clinker breaker but there are MANY forge designs.

Generaly claying forge pans is not necessary unless you do very heavy work. The only diagram of using clay in a forge that I have found in old catalogs was a ring of clay around the joint of the fire pot to pan raising the lip of the flat firepot and extending into it a little.

Usualy the bed of fuel and ash insulates the forge pan. If you insist on lining it then any clay or furnace cement will do. Artists modeling clay (not oil based or plasticine) will work fine as it is less likely to crack than most other clays. High temperature refractory clays are not needed for this application. Red clays such as used in brick making and stoneware clays will also work fine. Apply with as little water as posible or the clay will crack excessively. It IS going to crack but the more water it contains the more it is going to shrink and crack.

I generally do not reccomend claying forges because the clay retains water against the iron and accelerates rust and corrosion. If the forge is kept in a very dry location this is not a problem but if it is outdoors then the acids from the coal ash combined with moisture are VERY corrosive.

Yes, forges can be burned out. Running one full blast unattended can melt the bottom out of the heaviest cast forges in a short time. Under normal but heavy use grates and clinker breakers do get burned up. The most damaging thing can be water used to put out or control the fire. Cold water on hot cast iron parts will crack them RIGHT NOW. . . Modern steel pan forges and ductile iron fire pots are much more resistant to quenching damage than cast iron forges.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/19/02 17:47:10 GMT

Sword Making Brian, Try Swordforums.com and the sword and armor webrings on our webring page. We have one article by Atli about swords on our Armoury page and will have more to come.

Beware of the hype in the bladesmithing world. More BS floats around there than you can shovel. There IS some good information but be aware of the following:
Living Steel
The more you work the steel the more of the smiths "life force" is absorbed into the blade. . . This is total BS and if you believe it, "pyramid power" or other New Age faux science, you have no business in the metalworking business.
Cold Forging
There is an article floating around on making a sword by cold straightening a leaf spring by heavy hammering. Cold working hardened steel is bad for the steel and the blade is much too heavy. This is more fodder for fools.
Blade Myths
Slicing a silk scarf floating in air, using human or animal sacrifices for blood quenching blades. OR that laminated "Damacus" steels or ancient blade steels were superior to modern alloy steels. . . ALL Myths and stories to scare little children and the uneducated.
To make blades you need to understand steel and heat treating. See our FAQ's page for a start, get a MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK and study the section on heat treating. Then keep going. . .

   - guru - Thursday, 09/19/02 18:13:41 GMT

Brian, "The Complete Bladesmith" by James Hrisoulas has a lot of information in it on making swords---it's what he does for a living!

   - Thomas Powers - Thursday, 09/19/02 19:17:43 GMT

Thank you Guru! I was hoping to allow the students the opportunity to see how historically, steel was first discovered, probably by accident, when iron was set into the coals of a burning fire. (Like the Damascus Sword) I just wasn't sure how long and how hot of a fire, but thanks! Dianna
   Dianna Williamson - Thursday, 09/19/02 19:46:29 GMT

Franklin Anvil: Chris, I never heard of that brand and its not listed in Anvils in America. Are you sure he didn't say "Fisher".

There are currently many cheap imported products on the U.S. market that are sold under American sounding names. Beware of ASO's like the following:

Chinese ASO's

These are made to LOOK like they have a welded on steel plate but it is just and artifact of the casting. Normaly it is hard to detect the fine seam at the weld joint of a steel faced anvil. If it is TOO obvious then the plate is starting to come loose.

$200 for an old 100# anvil is an OK price. Be sure of the weight. Generaly anvils are sold by the pound. Old anvils are going for $1.50 to $2.50/lb depending on size and condition. 100 to 125 pound anvils are very common and sell faster than others. Larger and smaller anvils command a higher price per pound to a point.

Titanium Again: 10% Iron MIGHT cause the Ti to blush red but it still should not rust. The highest iron content in standard Ti alloys (including Mil spec) is 2.5%. But being weird Russian military stuff it is possible. . .

Are you sure the mix isn't "clad" plate? There are many nuclear and military applications where metals are laminated. Stainless on steel plate is common.

   - guru - Thursday, 09/19/02 19:54:23 GMT

Titanium: It is poor quality titanium alloy scrap shipped straight from Russia and they regularly run giger(sp) counters over it to make sure it is not radioactive when it is received. The worst looking pieces, it isn't scale persay but rusty looking, are probably 8 inches thick (maybe more) and have a nice curve to them (like a sub). This stuff (for the most part) is then cutup using a plasma cutting bed over water and then cold forged to fresh new Japanese or Russian titanium sponge before being sent into the arc furnace in an argon environment. Titanium is great stuff once you get it the shape you want it to be, just miserable to do so.

That large anvil could well be a Fisher. I think I'm going to go back this weekend and take a better look at this guys stuff. The plate on the face appeared to have almost a slight weld bead along the entire perimeter so that sounds like it has a problem?

This is a great site and I will likely be sending along money to join CSI in short order (this assumes wife doesn't kill me for always buying more toys and spending more money on stuff).


   Chris - Thursday, 09/19/02 20:13:48 GMT

Fisher-Norris Eagle Anvils: Chris, Fisher invented the process of welding cast iron to steel IN-THE-MOLD and was one of the first American anvil manufacturers. This produced a cheaper anvil than forged and many people like them because they do not ring loudly like forged or cast steel. The plate covers the face and the top of the horn including the tip. On some a greater portion of the horn is steel. People either love them or hate them.

