WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den - V. 3.0

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

This is an archive of posts from September 18 - 23, 2003 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

I want to show everyone the . . . problems . . . that a person trying to get into blacksmithing has to sort thru. On EBAY see Item number: ############.
The point is, it would be nice to have a "beginners kit" (figure about $300) with an "anvil", plans (and some parts) for a forge and some beginners tongs, and add a hammer (WOULD BE A GOOD PROMO FOR ANVILFIRE!!). Don't mean to rant but I hate it when the innocent get ripped off just because they don’t know where to find information (Although the LIBRARY is a good place to start).
   NOT Sentonal - Thursday, 09/18/03 00:01:00 EDT

James Johnson,
I have noticed many of your postings. Six years ago, I too wanted to learn the skills of a blacksmith. Unlike you I just wanted the ability to hand forge building hardware let alone take on, perhaps the most difficult smithing challenge there is--creating a katana sword. Living in a large metropolitan area, I thought "where would I find a blacksmith?" Blacksmithing being (I thought) an "old time craft" I got involved with my local historical society and wouldn't you know it within a month I had met and had been "taken under the wing" of a third generation blacksmith who more than got me on my way. I now own two forges, three anvils, two leg vices, bla, bla, bla and although I probably couldn't forge a sword, at least I know more than I did six years ago. Blacksmithing is about being inventive, planning your moves and "thinking outside the box". Good luck.
   - Matt Woodside - Thursday, 09/18/03 00:48:06 EDT

Sentonal, think you might have linked the wrong item. Looks like a nice farrier's anvil to me... kinda pretty in fact. (grin)

I still have about 40 pounds of very good porcelain clay left over from several projects involving it. I'm considering making a small (12" x 12" or so) ceramic chip forge. Anyone know any pertinent info, chip size, burner info (cfm/psi/special info), stuff like that? I have access to a clay extruder, so I can readily make cylinders of any size, or with slightly less ease, spheres.

For those of you in the path of the hurricane, you are in my thoughts and I wish you the best of luck.

Very warm and humid in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T Gold - Thursday, 09/18/03 01:01:41 EDT

If you had searched the archieves you more than likely would have seen that very same topic on here. That of a begineer kit. But right now I believe that with the current financial state of teh nation and of Guru himself precludes this at this time.
I think Guru said that it would take local help to assist him with this which right now I am sure he can not afford.
How ever with few exceptions within the 48 lower states you should be able to find pretty much everything you need to start for 300 or less.
   Ralph - Thursday, 09/18/03 01:04:43 EDT

On the hooks thing. I was about to answer but I see Guru has done so already. I will agree that 7 is too many. On 1/4 one heat should just about be right. But to be honest when I am making hooks I use 2 on that size stock. But I usually use 3/8 square about 6 inch long and get a hook done in about 2 heats, when in practise.
   Ralph - Thursday, 09/18/03 01:14:24 EDT

Hey, Johnson; Yer spit will sizzle at 212 degrees F. You aren't gonna move much iron at that rate. You have come here looking for advice, why don't you just relax, realize that you know very little and absorb what these people DO know. If you were to go to a hammer-in and expound as you have here, you would find yourself sitting in a very quiet room. In fact, the silence would be deafening. I started this post with "Hey, Johnson" so you could see what it looks like. The man who created this site for us deserves respect, and "Hey Guru" doesn't do it. You are talking to adults here, and if you look, you will notice that we use very little of the chatroom vernacular which seems to have pervaded the vocabularies of young people lately. If you want respect, you have to give it. Otherwise, you will never be taken seriously. Several people here have, with more tact and diplomacy than I, tried to set you on the right path. Pay attention! 3dogs
   - 3dogs - Thursday, 09/18/03 02:51:14 EDT

Howdy all,
I will be in the Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.area (coming from Southern California) probably around the first part of Feb, 2004. Any blacksmith stuff going on out there?
   Lefty - Thursday, 09/18/03 03:53:01 EDT

Many belated thanks for all the advice on my questions about a tuyere for a great bellows into my brick forge. All this time I have been working on the bellows and only now am I getting to the point where I ask myself 'leather or canvas skin?' I think I will be ready to go in another week. I am planing to put the blast through two blocks of clay; as Guru suggested, with a gap in the middle to act as insulation from the fire and also as a natural valve to prevent suck-back. I figure if my first design doesn't work too good, it's clay; I can take it out and try something else.... I'll let you know how I get on.
A while back on the forum, someone mentioned that Oregon chainsaw guidebars were a good source of tool steel. A few years back when I was at aboricultural collage (lumberjack school) our tutor said that all guide bars were made by Oregon for all the world's saw manufactureres... if so, Wayhay! I've got lots of 'em and I see them often at markets very cheap (as usually hoplessly abused and certainly unfit for future attachment to any clean living, self respecting saw of mine.)
I don't know if it is wholly true that all guidebars are made by Oregon, but as a beginer, it would be very useful for me to know that a source of scrap tool steel was always going to be the same grade. Any thoughts anyone?
Richard T
   Richard Tomes - Thursday, 09/18/03 07:35:00 EDT

Hello, I am new to blacksmith, I want to make some woodworking tools i.e. Chisels and ssuch. Is there a place that sells good blanks that i can grind and maniuplate to my own specs and custom fit my own handles. Thanks
   J. Lorenz - Thursday, 09/18/03 07:38:25 EDT

Michael Reinhart,

I use a NC Whisper Daddy that is OLD, I bought it used 3 years ago and it still does a good job for me (although it looks like it has been thru 3 wars). I think the best thing about it is the large fire box. Mine has the rear stock door. I would buy another one if someone at Quad State has a BIG sale going on (VBG).
   Brian C - Thursday, 09/18/03 08:25:35 EDT

J.lorenz: Depending on how big you want the tools to be there are several good choices for steel. W1 or O1 tool steel is very easy to find at industrial supply stores. W1 is water hardening, O1 is oil hardening. I have used W1 to make many small (1/4" or less) woodcarving tools. In "The Complete Modern Blacksmithg" Weygers describes how to make carving tools. YOu can also use spring steel, as in coil springs or leaf springs. This is what Flexcut tools are made from. Most junk yards have an abundance of scrap spring materials. If you have specific questions on how to forge or heat treat the tools, come back here and ask away.
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 09/18/03 08:35:38 EDT

i am doing exactly what you are doing. i have made these giant bellows out of plywood and oil cloth stapled on the sides. i was going to get canvas or leather (i didnt really care which one). i find that canvas and leather work the same. my bellows arent too elegant and neither is my forge. (it has about one foot of space in which to put the charcoal. but hey! it works!) anyways, i used oil cloth for my bellows and i put a hole at the top so when they are sucking air in they dont suck it out of the forge.
   colin - Thursday, 09/18/03 10:25:03 EDT

i was wondering if you could forge weld copper? if it is possible, may you please tell me what heat the copper has to be at? i am planning to weld a piece of sheet copper 2mm thick to a piece of copper wire about the same thickness.
   colin - Thursday, 09/18/03 10:29:52 EDT