Problems occur when the plate lets loose. There is no good way to repair that patent in-the-mold weld. Arc Welding around the edge may indicate a problem. To weld the CI would require Ni-Rod which is usualy obvious by its non-rusting yellowish silver nickle color.

Fishers do not ring but they DO make a "dink" noise when struck. It should be clear but no bell like tones. If the noise is more of a "clack", or there is a buzz or rattle then there is a gap in the weld. This can be heard on all anvils with a welded steel plate including wrought anvils, even when the edges are tight.

It may still be an OK anvil even if it has some problems but you do not want to pay a premium price for it. $1/pound or less is typical of problem anvils.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/19/02 20:54:18 GMT

Tim Shackleford,

Email reply to you keeps bouncing.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 09/19/02 23:40:24 GMT

Con Grads there GRANPOPS many times over
   Barney - Friday, 09/20/02 00:16:18 GMT

I keep trying to explain to these kids what causes that, but they just don't get it! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Friday, 09/20/02 00:46:31 GMT

I didn't realize thet my CSI membership had expired two weeks ago, thought it was up at the end of the month. Just sent in for another yr. I urge all who have not joined to do so. Thanks for the great site.
   Harley - Friday, 09/20/02 09:35:01 GMT

Harley, Thanks for Re-Upping! We still need all the support we can get!
   - guru - Friday, 09/20/02 13:48:00 GMT

I picked up a nice post vise at an antique shop in Mitchell SD (home of the famous Corn Palace) for an amazing $6.50!! Threads are good and it's all there except for the spring. What shall I look for at the junk yard to fabricate a new one? I've heard that old traps are a good source, but I don't usually see broken ones. Any help out there?
Thank you kindly.
   Wendy - Friday, 09/20/02 14:47:35 GMT

Just wondering if any one knew the origin of the term "lag screw" off-hand. (No need to research, just curious.)
   Jovan - Friday, 09/20/02 15:17:42 GMT

Leg Vise Springs: Wendy, These are most often made from an automobile leaf spring and are a good blacksmithing job. They are 1/4" to 3/8" thick and the same width as the post. There are two types:

1) Tennon through back
2) Wrap around strap

Older vises had a rectangular tennon hole in the post under the back jaw. The bench bracket had a tennon that fit through the post and was held in place by a horizontal pin about 1" long and 1/4" to 5/16" in diameter. The tennon was long enough that the spring which also had a rectangular hole fit over it and was also retained by the pin. The spring had a slight outward curve at the top to put tension on the pin and hold it in place. Sometimes there was a shallow groove filed in the spring to fit the pin.

Later vises had the wrap around strap bench bracket. These were held in place by wedges in the bracket. The strap went around both the post and the spring. The spring had a short right angle bend at the top to keep it from sliding down out from underneigth the strap. This made the spring and post much simplier but the bench bracket is a bit more complex and is often a casting.

On both types the spring makes a gentle arc from the top of the leg to the bottom of the front jaw. At the bottom they curve back making a slight "S" so that it pushs smoothly on the back of the front jaw. The older nicer ones were tapered slightly in width then had a flare (like a short fish tail) forged on them that had its corners bent to fit around the jaw to keep it positioned on the jaw. Some have a nice chamfer on the front corners to match the style of the vise.

These are a fairly stiff spring as they push at the bottom of the jaw where there is little leverage and not much motion. If you remove the screw, the spring should just contact the jaw when it is about 1" farther out than where the screw runs out.

   - guru - Friday, 09/20/02 15:28:17 GMT

Holy smokes Wendy! What a deal! Speaking of vises, You know the large washer on the screw shaft behind the rear jaw? Well, the washer on mine just kinda slides around and doesn't seem to actually DO anything. Is this normal?
   Gronk - Friday, 09/20/02 15:46:08 GMT

Hi guys, I've got a kinda unrelated question. We are opening a new shop in a commercial building in Lancaster, TX and I'm trying to find an insurance agent that can set us up with whatever we need. Any ideas?
Thanks, Dan
   Dan Davis - Friday, 09/20/02 16:46:07 GMT


Although auto spring works very well, I've made several out of plain mild steel strap. Works fine. After forging, heat to non-magnetic and quench in cold water.


That washer is just to keep the nut from wearing the lower portion of the back jaw of the vise. It should be loose.

Let me qualify that as just an opinion, and the fact that I've never seen a tight one.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 09/20/02 16:46:58 GMT

Nate, the identification of "P-Numbers" is for welding. This system is used for testing purposes. The problem stems from people that work with weld testing calling base metals by the "P-Number". As quoted from the code book, "To reduce the number of welding procedure qualifications required, base metals have been assigned P-numbers, and for ferrous metals which have specified impact test requirements, group numbers within P-Numbers..." (QW-421 Section IX ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code.) P-Numbers have been around for for a very long time. Welding has been around for a very long time.

P-1 covers metals such as, SA-350 grade LF1 through SA-724 grades A,B,C.

The code book that I have in front of me covers P-Numbers through P-44 Specification Number SB-622 Annealed. It does give the corresponding UNS number and the chemical breakdown.

If you speak welding, machining, or blacksmithing you should learn (or at least know where to find) a dictionary of terms.

I've listed the dictionary of welding terms for P-Numbers. Hope this helps.
   - Bubba Dumplin' - Friday, 09/20/02 17:01:45 GMT


Could you reproduce the most relevant pages for a reference sheet for anvilfire? Or if that's not possible (for copy right or other reasons), can you give us the ISBN number of the book?

I've been around for a fair spell, and had never hear of P numbers. Let me hasten to add that I'm not much of a welder, and don't pretend to be. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Friday, 09/20/02 17:05:59 GMT

Bubba, I didn't know about P-numbers but those are group designationas and are almost as nebulus as calling something "mild steel". They also don't indicate specific alloy content or specs refering to other standards. . . ASTM is almost as bad as they are performance specs in almost all cases and don't care what the material is made of just as long as it meets the performance criteria. . . As far as ASTM is concerned re-bar could be stainless or bronze if it meets the performance specs. . .

If you want to specify a MATERIAL or know anything about its content, then SAE, AISI and UNS numbers are the standards.

Many standard setters have tried to get away from SAE but they are STILL the standard. In the US if you want to look up content or how to heat treat steel, or buy it, you need to know the SAE or UNS number. . .

Give it a week and someone else will decide THEY have a better system and everyone should adopt it. I'm surprised the Europeans and ISO haven't tried to make us adopt their system. . .

ANVILFIRE STORE We are half way in the process of setting up the NEW store. It is on-line and works but has some buggy problems. . . CSI signup forms are now non-functional and CSI discounts are not yet active in the new store. The Entire CSI store is non-functional when making sales. . .

Its a mess that I am trying to sort out.

I hate changes. . .
   - guru - Friday, 09/20/02 17:25:39 GMT

Paw Paw, I was lurking when I came across Bubba Dumplin's post. I looked up the code on P-Numbers and it *is* a quote from the book.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers

United Engineering Center

345 East 47th Street

New York, NY 10017

I can't locate an ISBN number, but there is a Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 56-3934

The Guru wrote...>SAE, AISI and UNS numbers are the standards....It does give the corresponding UNS number and the chemical breakdown.<

The book is pretty thorough in it's definition of metals and what category(s) of filler metals are/can to be used with each for welding procedure qualifications. These codes are used for weldor testing and the procedure for the test. Not only does the weldor get tested, but the metal itself is tested by one or more techniques such as X-Ray, guided bend, tensile, ultra sonic, mag particle, etc. In a nutshell, the weld must be as strong or stronger than the base metal.

The ASME code and the American Welding Society and probably alot of other code setting agencies reference each other. Stuff that the AWS uses exclusively is referenced and acknowledged by ASME and visa-versa.

The purpose of all of this comes down to "INSURANCE". If anything goes wrong (these codes are written to keep it from going wrong) the insurance people will be able to pinpoint the reason.

If Bubba decides to copy this for Anvilfire there will be a week's worth of posting involved. This thing is huge. It covers about any type of metal that can be welded, such as, carbon steels, stainless steels, brass, bronze, nickle, copper, etc.

Sorry to take up valuable blacksmithing space. I just couldn't help myself!
   - Rutterbush - Friday, 09/20/02 19:38:21 GMT


Where I wrote, "The Guru wrote>...SAE, AISI and UNS numbers are the standards.<

There was also the words, and Bubba Dumplin' wrote..."It does give the corresponding UNS number and the chemical breakdown.

What happened? The sentence was shortened when I hit post.
   - Rutterbush - Friday, 09/20/02 19:46:03 GMT

Steve R,.

Wasn't saying that it wasn't a quote, and didn't mean to sound like I was questioning that. Just wanted the source so we could use it in answering questions.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 09/20/02 20:00:36 GMT

I have got my Little Giant 50 lb. hammer up and running. It delivers real hard blows and some light blows if I get it running good and slowly ease up on the foot treadle to let the clutch disengage. I have oiled the clutch material real good, but I think that the material is worn out. I have read where people have used 1/4 inch leather for the clutch material. Is that a good choice? Also I have been watching the Dave Manzer video and am really impressed with the control that he is able to get out of his hammer.His hammer brake system is the first I have seen in use. Being new to power hammers, I was wondering if anyone at his site has installed a brake system their Little Giant hammer and how do you like it? Any info is appreciated. Thanks, Mike
   Mike - Friday, 09/20/02 21:44:40 GMT

Paw Paw,
Oops, didn't mean it to sound like that. I was just stating that it is straight out of the book. I understood what you were asking. I just let my zeal for something "welding" get in the way. Sorry. The body language wasn't there.

While on the subject. It may take a while, but if I can keep it in memory I'll send you something on this by snail mail.
   - Rutterbush - Friday, 09/20/02 21:48:32 GMT

Rutterbush, if you enclose things in angle brackets it is treated as HTML code. It could crash browsers to have odd things in brackets AND folks tend to abuse the ability to link to banners and such. . so the system is setup to filter them out as well as what is inbetween.

P nums I'll admit I've missed those or forgot they existed. I'll have to scrounge up a copy of that reference, however, I have a shelf full of ASM, AISI, AISC, ASTE, ASTM, UNS and other references. None that I have found are as complete as the ASM Metals Reference Book even though they are not a standard setter. Each other group covers their own area and it makes it difficult when you need information on a range of materials.