J. Lorenz; If you're making small woodcarving chisels, I have made some pretty decent ones out of those black, tapered concrete nails, they come in several sizes, but I've used the big ones mostly. You can get a good sized box of them for 5 or 6 bucks, if I remember correctly. While you're at the hardware store, get a handful of those wooden file handles with a metal ferrule on them to fit on the small end of the nail. Tap the nail into the handle, grind the big end slowly to shape, keeping it quenched. There's enough metal on the big end to make just about any shape you'd find in a normal set of carving tools. If you decide to try to learn engraving, the nails make pretty good engraver's burins, as well. If you want something bigger, the O-1 & W-1 that Quenchcrack mentioned come in many sizes, round, square and flat, and usually in an annealed state and are pretty easy to harden and temper once you get the shape you're after. Be patient, grind slowly and don't overheat the steel. Hope this helps. Best regards, 3dogs
   - 3dogs - Thursday, 09/18/03 10:38:55 EDT

Thanks all for your comments regarding gas forges. Sounds like I should go a touch bigger than I had planned, feul efficiency be damned!

   - Michael Reinhart - Thursday, 09/18/03 10:42:05 EDT

That would be fuel. Better go find some coffee.
   - Michael Reinhart - Thursday, 09/18/03 10:43:55 EDT

Colin; I think it would be a LOT easier to join the wire and the sheet by silver brazing. 3dogs
   - 3dogs - Thursday, 09/18/03 10:48:03 EDT

"I've had my apprentice making hooks for months ... he is making 12 to 15 hooks an hour ... I suspect he could make more if he was pushed."


Sounds like you aren't whipping him often enough. I know you are very busy but you must see to the young fella's education

   adam - Thursday, 09/18/03 10:55:34 EDT

copper: I have heard accounts of copper being forge welded successfully. But I think it's tricky because there is not much temp range between welding heat and melting heat.
   adam - Thursday, 09/18/03 10:59:24 EDT

Michael; sounds like racin' engines. When in doubt, go bigger!
   - 3dogs - Thursday, 09/18/03 11:02:14 EDT

Ebay and Fraud: Well the item in question IS a farriers anvil and probably decent quality. However the seller states,
"Antique anvil in excellent condition. The anvil belonged to my grandfathers grandfather. It has been passed from generation to generation."
This is absolutely untrue. The anvil is a modern pattern made no earlier than the 1960's and probably in the US.

I call these anvils with the oversized horns "grotesque" but farriers like them. Many of the features on farriers anvils are rather faddish and new features come and go with every new star farrier that designs a new pattern. Currently the turning cams are the hot new fad in farriers anvils.

The seller obviously doesn't know anything about anvils, they all look alike to him so he thinks he can get away with telling his tall tale. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 09/18/03 11:02:17 EDT

I think you're right, Adam. If I recall correctly, it could be done with TIG.
   - 3dogs - Thursday, 09/18/03 11:05:32 EDT

Glad to hear you're gonna make it to SOFA, Jock. Looking forward to meeting you. 3dogs
   - 3dogs - Thursday, 09/18/03 11:08:57 EDT

ADAM; Re: Apprentices. The beatings should continue until morale improves.
   - 3dogs - Thursday, 09/18/03 11:12:27 EDT

Hi, I'm trying to find information on how to give steel a green or greenish-blue patina. Is this even possible, and if so, what is used? Thanks.
   David Wood - Thursday, 09/18/03 11:29:18 EDT

David Wood; You might scroll up to Wayne Parris' post of Wednesday,9/17/03. The site he mentions there might have something for you. Hope so, anyway. 3dogs
   - 3dogs - Thursday, 09/18/03 11:45:39 EDT

Thanks for the tip 3dogs.
   David Wood - Thursday, 09/18/03 12:14:59 EDT

David Wood, some of the copper compounds "auto plate" on clean iron and then patinate green.

Guru; I'm in just gotta think of a colour! We're praying that your shop isn't built of gopher wood! (But just in case I'm naming our local hill ararat...) I know you don't need the reminder but check *downstream* as well, any snags can catch and build a dam *fast*. A friend by a creek was doing OK until a 4x8 sheet of plywood sailed down and wedged across the road culvert and the water level jumbed by 3' in a matter of minutes.

"The Mills of Medieval England" mentions that flood repairs was a big expense back then; but remember objects can be replaced; people can only be mourned! Stay Safe and drop by the MOB at Quad-State.

   Thomas Powers - Thursday, 09/18/03 12:19:50 EDT

More RE ebay: I just bought something there yesterday. But it has become a place where you MUST know what you are doing. "Blacksmith" has become a very hot key word on ebay and there are plenty of crooks taking advantage of it.

A while back I purchased a "buy it now" item from a dealer as a test. He was selling a 15 pound ASO for 99 cents. The scam was in the $20 shipping charge. To make matters worse the item was far from as described. I wrote to him and he said "I'm sorry you had a bad experiance, I am blocking your e-mail". He did not offer a refund. I posted negative feedback and he returned with what he thought was an insult by saying I was a "newbie" on ebay. . . (I am not). I looked into the complaint process and it was impossible to get ebay to do anything unless you wanted to make a carreer out of it.

See Integratool

Currently there is a dealer selling the Russian anvils stating "These are made for professional use". . .

On the other hand there is a beautiful Colonial hornless anvil at $150 (it should go for $500 to $1000) and several old forged brand name anvils. Also some nice hardie tools. sbay has become a haven for unscroupulas dealers but there are still a lot of honest dealers there.

Starters Kit: I looked seriously into putting one of these together but the anvil is the stumbling block. We tried to find 4140 to make block anvils from in the 75 pound range but my sources had dried up and those I could find had exorbident prices (raw blanks costing more than imported machined and heat treated anvils).

Our proposed kit was to include:

1) Block anvil with welded on hardie reciever.
2) Bent hardie to fit (puts hardie over block).
3) Brake drum forge plumbing kit.
4) 900 or 1000 gram hammer (dressed).
5) 1 pair general purpose tongs.
6) Safety Glasses

We had a list of smaller items. . .

   - guru - Thursday, 09/18/03 12:44:22 EDT

Starters Kit: You might consider Just a FAQ listing the essential equipment and sources to buy or build with advice such as "Don't buy an anvil on ebay until you know what you are doing."

Now that the Russian anvil is available from HF, this seems ideal for a starter.