The best cross reference I have is the ASTM/SAE published Metals and Alloys in the Unified Numbering System. It lists ASME and AWS numbers (and a dozen other systems) but none of the ASME and AWS numbers are a system of "P" numbers. This means that the P numbers are not intended to be used as materials designations by either organization. I suspect the "P" is for "Procedure". Even if the procedure specifies the applicable material it is still not designed for identifying materials. . . Like ASTM specs, which people forget that the "T" stands for testing, they are not specific identifiers of metals.

Well. . I got some bugs out of the NEW STORE . . but have more forms to redesign. .
   - guru - Friday, 09/20/02 22:11:40 GMT


Thanks for the insight. I've done some of my own research on the "P numbers". Guru is correct, the "P" is for "procedure". I work in a boiler and pressure vessel shop. We work under various ASME codes. The "P" directs us to the correct welding procedures. Our prints may give a referece like: SMA-8-45-100-0. The SMA stands for sheilded metal arc welding. The 8 is a P number for SA-240 304H "stainless". The 45 is a P number for SB-409 "Incolnel". The 100-0 Is just our company designation for position,revision,ect. When we see this code we look in a master book that tells us what filler rod to use, what preheat and post heat, and any other important information about the welding prosess. I just made the assumption that the number had something to do with the composition of the metal. I've been working with this system for years and just now realised this. I've had a hard time deciphering the UNS numbers because we don't use them. I just bought an old copy of both Machinery's hanbook and the ASM metals handbook. Rest assured,I'll have plenty of material to satisfy my curious mind. Thanks for the help.
   Nate - Friday, 09/20/02 23:53:10 GMT

LG Clutches: Mike, LG's have the most expensive clutch system and the worst clutch system generaly used on power hammers. Cone clutches are designed for start and stop without feathering. They have to be soaking wet and dripping with oil to feather. It also takes lots of practice to get where you can feather (gently vary the speed) using a Little Giant.

On a center clutch machine do not forget to grease the clutch bearing. There is a threaded hole in the back end of the shaft. Old hammers had grease cups and late hammer had zirc fittings for grease guns. I've seen many broken off and painted over. . .

Various materials have been used in the LG center clutch. Everything from bare cast iron on cast iron to asbestoes. Currently they are relining them with heavy cotton belting. Leather is good but I think the cotton holds more oil and slips better. The point of an LG clutch is to get it to slip not engage solidly.

The rear clutch LG uses rock maple blocks. They also need to be oiled heavily.

As the clutch bearings in LG's wear they get more and more difficult to feather. On the center clutch they can be worn very badly and the hammer still operated. It just takes more practice and a better touch. On late model rear clutch LG's when the bearing wears the hammer is almost impossible to control. When the wood blocks which contact only about 40% of the cone engage, they can be considerably off center which causes them to lock in place or engage and disengage roughly. The only cure is to repair the bearing.

Oil it, study it, use it for hours on end until you get lots of practice and a feel for it.

Some folks like brakes, others don't care (I don't). A buddy of mine always made a big point of the the fact that his Fairbanks and Bradley hammers came with brakes . . and then one day I pointed out they they hadn't worked on either of his for years, and asked "SO, where is the advantage?". He has fixed them since then and the DO make a difference. If you want to do single stroke work it is easier to do with a brake. But if you cannot feather the machine slow enough it doesn't make a difference. On small hammers designed to run fast a single slow blow is not much of a blow. On the 100 pound LG a single blow is nice. On the little fast hammers I don't see much point but a lot have been retrofited to 25 and 50 pound LG's.

   - guru - Friday, 09/20/02 23:58:41 GMT

Can anyone help with information re: press forming
   nick - Saturday, 09/21/02 10:10:45 GMT

Nick, There is all kinds of press forming. It ranges to one off bends done on manual presses using simple fixtures to high speed automatic machines with self feed and progressive dies in precision die sets to automated programmable machinery.

Production die press work generally takes some level of engineering skills and press experiance to design the dies, and a fully equiped machine shop to make them. I've done some of this for low to medium production hand fed work (thousands of pieces a day) including machining my own dies. Production die sets can be used on either manual presses or punch presses.

Most small (micro) shop bending or forming is done on fairly simple dies and the engineering is trial and error. Generaly this involves slow high force devices like arbor presses or hydraulic presses and simple bending dies. Forming can be done on this equipment but it takes much more force and slightly more sophisticated dies.

Most press work is done cold. However it can also be done hot. But hot work done on punch presses (OBI or flywheel types) should not take full advantage of the hot softness of the metal. Cold or cool work might overload the press and wreck it. Hot press work is best done under manual or hydraulic presses, a fly press or a power hammer. These machines are all designed to have a flexible return point and are not damaged by the stroke being stoped short.

References on press work range from the survey works with examples such as the encylopedic ASM series or more technical works such as the Tool Engineers Handbook and other works specifically on die design.

If you are more specific I might be able to help you.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/21/02 15:28:36 GMT

Decoding the Numbers: Nate, Neither Machinery's Handbook or the ASM Metals Reference book use UNS numbers. However the ASM book DOES have a cross reference section in the back (I just found it).

If you look at the UNS numbers they all start with a letter and then five digits. In most cases where the metal has an AISI or SAE number it is used in the UNS number. The 4 digit SAE numbers like SAE 1020 (mild steel) are padded with an extra zero. Thus SAE 1020 becomes UNS G10200.