Of course, being able to purchase starter kit from anvilfire and then come back to the forum for ongoing support would be ideal.
   adam - Thursday, 09/18/03 13:29:56 EDT

Guru, Not sure how much 4140 you could use but steel mills that roll 4130 or 4140 into plate occasionally "cobble" one in the mill, making it useless for plate or strip. If you could find one 4"-6" thick, you could probably buy it for scrap price, which is what they sell it for. The bad news is that they are typically 10-12 tons each. I have two 100# blocks of 4130 (4"x6"x12") I was going to make anvils out of but got a real anvil before I did anything more than grind them clean. I like the idea of a starter set. At least newbies would get a fair deal.
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 09/18/03 13:31:36 EDT

The real rain has finally started. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 09/18/03 13:37:50 EDT

I agree with Adam. A starter kit would be a pretty cool thing to offer; great thing to point to when people come in saying they want to make a sword. (grin) A 55lb Harbor Freight steel anvil is only $70, and they *look* fairly decent (have yet to buy one). Maybe a book to be included too? If a starter kit had been offered for, say, $150 or $200 plus shipping when I had first gotten interested, I would have bit...

...And then I would have been in bad shape. Guru, what about people who have no access to coal or have reasons not to use it? If you want to do the startup kit, I'd be willing to make low-cost gas forges (similar to mine, visible on the yahoo site under Tyler Gold) to distribute in startup kits instead of coal forges. I have yet to try forge-welding in mine, but it comes up to heat in less than three minutes and will bring 1" round from room temperature to working heat in two or three minutes. A production-oriented version would have a low-density firebrick floor and a kaowool inner shell with a side-mounted burner instead of a top-mounted burner, which I'd recommend due to the chimneying effect. Might take a little longer to come up to heat but it would probably be fine for most people. I'd estimate the price at $65-$100, dependent on shipping and availability of suitable forge bodies (old propane tanks, old air tanks, etc). If anyone wants one, email me.

To those of you in the path of Isabel, I wish you safety and good luck from Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Thursday, 09/18/03 16:37:39 EDT

Hey Guru. I'm interested in bending a common drop-forged wrench so it can reach fuel injection stuff. (Thereby avoiding the need for a rather pricey VW tool!) Of course, when I do the bend, I'll change the whole temper of the tool, and I assume I'll have to re-harden and temper the whole deal. 1.) Am I over-complicating? 2.) How hard should it be? Thanks! --Rob
   Rob Rohde-Szudy - Thursday, 09/18/03 17:33:06 EDT

Richard T . having just built two large double chamber bellows one for test purposes and one for my forge cart I can say the best way to go is with leather ...even after useing a very close weave oilskin canvas and adding two coats of heavy water proofing it contained and moved at best two thirds of the air that leather did on the same bellows with no other modifications

(any body what a set of canvas covered bellows);)
   Mark P - Thursday, 09/18/03 18:03:01 EDT

Rob, I have reforged a number of wrenches without bothering to heat treat and they work just fine. If you use a torch to just locally heat the area you're going to bend you probably wont even affect the temper of the jaws. If I were to heat treat I would quench in oil and draw to a purple.
   adam - Thursday, 09/18/03 18:39:45 EDT

i was wondering if you have come across any good articles for making a mace. i have been searching the internet but havnt found a site yet.
   chris - Thursday, 09/18/03 19:28:21 EDT

Good luck with the storm. as stated before things are replacable people ar'nt.
   jeff Reinhardt - Thursday, 09/18/03 19:33:12 EDT

Wrench Bending: Rob, I've got a drawer full of special bent ground and welded wrenches.

Most good quality wrenches are fairly high carbon steel but are not as hard as you would think. If you heat a narrow band (not too narrow, about 5/8-3/4") with an oxyacetylene torch to a red heat and bend it the heat effected zone will be fairly narrow. If you clamp the working end of the wrench in a vise to bend it leave the wrench clamped so that the vise acts as a heat sink and reduces tempering. About 1/2 minute after there is visible heat you can quench the wrench to cool it. Do not try to reharden and temper.

If you need to arc weld wrenches together (I have several machine tools specials with a large spanner on one end and a socket on the other) use 304-308 stainless rod. This is compatible with the chrome plating and high alloy steels.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/18/03 19:40:53 EDT

The Storm, Isabel: The eye of the storm has been stalled 75 miles due East of us for about an hour. We are in or on the edge of one of the gaps in the bands of rain. The creek has not yet begun to rise. It will. But how much is yet to be seen.

The thing about living IN a Grist Mill with its foundation in a flashy stream is you KNOW where the flood is coming from and how fast it can rise (from wet feet to TOO deep to get out in about 15 minutes). We have had flash flooding here in bright daylight without a cloud in sight. . . and simple high water after days of constant rain.

Most people caught in floods do not know where it is going to come from. Many people live in flood prone areas and never know until something like this. We know we are in a flood prone place and have weathered quite a few. You have to stay awake, watch what is going on. Don't dawdle when it is time to move. Don't do stupid things. I've seen tall trees go over our little 15 foot dam and come out splinters. . .

We spent the past two days moving stuff. But there is nowhere to move my complete library and I cannot get to all the machinery (still have driveway damage from the last flood). My goal is to let someone with enough money to afford this place have it. But that too cannot be done overnight.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/18/03 20:30:47 EDT

to all who may encounter the storm, my thoughts are with you..
   rugg - Thursday, 09/18/03 21:36:44 EDT

Jock, it will be good to meet you and others at Quad State!

I posted that Midwest Alloys was where to get "smaller" quantities of Dura-Bar continuous cast iron. The names have changed to protect the accountants. Grin. Midwest Alloys is now Dura-Bar Metal Services in Woodstock IL. 800-526-0548.

I got a fax from them today and noticed the name change.

Be safe, those in Isabel's sights. May the damage be minimal if not non existent.
   - Tony - Thursday, 09/18/03 21:47:07 EDT

Thankyou for the advice both quechcrack and 3dogs. I will look into these options. I was thinking of making chisels along the lines of mortise or butt chisels and maybe try out making same jack plane blades or fancy wood scraper would I still be looking at the same steel grade? Thanks again.
   JLorenz - Thursday, 09/18/03 21:50:05 EDT

thank you 3 dogs
however, i do not have access to a welding torch or any kind of material like that. if copper is possible to forge weld, please tell me.
thank you
   colin - Thursday, 09/18/03 22:00:50 EDT

JLorenz, true woodworking fanatics get pretty fussy about plane blades. Yes, you can still use the same steels but check out www.japanwoodworker.com I believe they sell Hoch blades which are in the upper atmosphere of plane blades. These are probably air hardening, cryogenically treated blades. Certainly within the realm of possiblity to forge but heat treating gets more complicated.
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 09/18/03 22:03:01 EDT

Colin, soldering that copper shouldn't take more than a normal plumber's torch, the propane-air kind that you can get at the hardware store. Don't forget the flux.
   T. Gold - Thursday, 09/18/03 22:09:06 EDT

thank you T.Gold
   colin - Thursday, 09/18/03 23:19:26 EDT


The difference in the solidus points and fluidius points of the copper is too narrow to allow forge welding with any degree of success. Also, it will form fire scale (oxidation) at temperatures far below elding temps, which will contaminate the weld are unless you use flux such as borax. The use of fluxes can also change the gradient between fluidus and solidus points so that things become less predictable.

That said, it is possible to forge weld copper. It is done in the mokume gane process, but usually with other metals in between layers of copper. Layers of copper could be brought to heat between compression plates of steel and forge welded, but I doubt you could do sheet and wire.

   vicopper - Thursday, 09/18/03 23:22:10 EDT

Jock and others in the storm,

My prayers and thoughts are with you. I know most of you are quite capable folks who will weather this better than the average person, but good luck nonetheless.

Had a really nasty scare of my own last night. Seems I quit breathing and Sally, who is a nurse, had to reuscitate me. Apparently, she didn't think I looked good in "blue and unresponsive" (grin). Seriously, it scared the poor woman half to death herself. I, of course, was totally unaware of anything until she got me going again. Then, I became a bit agitated myself. (Okay, I was scared sh*tless). A LONG night and day at the hospital resulted in a verdict of "Welllll...we're not really sure." Sudden and acute athsma attack resulting in cessation of all respiration and heart arhythmias. Or something. They sprung me from the hospital this afternoon, and the Chief told me I can't come back to work before Monday at the earliest, so I get a long weekend. Maybe I'll have time to forge that wedding present for my nephew. I feel fine, if a bit baffled by it all.

You guys in the path of the storm take good care of yourselves, I'll be thinking of you and praying for you. If there is anything I can do to assist, please let me know.
   vicopper - Thursday, 09/18/03 23:35:26 EDT

guru, what did you buy on ebay yesterday? you probably beat me out of something...
   rugg - Friday, 09/19/03 01:24:06 EDT

For those welding things like wrenchs, and stainless to carbon steel, etc. At my previous employ we often welded low carbon steel to 300 series steel for valve parts for the oil industry. We used 309ss rod. Its called a P-9 weld in the oil industry, and works well. Since we had the rod we used it as our standard bubble gum in the shop as it would pretty much stick anythin together. We used small rods to weld sheet metal were a 7018 or 6013 would burn through.
   Jeff Reinhardt - Friday, 09/19/03 06:18:35 EDT

I need your help to put a name to a tool used for shaping sheet metal into curves and concave forms. It has a large overhanging armature (something akin to a large drill press) which meets up with a lower armature both of which have mounted wheels on them. I suspect the compression between the wheels can be adjusted. The sheet metal is then rolled between these wheels to create curves and concave forms. I think it was called an 'English' wheel or a 'Cornish' wheel but I don't think I'm right. If you could help put a name to the face so to speak I would greatly appreciate it.

Thank you,
   JLorenz - Friday, 09/19/03 07:49:44 EDT

JLorenz: I have always heard this apparatus referred to as an English Wheel. The Guru would probably know best but I suspect he is without power at the moment.
   quenchcrack - Friday, 09/19/03 08:26:31 EDT

Guru and I are OK. His power is out, but should be back on sometime today.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 09/19/03 08:38:10 EDT

Vic, stay well old friend, Margie and I are pulling for you,

Guru, and Paw Paw , good to Hear your through this thing, we await the details

jlorenz there were(are?) Two english wheels listed on e-bay this week
   habu - Friday, 09/19/03 09:25:02 EDT

Jon, You got the name right, it is an English wheel or a new version called a Fournier wheel. It can be purchased at www.ustool.com This tool is primarily used in the aviation industry to form aircraft bodies and skin. I recogonized it because I am a licensed pilot and have seen antique aircraft being restored by using this tool. Some of the most skilled metal/sheetmetal workers I have EVER seen are in the aviation industry. TC
   Tim Cisneros - Friday, 09/19/03 09:42:19 EDT


No real details here. Medium showers, slight wind. Nothing to worry about.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 09/19/03 10:23:32 EDT

JLorenz; Go to the Google Search Engine, and type in "english wheel". Lots of stuff will come up on the subject. Want to build your own? Try http://www.rodding roundtable.com/tech/articles/12wheel.html.That will show you how to make a small, vise mounted unit. There are numerous books listed on Google, as well. Some education is required to get good results. 3dogs
   - 3dogs - Friday, 09/19/03 10:51:11 EDT

Hells bells man! Hope this was a one time event. Glad to hear that you have a good partner in life who can take care of you.....
   Ralph - Friday, 09/19/03 11:10:01 EDT

It's often been advised here to inventory the things you can do without (i.e and eye, arm etc.) and protect the rest. I think breathing falls into the protect category. Do everything you can to find out what happened to cause the attack. Asthma almost always has some trigger, and while it may not be intuitively obvious, even to a MD, it's definitely worth tracking down! Take care of yourself, Vic! I'll be praying for you.

Well, gotta go cut a couple of fallen trees so I can get down my driveway and figure out where it went under all that stinkin' water.

   eander4 - Friday, 09/19/03 11:34:50 EDT

I have a hankering to create a fireplace screen. I have a design in mind but I am wondering what factors I need to take into account for my finished product. I'll be working in mild steel both rod and plate and I'll be arc welding the components together. I'm thinking the assembly will be pretty normal but given that this item is supposed to sit in front of a fire in order keep sparks in and errant objects out I thought I might be over looking some safety factors. Are there any big concerns or little ones for that matter that I need to watch for? Thanks for any help.
   Will - Friday, 09/19/03 11:38:40 EDT

I'm looking for 1" hexagon stock with a stamped or forged bark finish. Any thought as too where to find?
   Chad Hill - Friday, 09/19/03 11:59:07 EDT

CHAD HILL; Go to Google.com and type in "ornamental iron supplier". There are a number of potential sources listed there. Brace yourself for the cost, however. What you are describing sounds like it would have to be done either with roller dies, individually hand textured (hammer and chisel, etc.) or pulled through hammer dies.
   - 3dogs - Friday, 09/19/03 12:25:22 EDT

The first thind to consider in a fire place screen is that screen is required. It needs to be small enough to not let embers through. This then brings up the question of how to tension the screening to get good appearence, and how to fasten to the frame. As I recall, there was an article in the Hammers Blow awhile back that disclosed a method.
   Jeff Reinhardt - Friday, 09/19/03 12:43:39 EDT

CHAD HILL; I forgot to mention (choke, gasp, gag) Casting.(God forbid!)
   - 3dogs - Friday, 09/19/03 13:36:02 EDT


I Hope you have weathered the storm with no damage and please put off answering my question till you are completely back to normal.

I'm buildig a foot pedal actuator stand for a "gas saver" valve, I have heard this called a " treadle torch " All of the ones I have seen have a pedal you step on which uses a rod to lift the torch off of the valve lever and past the standing pilot to light the torch.
Is there a mechanism that could be used to optionally latch the pedal in the down position then release it with another press. This seems like a good improvement to this device and I'm betting someone has already invented this
type of mechanism. Someone told me a golf cart brake does this but I don't have one to look at.