Where metals had a letter in their designation such as "L" for lead or "B" for boron, these are replaced by numbers. When metals are sold with a specific temper and the manufacturer add letters such as "HT" to designate such they are lost in the UNS system. However standard "H" steels like 4140H become UNS H41400.

In the end, for most shop purposes (in North America) we are still using the old SAE system when we read the example UNS numbers given above. Alloy and carbon content are still part of the code. It is hard to kill a good system and in the end we still call steels by their old SAE numbers without qualification, 1020, 4140, 1095. . . But if you want to be precise the UNS system is the future.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/21/02 16:25:15 GMT

More UNS: Where the UNS (Unified Numbering System) breaks down in common use is tools steels. Most of us in smithing and machine shop work recognize and use numerous tool steels. We know that H13 is a HOT work steel and S7 is a SHOCK resistant and A2 is AIR hardening. . . In the UNS system these are all "T" for TOOL steels (It only works in English as does the "standard" alpha numeric system). In the UNS system the first two or three digits put the tool steel in its old letter name class but I'm not going to try to remember them. . .

So, one hundred years from now we will still probably be using A2 and H13 (instead of UNS T20813) in English speaking countries. . . IF we have any industry left at all and are not forced to use a Chinese or Russian system. . .
   - guru - Saturday, 09/21/02 16:46:35 GMT

Howdy all,
I just bought an anvil and leg vise at a yard sale. The markings on the side are pretty light but it sure looks like it says Wright to me. The numbers stamped below are
1 1 9. The way I figure it that means it weighs 149lbs. (Am I right?)
Down on the front base edge under the horn are the numbers 2488. The anvil is in really good condition. The face is nice and flat and the edges show very little wear. Gonna be a lot better than the Harbor Freight boat anchor I have been usin.
The leg vise, if I remember now, is an Indian Chief, or something like that. What can you tell me about this anvil and vise.
   Lefty - Saturday, 09/21/02 21:23:04 GMT

I have a Champion 400 blower that leaks oil at the fan shaft. What is the best way to stop the leak? Thanks for any assistance you can give
   Cliff - Saturday, 09/21/02 21:38:03 GMT

Oil Leak Cliff, Leaking is the normal condition for these blowers. When they stop leaking then they don't have enough oil. DO NOT overfill. It does no good. But don't NOT oil it. . there are no replacement parts for the gears and bearings.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/21/02 23:46:27 GMT


The anvil is a Peter Wright made in Sheffield England. Good anvil. Wrought Iron with tool steel face. Take care of it. Weight is right and should scale at +/- 1 pound.

Indian Chief was a Canedy-Otto band name I think. See book review page for info on Canedy-Otto.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/21/02 23:54:29 GMT

Victor Bruce your pub registration e-mail bounced. .
   - guru - Sunday, 09/22/02 00:57:42 GMT

I'm looking for the plans to a water cooled side-draft
forge. I think that is the kind used in England. A book that I've looked at has a drawing of one but on details.
Thanks John Thomas Mott
   John Thomas Mott - Sunday, 09/22/02 02:00:57 GMT

Hello again, and thank you for answering my previos question! I have another one.

Can anyone refer me to a book or website that gives the wavelengths of light produced by forge welding? A friend of mine and I are trying to determine whether the didymium eye-wear used by glassblowers would be good protection. We want to avoid them if they would be just a pair of expensive sunglasses to dialate our pupils. If they do protect from the light from forge welding, (and not just from that sulfide wavelength thing that the glassblowers are subjected to) then they would be worth the expense to us.
   Thingmaker - Sunday, 09/22/02 06:01:17 GMT

Thing, Its the "sodium flare" that didymium filters out. We had a couple weeks of posts on the subject and I purchased the (two expensive) ASTM specs covering the subject. Here is what we found.

1) There are a few specific government (OSHA) suggestions for filters for common welding welding practice. You will find the same information in almost every welding reference.

2) There are NO specific guidlines for any other field except the the employer MUST require and provide adequate protection. That means foundries and glass plants are ON THEIR OWN. . . DO NOT TELL ME to go to OSHA. They say go to ASTM, ASTM says go to OSHA. . they are ALL circular references. . . I spent weeks as well as money on it. .

3) Didymium are used by many but are only recomended for the glass blowing industry. Currently only the gold coated didymium lenses are considered good long term protection for glassworkers. The gold reflects more IR and the didymium filters the flare that makes it hard to see. On maker of didymium lenses says they are absolutely NOT for metal working. . . But I think he was trying to reduce his libility.

4) There is little good specific science on the question but the ONE thing the medical community agrees on is that damage to the eyes is cummulative. ALL excess IR and UV exposure is bad for you. Too many days at the beach or on the lake add to the occupational damage.

5) We are currently selliing #2 shade (green filter) safety glasses for working at the forge. They are a lot cheaper than didymium AND are safety glasses. The #2 shade is the same stuff as in gas welding filter lenses but just a tad lighter.

6) The basic rule is to start dark and then use a lighter shade if you need to see better to work safely. You have to balance eye protection with general mobility safety.

A #3 as in welding goggles is a little too dark for general work in the forge so a #2 is the next best choice and one reason we carry them. They make a 2.5 shade but it is difficult to tell the difference between a 3.0 and 2.5. #2 shade safety glasses are also recommended as "flash glasses" for wearing under your welding hood.

It is always difficult to see using an arc welding hood but you would be amazed at how increasing the ambient light helps! Brighten your shop, don't lighten the arc welding filter lens!
   - guru - Sunday, 09/22/02 07:41:02 GMT

Water Cooled Tuyere: John, the tuyere passes through a tank of water at the "head" of the forge and extends into the forge about half a foot. A single tube passes through the tank and a double tube (one in the other) extends into the forge. This requires either two sealed flanges on either side of the tank or a welded assembly. The hollow tuyeres are still made and sold as seperate parts in England. I have also see the same fabricated from pipe.

The tank is at least a foot deep and as wide as the forge (2 to 3 feet) and is half a foot to a foot thick. It can open at the top or have a lid.

One advantage is you get hot water in the winter and there HAVE been arrangements that circulated the water. The disadvantage is the the water can freeze in the winter and wreck your forge. In the summer time you add steam heat to your shop. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 09/22/02 07:56:51 GMT

More on SHADES: There are grey lens saftey glasses sold that advertise IR and UV protection. These are safety SUN GLASSES for workers that work out doors. They are NOT welding or cutting lenses no matter how dark you THINK they are. . . The green shades are the ones designed for welding. Recently there were truck loads of the same brand glasses we sell on the market at unbelievably low prices. They were advertised as grey IR/UV filter lenses. . . . They are sunglasses.

The #2 shade makes good sunglasses. However, DO NOT wear then to drive (or walk in traffic). The lenses filter many reds such as stop lights and stop signs so you cannont see them! Not all the lights are filtered but most stop lights are.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/22/02 08:06:47 GMT

Thanks Guru,
Can you tell me what the 2488 means that is stamped on the base under the horn?
   Lefty - Sunday, 09/22/02 08:19:52 GMT

Please tell me which of the aluminum bronzes has the best forgability? The application is for bronze chisels.
   Thiagu - Sunday, 09/22/02 10:05:47 GMT

Just went to the store and checked out the Bouton Safety glasses. What I did not see was an OTG [over the glasses] type. I wear prescripiton glasses and have found anything other than the OTG style do not fit properly. Not wearing my prescription specs is not an option. Is there an OTG style available ?
   Harley - Sunday, 09/22/02 10:30:26 GMT


I'm takeing a pair of the Bouton safety glasses to my Optometrist to have the lenses changed to my prescription.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 09/22/02 12:49:57 GMT

Hello fellow pounders!

I've been selected for my first juried gift show coming up in november and would like to make a good first impression.I plan on selling home accessories such as bathroom accessories, candle holders, curtain bars, towel racks, etc.. I would appreciate any advice on how to set up a good display (booth is 10x10), colors, props, what works and what doesn't.

Thank You
   Louis - Sunday, 09/22/02 13:17:58 GMT


One option is to use peg board. Paint the peg board with a milde pastel color. I like to use green, so that the flat black of my ironwork contrasts well.

Use props with as much as you can, so folks can see the intended use. For example:

Toilet Paper holder with a SMALL roll of TP.

Towel bar with a face towel. Not a bath towel, use a face towel. That shows the usage of the bar, but doesn't obscure any twists that the bar may have.

Curtain rod with a small curtain. Just one side, to show the usage, with out obscuring the decorative effects of the bar itself.

See the principle?
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 09/22/02 14:08:09 GMT

Thanks Paw Paw re above question/answer.

Furthermore, would you make your anvil part of the display, to give a better impression of the handmade aspect? Did you find that wearing certain type clothing made a bettter impression? (traditional vs modern). Also, what items usually sell better at gift shows? Anything else you can think of?

Once again,thanks for the help.
   Louis - Sunday, 09/22/02 16:37:46 GMT

We are playing in a fantasy roleplaying game (Warhammer) with technology based around the 16th century. A character have an accident and needs to replace an anvil. Assuming all the raw materials are on hand along with tools and a forge, how long would that take to forge a new anvil and would you use any or all of the previous anvil?

Thanks in advance,

   chris banash - Sunday, 09/22/02 17:00:31 GMT

Unless I were demonstrating at the show, I would not make my anvil part of the display. Use saleable items for disply when ever possible.

As for clothing, most of my sales take place at historical demonstrations, which is a slightly different venue than you describe. In a non-historical venue, I'd wear clothing suitable to the environement. Possibly a bit on the casual side.

For gift shows, small items suitable to the season will probably be your best sellers. Again, a lot depends on the venue. Is the "audience" a group of "old money" people, a group of "new money" people, yuppies, newly weds, singles, etc. All of those factors will dictate what will sell, and for how much. These are questions that the event organizers might be able to answer, based on previous history.

Generally speaking, (remember, generally speaking is usually right about 49% of the time! (grin)) Fireplace sets do well. Bathroom sets, (towel bars, towel rings, TP holders, etc) do well. If you happen to be a bladesmith, a well arranged display of some of your better blades might do extremely well.