   Chris S - Friday, 09/19/03 18:06:21 EDT

I have heard of one that goes on and off as you put the torch on and off of the cradle. No foot work required....
   Ralph - Friday, 09/19/03 18:22:02 EDT

Chris look here: I know you are probably looking to make one but if you can find one of these to look at I am sure you can do your own..

   Ralph - Friday, 09/19/03 18:28:44 EDT

Take a look at:

   Paw Paw - Friday, 09/19/03 18:51:12 EDT

Also look at RIO GRANDE on the web. They have all sorts of jewlers tools including the torch rest with gas saver valve. As a goldsmith, this was my source for all my tools etc for many years. For those of you doing VERY fine work that needs welding, Check out the mini torch. Uses hypodermic needles for tips. Makes a very hot very small flame. aslo a great source for good files.
   jeff Reinhardt - Friday, 09/19/03 18:55:34 EDT

Pawpaw, been there, working on it. Place I was gonna get a rod holder closed down though... anyone got a source for decent cheap rod holders?

I'm glad to hear that Guru and the others who were in the path of Isabel are okay. Vicopper, seek a second opinion! Don't want you "going gently into that good night", at least not yet.

Sun-showering in Honolulu, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Friday, 09/19/03 19:38:50 EDT

I was just wondering if you could tell me what the best metal is for a sword? Do you what the kind of sword is? Do you know of a good site where i can go look at the best quality swords on the market? Cheers if you read this.
   Matt - Friday, 09/19/03 20:22:27 EDT

English Wheel JLorenz, QC is correct. A search on those terms will find a bunch of info. They were originaly used for shaping auto and aircraft panels. I don't have anything on them here but we DO have info on small special power hammers used for the same thing.
   - guru - Friday, 09/19/03 20:24:53 EDT

Swords: Matt, The best special sword steel in the world is custom made by Daryl Meier of MEIER STEEL.
   - guru - Friday, 09/19/03 20:27:53 EDT

Ebay Item: Rugg, a nice little Atha planishing hammer. Old make, classy, good shape.

Atha Planishing Hammer
   - guru - Friday, 09/19/03 20:34:28 EDT

Hock irons, if I remember right, are A2. There was a long-running comparison test on a now-defunct woodworking forum trying to prove (or disprove) the value of A2, laminated, O1, or whatever was everyone's favorite. I kind of decided it didn't matter as much when it all got down to microscope photographs of the edges of the irons...

   Steve A - Friday, 09/19/03 20:47:35 EDT

Matt; go hangout at the swordforumdotcom; everything you want to know including top custom makers.

Guru's BACK!

   Thomas Powers - Friday, 09/19/03 22:52:00 EDT

Ralph, habu, and all,

Thanks for your well wishes, they mean very much to me. I seem to be just fine now, the tests show no heart damage and the brain seems to be only as good as it ever was, darn the luck. I had hoped that might improve. (grin) Thank God my wife Sally is a trained professional nurse or I wouldn't be here to thank you all.

If you haven't already taken a Red Cross course in CPR, I suggest you check into it. If it enables you to do for someone else what Sally did for me, you will have done a miraculous thing. Believe me, even if I had lived right in a city, no ambulance could have gotten there quick enough to save my life. Only Sally, who was right there, could do that. Make the time in your life to learn what it takes to protect your own loved ones, please. I will be going for my own re-certification next week.
   vicopper - Saturday, 09/20/03 00:07:41 EDT

JOck, Jim, Thomas and all in the path of Isabel,

I am greatly relieved to hear you are all through the worst of it with no major problems! All of you have become very much like family to me through this forum. I wish I had the time available to travel up that way to help with the cleanup. It is one thing I have LOTS of practice at. (grin)
   vicopper - Saturday, 09/20/03 00:10:57 EDT

guru, thanks for the pic of the planishing hammer. i scored a very sweet swage block, exactly what i was hunting for. the seller showed many views of it and it is in super condition. it only weighs about 120#, but that is what i wanted; i need to move it myself. i have bought some very nice hammer heads for very little $. now i must make a hammer and tong rack for all of the stuff i have collected....
   rugg - Saturday, 09/20/03 01:51:40 EDT

Red Cross CPR is very much a life saver. I had to use it twice on my son. Heimlec both times as well as usinf basic 1st aide numurous times.
   Ralph - Saturday, 09/20/03 02:39:26 EDT

I worked out a prototype pop-up-torch of that description a dozen years ago and demoed it at a CBA conference in 92(?).
I asked George Dixon about such a device after seeing him repeatedly light a torch during his demo.
He said it couldn't be done so i petulantly went home and built one...half tongue in cheek.
I've been using it ever since.
Also demoed it a few years back at the CBA ( Calif Blacksmith) Octoberfest ...and will again at the up-comming one in a couple of weeks.
A number of people have copied it and made variations since.
The stay-on function you want is easy to do. I just filed a notch in the verticle actuator rod at the very end of the throw. That way, when i press the treadle all the way down, the catch ( notch) hangs up on the guide untill I nudge it free with a foot.
So, I guess I invented both.
I've also since added a concave shaped hi-alumina firebrick on an adjustable arm to hold stock and reflect heat.
I'd point out that it is a gadget that is unnecessarily complex and one can get most of the function in a much simpler manner.

Vic....I second a second opinion..we've come to value you greatly and don't want to loose you .

Good Guru; I trust you are still above water. I'd pictured you rushing tender old books up the hill and stuffing them in your old trucks as the clouds loomed black above and the creek rose.
   - Pete F - Saturday, 09/20/03 05:14:59 EDT

During heavy rains in our city, we are flooded with problems of RUST AT STUB ENDS of our electrodes- specifically the 7018 type! This is even after ensuring that coating moisture in as packed condition is within tolerable limits. Can you suggest some causes and remedies.