There are literally hundreds of variables in situations like this. One thing that I have learned is that no two crowds are alike. I do one show that I've been doing for twelve years. Never once has the same item been the "big seller".
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 09/22/02 18:42:44 GMT


On the story page, here at anvilfire, read the story "A Day in the Life of an Apprentice".
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 09/22/02 18:44:05 GMT

Louis, One more thing. I keep a book that I call my "Brag Book". It's got pictures of many things that I've made over the years. Regular sellers, and once in a while sellers. The book also contains letter of praise from various buyers, event organizers, etc. That's kept as a prominent part of the display, on a book stand that allows folks to page through without needing to pick up the book. I went to the trouble to get a friend who makes professional scrapbooks to put it together for me. That allows folks to get a better perspective of what I am capable of doing, without having to overwhelm them with a 9,000 item display.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 09/22/02 18:47:19 GMT

Let it be known! I am in the market for a 110-175 pound anvil in good condition. Any takers?
   Bond-JamesBond - Sunday, 09/22/02 21:59:41 GMT

Bond-JamesBond, you and the rest of the folks here! Check out the review of the Russian Anvil on AnvilFire News.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 09/22/02 22:08:38 GMT

hey Guru do you know where i could find out the date on my Peterwright Anvil?
   Sherk - Monday, 09/23/02 00:25:57 GMT


Email me the information from the anvil, and I'll try to date it for you. I need all the information from the sides, and front (under the horn).
   Paw Paw - Monday, 09/23/02 00:45:53 GMT

Craft Show Display; Louis:

If this is going to be inside, I would make sure that i have good lighting. Ironwork needs good light to bring out the detail and texture. Contemplate your background colors. I've actually had good luck with a light gray background in some circumstances, but as Paw Paw points out colors can form an attractive contrast.

Be sure to have lots of brochures and/or cards handy for the passers by. A hundred may disappear into handbags and wallets with no effect, but the 101st may be the big commission.

Also, as Paw Paw suggests, keep your portfolio handy. This is your chance to show off you bigger pieces, or items that you've done in the past not currently in stock. These also generate commissions. Favorite pieces can be marked "not for sale" but can also serve as a startng point for commissions.

Be sure to bring comfortable seating and comfortable footware, because if thing get busy, you'll be spending a lot of time standoing in the booh, and if they're slow you'll be spending a lot of time sitting. An ice chest and lots of drinks will help, since you can also talk yourself out, and a cover to throw over everything for when you have to be away.

Russian Anvils:

As the Guru mentions, my 100 kilo anvil seems to have a slightly harder face. It took my friends misdirecting a 12 pound straight peen sledge to put in any dings like those shown on the 50 kilo. Mine's also fron the old USSR days.

I'm tempted to get the 50 kilo as a traveler, if the local fire department would want to help me harden the face. We could set it ove a fire, slowly heat the face to a non-magnetic red, and then play a fire-hose on it until hardened- polish with a sander, do a residual heat temper, and try a final cooling. It could be fun! (It could also be a disaster- but the faces don't seem to be very well hardened to begin with.

Oops; 23:00. Time to hit the rack!

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 09/23/02 03:22:52 GMT

Do you know where I might be able to purchase a tomohawk? I am looking for something that is lightweight, durable, and reliable. I would like around an 8" Hawk with about a 4" blade. If you can recommend anyone I would greatly appreciate your time--->kabg68@aol.com
   Cpl Valentine - Monday, 09/23/02 05:23:11 GMT

craft show display
I never mark a favourite peice "not for sale" I like to mark them sold or sample, orders welcome
I dress high end casual and don't forget the nametag with your business name so that they know who you are.
   - JimG - Monday, 09/23/02 05:49:47 GMT

Looking for thin stock 1020 mild steel material. sources?
   Hugh - Monday, 09/23/02 09:21:19 GMT


Check the store here at Anvilfire. You want On-Line metals.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 09/23/02 10:04:00 GMT

In looking over plans for making tongs could you please tell me what is sucker rod. Thanks John
   john - Monday, 09/23/02 11:24:40 GMT


It's a round, hollow steel rod used in the oil field. As the well is drilled, the sucker rod is fed down the hole behind the bit to "suck" the slurry of water and mud that is used to lubricate the drill bit.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 09/23/02 13:42:09 GMT

John, The old sucker rod I've seen in New Mexico is normally 5/8" solid stock for water wells, used to connect a hand pump or windmill to the cylinder.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 09/23/02 13:58:42 GMT

Hello I am Currently working on an assinment for english about starting a bussness and i choose blacksmithing. The only problem is I don't have that much info about it and There are not that many Blacksmiths in OHIO AND IAM wondering if u could give me some references in Ohio Thanks
   George - Monday, 09/23/02 14:09:31 GMT

Sucker rod
In my part of the world sucker rod is 3/4 to 11/4diameter
not sure of the numbers but it's fairly highcarbon and tough used in oilwells. The stuff Pawpaw is refering to we call drillstem, however
   - JimG - Monday, 09/23/02 14:45:28 GMT

George-Blacksmith in ohio
There are literally hundreds of blacksmiths in Ohio, although the number of full time professionals is probably not very high. There are 2 or 3 that come to mind
Mike Bendele of Delphos
Joel Sanderson-Sauders Village in Archibold
Joe Bonifas

There is a very large convetion coming up this weekend in Troy ohio were there will be a nuber of full time smiths who would be more than happy to answer you questions. If you can't make it to the convention, at least tell us what part of ohio you are from. There are 3 ABANA chapters in the state and one group that is not an official chapter. Like I said, let us know where you are and we can help get you in touch with the right people.

Indian Chief Vice:
If I remember correctly, according to Postmans Anvils in America, the Indian Chief post vice was made by the Columbus for and Iron company who also made the Trenton anvil.
   Patrick Nowak - Monday, 09/23/02 15:12:16 GMT

Duh! Thanks, guys. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Monday, 09/23/02 15:34:19 GMT


Cliff's question on the champion 400 got me thinking that I don't know how much oil I should be putting into these thing or how often. I usually use a NC Daddy, but I do light up the coal forge from time to time. Is there a rule of thumb or something?

Seeing as you have the Kaowool and ITC on the store, what would you recomment for repairing a mouse damaged front door and a stab dammaged side? The front is Kaowool I think, as it is much lighter and softer than the sides. I had been thinking Kaowool for the front and ITC 200 for the side, both with a coat of ITC 100, but was wondering if this was the right way to go, or if I should lay out $175 for the reliner kit.


   Jim - Monday, 09/23/02 17:07:42 GMT

Another request for the #2 shades in either an over-the-glasses style or a rectangular piece that would fit goggles like I use for torch work. I felt the need this weekend for a lens lighter than what I use for brazing and cutting. And hearing protection. I'm going to restock on earplugs today, but I don't know where to get anything like a #2 green shade.


   Steve A - Monday, 09/23/02 17:16:34 GMT

More minutia about sucker rods, etc. Sucker rods are attached to the field pumps that some call "donkeys", the ones that rock up and down. They pump the oil from the bottom of the well through production tubing. The tubing is usually 2-3/8" -3.5" diameter. The well is lined with casing that can be from 4.5" to 36" OD. Drill stem is the pipe used to actually drill the well. The use of any discarded oilfield tubular steel, including sucker rods, needs to be approached with caution since chemicals used in down-hole corrosion protection or well stimulation could present a health hazard. However, worn-out drill pipe has heavy forged tool joints welded on each end and this is usually 4130 or 4140. Drill pipe does not remain in the ground as do the other tubulars and would be much less likely to be contaminated. However, use common sense when cutting these tubes and do it outdoors.
   Quenchcrack - Monday, 09/23/02 17:35:56 GMT

Oiling forge blowers
Once I got it through my head that we can't use modern ways of thinking to look at old technoligy the saying oil is cheaper than parts made even more sense.
What I do for my blower is give it one or two squirts of oil first thing in the morning. If it starts getting noisy I give it another squirt then. Just enough to keep it quiet, too much just runs out and is wasted
I also found that bar oil for chainsaws works much better in my blower than motor oil.
   - JimG - Monday, 09/23/02 17:59:28 GMT

can you tell me ablout colonial blacksmithing, I don't really want to do it I just want to know how so i can do a school paper please!!!!!!!.
   Katina Ingersole - Monday, 09/23/02 19:43:21 GMT

Ah, sucker rod. As an essential element of Redneck life , sucker rod ranks way up there with duct tape and J-B Weld. And as far as I can tell, totaly nonexistent here in Minnesota. I dunno how they ever get anything built with out it. The sucker rod I have worked with has always been 5/8" or 3/4" and a great steel for tong makeing. A word of caution, however, there is a Japanese sucker rod that is brittle and should be avoided for any project except those where breakage and acute traumatic disassembly are desired. Watch out for Oriental characters on the "box" or joint where the rods screw together. I watch out for them on general principals. Don't buy sucker rod from Marital artist or anyone who drives a Toyota, just to be on the safe side. There is also such a thing as "H2s embrittlement" from exposure to hydrogen sulfide in downhole environments. If theres any way to tell about that, I dunno what it is.
   - Txfarrier - Monday, 09/23/02 20:07:39 GMT

Txfarrier, you usually find out about Hydrogen Embrittlement when the piece cracks like a window pane. There is a related phenomenon called Hydrogen Induced Cracking that usually ends with similar results. If you see any scabs or blisters on the steel, or see any hairline cracks, look somewhere else for steel.
   Quenchcrack - Monday, 09/23/02 21:57:34 GMT

I forgot to mention that steel exposed to hydrogen sulfide can develop a chalky gray-black coating, iron sulfide. This would be a good clue to look for if you are scrounging oil field steel products.
   quenchcrack - Monday, 09/23/02 23:13:13 GMT

Colonial Blacksmithing: Katina, See our story page. We have a story written to illustrate a "day on the life" AND an historical novel that is as accurate as we can make it.

One the road from Asheville where I visited the Kayne's today an now at Paw-paw's.
   - guru - Monday, 09/23/02 23:47:18 GMT

Forge Repair: Yes, the NC-TOOL forges are lined with a Kaowool type product. To repair minor damage, clean put debris, coat hole with ITC-100, then stuff in some scrap Kaowool to fill damage then coat surface with ITC-100. To prevent further damage you may want to apply several coats of ITC-100 firing beteween coats.

Next weekend we will be repairing and coating three NC-TOOL forges in my shop. Two are nearly new forges with low use but some minor poking damage and the third will be a complete reline job. Then next week we will have a photo report on the entire process.

Since a lot of folks only need a small patch of Kaowool to make repairs we will be offering forge "patch kits" that include a pint of ITC-100, ITC-213 in a 2oz jar, some stainless screws and fender washers and a 12x12x1" piece of Kaowool. The SS hardware is for larger forges that have trouble with sagging roof linings. One package for one money.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/24/02 00:07:55 GMT

OTG #2 shades: I will check on the availability but cannot promise anything. Like many deals there are often minimum orders involved and I doubt that I can afford to set on an inventory that I may not sell on years. . . we will see.

ARCHIVE NOTE: They are available but are very expensive, $50.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/24/02 00:11:29 GMT

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