   R. S. Chandel - Saturday, 09/20/03 05:32:31 EDT

Pete F
Thanks, that's just the info I was looking for on a latch for the gassaver stand.
A small sliding pawl under the foot pedal could limit the pedal's travel when I don't want the latching feature.
I'm not getting the picture of how your concave firebrick setup works but I like the idea of something for the material to rest on.
Next Revision: a piezo sparker to eliminate the standing pilot.
thanks to all that posted on this
- chris
   Chris S - Saturday, 09/20/03 08:03:12 EDT

R.S. Chandel,
Are you storing your rods ina rod heater? At my previous employ, we built very large high steam boilers, and we used 7018 by the ton. All rods were required to be kept in a rod oven, and were issued to the welders in small batchs, 4 pounds max. as I recall. These went into a pouch and were required to be returned to the oven if not used quickly. 7018 and 7014 type rods have a water loving coating that will pick up moisture from the atmosphere.This will also degrade the performance of the rod as well as make a weld that may crack from the moisture build up.The moisture yeilds hydrogen that degrades the low hydrogen nature of the 7018 rod. For the average guy, a $1000 rod oven is a bit rich,but a light bulb in a non-combustable container should maintain that desired heat. A trick for those who weld with 7018, but have a lot of trouble restriking after breaking the arc. Have a small chunk of scrap wood handy, and while the rod end is still red gently push the end into the wood. This will push the glass back from the tip enough to get an easy restrike.
   jeff Reinhardt - Saturday, 09/20/03 08:07:27 EDT

Okay, I have the anvil and I made pencil rubbings from the name and size. I also took some pictures. Who shall I send this stuff to? The anvil DEFINITELY says "JOSHUA WILKINSON", then underneath "DUDLEY" and "WARRANTED". It's an 038 size and has a mysterious number 8 at the base. I took rubbings of all this stuff and scanned it. Let me know.

   The Great Nippulini - Saturday, 09/20/03 10:05:51 EDT

Home Front: Everything here is fine. We were missed by the heaviest rains (we sneeked through the bands of clouds). After the storm past we lost power (AFTER!) for a day. Most of the things moved to high ground will stay there but we have to figure out where the heck to put everything!

VIc, Tony, Rugg, Thomas, Pete Etal . . Yes, it is like we are all one big family. I appreciate your concern and hope you all happiness and health as well.

VIc, wow, close call, mail coming your way.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/20/03 10:19:02 EDT

I just found you guys a few weeks ago, now the den is a daily visit. I have been hobby blacksmithing for 20 years, self taught, and have learned more tricks and information in these couple of weeks than all the books iv'e read and attempts i've made. as soon as conditions permit, I'll be joining CSI 'cause this site definately needs to survive.
now my question to the Guru and his assistants.
I have 2 Acme Anvils, one older than the other. The older is marked 125 A89445 it has a square hole under the horn on the body. the other is marked 125 A143228. I am wondering when each was built and what the square hole in front was used for.
Thanks, Lee (in Utah)
   Crowsfoot - Saturday, 09/20/03 11:49:41 EDT

I guess I should have introduced myself, I'm 52 got started when my Father bought a farm that had an old Blacksmith shop on it, the tools and forge were in fairly good shape, so i tried it and have enjoyed it ever since. I use coal ($21 / ton after a 10 minute drive to pick it up) a Champion 400 blower, and just replaced fire pot from Centaur (rectangular Vulcan)
again Thanks, Lee (from Utah)
   Crowsfoot - Saturday, 09/20/03 12:01:01 EDT

Anvil Details: Crowsfoot, Most older forged anvils have two square holes in the waist under the horn and heel and sometimes in the bottom. These are handling holes. Two "porter" bars are stuck in the holes so two men can lift the anvil out of the forge to work on it. Some shops used special tongs with a center spike that fit in the bottom hole and jaws that fit in the side holes. It is *ALMOST always an indication of a forged anvil.

*ALMOST - A VERY few cast anvils had handling holes cast in them. AND modern forged anvils like the Peddinghaus that are handled with modern forging manipulators do not have handling holes. Also a few very old forged anvils do not but it is fairly rare.

Acme was a Sears and Roebuck house brand anvil. The older is probably a Hay-Budden, I'm not sure about the newer.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/20/03 16:23:45 EDT

Can anyone tell me what tools I'd need to build the brake drum forge? I'm in high school and still live with my, and my father was never a handy man, so we don't have many tools. The only power tool we have is a cheap drill we bought at a hardware store.
   Greg - Saturday, 09/20/03 16:34:39 EDT

I still live with my parents, rather.
   Greg - Saturday, 09/20/03 16:35:26 EDT

I just acuired a LG 50lb hammer and am looking for help in mounting a motor. What is the bestway to mount? Also, what size? I've been told a 1&1/2 works well and also been told don't go less that 3 horse. Any thoughts?
   phil - Saturday, 09/20/03 16:58:52 EDT

Thanks for the info. Both anvils are of identical shape and size so I believe they are of the same manufacture. An old friend of my dad's said the hole was to hold beeswax for tempering chisels, even though I was not trained in metalurgy, I knew this was B.S.
   Crowsfoot - Saturday, 09/20/03 17:52:03 EDT


Those numbers on the front of the foot are the Hay Budden Serial numbers. Double check to make sure you have them correct and send them to me in email and I'll look up the date of manufacture for you.

(Or you can post them here again, if you wish, doesn't matter to me)

   Paw Paw - Saturday, 09/20/03 19:07:57 EDT


If you have the numbers correctly, 89445 was manufactured in 1904, and 143228 was manufactured in 1907.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 09/20/03 19:10:21 EDT

Wax Hole: Yep, That is a tall tale but they MAY have been used to hold punching lube by someone, but that is not why they are there. On the other hand, the tail stock on old lathes had a hole and a pointed dipper with a fancy brass knob on top. The hole was filled with white lead, a lubricant to be used on the lathe center.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/20/03 19:33:13 EDT

50 Pound Little Giant: Phil, From the factory, a 50 pound LG had a 2HP 3PH motor. See out Little Giant Spec sheet on our Power hammer Page. LG only used HD full horsepower rated motors except on the 250 which used a 7.5HP motor. In reality the small hammers run quite well on fractional HP motors. I had a 50 pound LG that ran quite well with a 1 HP motor. But I would recommend a 1.5. It is a nice size motor that can be run on either 120 or 240 VAC single phase.

Mounting depends on the style of hammer. Center clutch machines were designed to be operated by a low speed line shaft (about 500 - 800 RPM) so they have small pulleys requiring a lot of speed reduction when using an 1800 RPM motor. You need a 2.18" (or smaller) pulley to get the speed down to the 328 RPM (or slightly less) that the LG should run. Many folks use an intermediate shaft known as a jack shaft to slow down in two steps

On motor driven machines with the rear clutch, the pulley is larger and the motor was mounted on a hinged bracket about 2/3's of the way down the frame on the right hand side. The weight of the motor kept the belt tensioned.

Some folks mount the motor to their building or run the jack shaft like a short line shaft on their ceiling. Most mount a bracket high on the frame to form a shelf to support the motor. But I have also seen them on brackets above the hammer. Whatever works best for you.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/20/03 19:57:16 EDT

Greg; funny you should mention that. I once built a brake drum forge to show a fellow that you didn't need any fancy tools to make one. Lets see, I used a 1/4" drill and a hacksaw, an adjustable wrench and that was about it.

If you can scrounge an old lab stool and a brake drum that will seat in it with the top removed you might even be able to do it with fewer tools!

Basically you need a non-flamable support for the brake drum and a couple of plumbing fittings. I used a floor flange, a nipple, a T, another nipple and a cap (assembled by drilling a couple of bolt holes to match the floor flange and with that held Iused a stick in the T to tighten the flange,nippleand T together.) The cap and a side pipe for air were finger tight only.

To rub it in I got all the piece parts at the fleamarket, including an old small "handy vac" and a rheostat so total cost for a forge I used to weld up billets was under US$10. Including a blower and speed control.

Yes a bandsaw and welder can be nice but they are *not* needed if you can look at what needs to be done and figure out how to do it with what you have.

   Thomas Powers - Saturday, 09/20/03 20:08:32 EDT

Speaking of brake drum forges: I was just at a Harbor Freight store the other day and they have a $30 tool cart that has a top shelf and a lower shelf. Now that would make a nice cheap pan for your brake drum to fit into. And it is portable. All you would need next is a jig saw with a metal cutting blade to cut out the hole for the brake drum to sit in. Not a fancy forge, but definetly doable, at a cheap cost and little labor.
   Bob H - Saturday, 09/20/03 20:45:21 EDT

Greg. Where do you live? Have you checked out any local blacksmith groups there? You can always watch and learn at the local gatherings, and the odds are that someone there would be willing to help you set up your brake drum forge, if you don't have all the tools you need. Check our pulldown menu for ABANA chapters and see if you can find one in your state and then make some calls. Good luck!
   Bob H - Saturday, 09/20/03 20:49:39 EDT

Jeez, another thing I forgot! Greg, my group, the Michigan Artist Blacksmith Association, has forge and anvil and some tools for beginners to borrow. I believe we have a $100 depostit, fully refundable. And you get some good equipment to use and see if you want to continue blacksmithing. Something to check out.
   Bob H - Saturday, 09/20/03 20:53:06 EDT

Hi! My brother-in-law is looking for a nail cincher, not for removing horseshoes but one used in building houses to bend the nail back into the wood. He knows someone who is building a house and they want everthing done as it used to be. What are they called and do you know where I could get a hold of one for him or how i could make one? I'm not really into making tools because I have so little time in my shop I don't really like to spend the time making something that will help me make something. But I'm willing to try it, hey maybe I'll actually like it!! Thanks in advance. Wendy
   - Wendy - Saturday, 09/20/03 21:11:36 EDT

Thanks alot, guys.
Thomas: Sounds like a great price, but I don't know much about plumbing at all, and the guys at the hardware store don't seem to either, unfortunately. I'd have no idea what to buy, how to put it together...

Bob: Actually, I live in New Brunswick, Canada, and I don't think we have many blacksmiths around. Probably not enough for any organization to exist. I sure wish I lived in Michigan, that tool-lending program sounds like the best idea I've ever heard.
   Greg - Saturday, 09/20/03 21:51:27 EDT


I don't know about the really old days, since I'm not that old, but I have driven a few hundred thousand nails building wood houses. Ever nail we clinched was done with nothing but the hammer. There is a particular technique to hitting the nail end sideways just enough to "set" the bend of the clinch, then a sharp blow straight onto the point that curls the point back down into the wood without pushing it back out the front. Anyone who has done much frame construction or timber construction has learned this technique. I have never seen a special tool for that purpose, and can't imagine why anyone wouyld want to carry an extra tool when the hammer will do the job and is already in your hand. Someone with more knowledge of historical construction might have very different information on this, though.
   vicopper - Saturday, 09/20/03 23:14:19 EDT


A forge doesn't need to be anything exact or elaborate. It is simply a place to burn fuel and air and put the steel to be heated. A brake drum forge is easy to build. All it takes is an old brake drum, something non-flammable to hold it at a comfortable level, and a source of air through the center hole in the brake drum. Some sort of a grate is nice to keep small chunks of coal from falling down into the air pipe, and a method of clearing out the crud that does fall down is nice, too. That is where the plumbing parts come in. Get a 2" iron pipe "tee", two 3" close nipples, a 12" piece of 2" iron pipe threaded on one end and a 2" "floor flange." Those are the basic parts.

The center of the "tee" is where you screw in the 12" piece of pipe. The two "close nipples" get screwed into each of the arms of the "tee." On one of them, you screw on the "floor flange". That is what goen in the axle hole in the brake drum. You can put a pipe cap on the other arm where it hangs down, or make a flap cover. That will be the "drop tube" where the crud falls and you unscrew the cap to clean it out periodically. The 12" piece of pipe sticks out the side and is where your air supply hooks up. For starters, an old blow drier will supply enough air, as will a scrounged blower from a clothes dryer. Or check with your local heating supply, they may have an old blower from an oil furnace they can give you. There are also many different types of bellows you can make fro wood, plastic buckets, pipe, bags, all sorts of thiings. The idea is to supply air to the fire. Experimenting will teach you how much air you need.

If you invest in a couple of beginner's books on blacksmithing, they will have information on making various forges. It is possible to make a forge with nothing more than a hole in the ground, a couple of rocks and piece of cloth for producing an air supply. I suggest Alexander Weyger's book, as it is aimed at doing things yourself and making your own tools. Read the Getitng Started FAQ on the 21st century page here, and check the book reviews as well. You will be surprised at how much information you can glean from the different areas on Anvilfire and a trip to the library.
   vicopper - Saturday, 09/20/03 23:32:53 EDT

Thank you very, very much vicopper, your information has been very helpful. Currently the only book on blacsmithing I own is the 3rd edition of "The Art of Blacksmithing", which is a great book, but not much in the way of forge construction for beginners.
   Greg - Saturday, 09/20/03 23:50:34 EDT

Required Tools and Finding Smiths: Greg, We have several detailed plans for brake drum forges on our PLANS page. Buying everything new except a blower it can be done for less than $20. If you scrounge and make do it can be done for less.

As you can see above there are lots of ways to get by with few tools. A large part of being a blacksmith is applying your most important tool (the one hiding between your ears) to solving problems.

Look at last weeks archive of this page for a photo of a very simple forge (Sept 9-17). Except for attaching the legs it is a pile of junk parts that were mearly stacked in place. All the parts came from one cluttered garage. It was a quite servicable forge.

My first forge (see the plans mentined above for link) was made from similarly collected junk. Two wheels my best friend had bent on two different occasions, the blower off our old coal furnace that had just been replaced and some pipe purchased for legs. Like Dragonboy's forge in last weeks archive it had no "tuyeer" the air just blew at the hole in the center of the wheel. The very FIRST thing I forged was a handle to attach to the damper valve linkage on the fan. So I used the forge to complete building the forge. The only power tool used was a 1/4" electric drill. I also used a hammer, a 5/8 tapered and handled blacksmiths punch, screw driver and tin snips. I had access to many other tools but the above was all that was required.

Don't get stuck on building exactly what you see other people doing. The two forges mentioned above used old full sized auto wheels, NOT brake drums. Other people have used old gas grills, large hibachis and propane tanks. In fact you can build a forge out of wood and DIRT (predominantly clay soil).

There are LOTS of blacksmiths in Canada. They are not quite as organized as those in the US but they manage a major national convention every two years called CanIron. Check our ABANA-Chapter.com page for a link to CanIron and some of the other Canadian groups (bottom of the page).

AND. . Even in the US smiths travel long distances to get together and see what each other is doing and swap tools, lies and info. Next weekend I am going to Troy, OH, about a 466 mile trip. There will be others that have traveled much farther. The last trip I took was only 250 miles (one way) and the one before to go to an Armour-In was a mere 400 miles. . .

   - guru - Sunday, 09/21/03 00:34:28 EDT

And next month I travel to Pennsylvania and Maryland to see a couple of smiths. I live in the Virgin Islands, so you can figure how far that is. I will be at the next ABANA conference even if I have to swim to get there!
   vicopper - Sunday, 09/21/03 00:42:47 EDT

I don't know what part of New Brunswick your in, but John Little is in East Dover, Nova Scotia, he might know of some one in your area.
And remember, it can be done, don't let anything stop you.
   - JimG - Sunday, 09/21/03 01:19:14 EDT

Farriers Anvil English Wilkinson Anvil
Two Different Anvils: To most people an anvil looks like an anvil looks like an anvil . . .

But these two show the vast difference in anvil design. Both of these weigh roughly 100 pounds. The one to the left is a modern American pattern farriers anvil made of cast steel. The one to the right is TGN's Wilkinson, an early 1800's English blacksmith's anvil made by hand forging. Notice how much of the face of the Wilkinson has solid mass under it. About 2-1/2 times as much. Notice how springy looking the Farrier's anvil is compared to the Wilkinson. It IS as springy as it looks.

These are the extremes in London pattern anvils. Most regular smiths anvils are about half way between these extremes. However, some styles are more solid than the Wilkinson above. The Italian style like the Nimba which has no waist at all is as solid as an anvil can be made.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/21/03 01:46:27 EDT

Guru, what does a "PH" rating like the 2HP 3PH rating given for the LG motor above mean? Seen this before but never found a definition.

(Blacksmithing Content follows :)
Would a power hammer with a 10-20lb ram running at around 120-160bpm and a 100lb anvil be capable of doing reasonably effective work on 1" and smaller stock?

Sunny and hot in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Sunday, 09/21/03 01:58:20 EDT

Never mind... it's Phase, of course. Thanks Coalforge for reminding me. Second question still stands though. Got a nice split-lap polishing machine motor that's just begging to be put to work.
   T. Gold - Sunday, 09/21/03 02:12:24 EDT


It's probably not going to do very much to 3/4" or 1", but for 1/2" and smaller, it should do fine.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 09/21/03 09:34:36 EDT

T. Gold,
I have built a 32 pound ram spring thype hammer. It will forge 1" round, but its not a speed demon on this size work. I have even forged some 1 1/2" square, but was really slow. STILL BEATS A 2# by hand.
   jeff Reinhardt - Sunday, 09/21/03 09:46:26 EDT

PH: Yep, that is Phase as in 3 Phase power. For most of us you are screwed if you bring home a large machine with a 3PH motor. I recently bought several fractional HP fan motors that were 1PH (single phase). I thought I had checked them closely. . It turns out they are are 240 VAC only, not the typical dual voltage 120/240 that you can run on either. I have 240 VAC in my shop but it is very inconvenient to need a high voltage circuit for small tools and machines with less than 1 HP. I was going to use these motors to replace those on my buffers that had been flood damaged several years ago. . . :(

You CAN run 3PH machines on a converter or phase generator but this are also inconvenient and require heavier wiring than normal circuits. I have a large roto-phase but my shop is still on a temporary circuit that is not heavy enough for it. I am also looking at selling and moving in the near future and see little point in setting it up when the new owner will probably have no need for it and I WILL.

Unless a machine has a very large or a special low speed motor then I find it more convenient to replace motors and not need to worry about 3PH.

You also have to watch out for high voltage ratings. Industrial machinery often has 240/480 or 440/880 rated motors. One can be rewired to run on normal current the other cannot. Rewinding motors is NOT an economic option unless they are low RPM or very special motors.

Its ALWAYS something. . .

Small Power Hammers: TG, They made hammers in the 10-15 pound range for cutlery work and sheet metal work. 1/8" to 1/4" in bar stock is about the max and those for sheet are used on 16ga and less for aircraft and auto body work. The run in the 400 to 800 BPM range in order to be productive. The "cutlery" hammers were for tableware, not swordsmithing. For this application a small rolling mill is infinitely more efficient. Huge McDonald makes letter openers by the hundreds (thousands?) with his rolling mill. He says he would never consider making them by hand. And you cannot beat the consistant thickness and flat surface.

Paw-Paw keeps wanting me to build him a "bench top" power hammer. But even when small they are heavy and the high speeds mean a LOT of vibration. The smaller the hammer the greater the ram/anvil ratio should be EXPECIALY on a benchtop hammer. This means a 200 pound anvil SHOULD be used on a 10 pound hammer. Think about it. A smith normaly uses a maximum of a 4 pound hammer on a 200 pound anvil and ocassionaly a 10 pound sledge. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 09/21/03 10:08:50 EDT

Nigerian Spam Scammers: Well, after two decades of the exact same scam story they are now getting creative. Widows, orphan children, incurable diseases . . many with a touch of "good Christians please help us." A sample:
I am married to late James Fareed Adesou of blessed memory who worked with Benin embassy in Sudan for twelve years before he died in the year 2000. We are married For eleven years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days. Before his death we were both devoted Christians. Since his death I too have been battling with both Cancer and fibroid problem.
And of course they need your help getting millions of dollars out of some forign bank account. . . . DON'T BELIEVE a word of it! These are crooks looking to empty your bank account in what is known as an "advance fee" scam. There is ALWAYS a problem getting the millions out of the account. A lawyer to pay, an official to bribe. The fees all go to the scammer.

This new crop is getting very creative looking for "good Christians" or a "good Christian organization" . . .

Why do I write about this HERE? Because people are still falling for this scam. Our state department will not help you get your money back. The Nigerian government is in on the scam and people that have gone there trying to get their money back have been murdered.

Most of these scams are asking the "mark" to do illegal things so I have little sympathy for them. However, this is just one of thousands of scams running on the Internet. IF you are spammed then it is probably a thief trying to get into your pocket. And as long as SPAM works, it will continue.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/21/03 10:41:11 EDT

Why is glass used as a lubricant for hot forging? Also, why one cannot go from stock to finished forging in one press stroke? Also, can you please state the advantages of isothermal forging. Diagrams would be apreciated. Thanks.
   Imran - Sunday, 09/21/03 10:57:15 EDT


All of the data for your paper can be found at your University's library or your text book.

However I would suggest going to a local industrial forging plant and TALK to the workers who run the presses and design the forged parts then go onto the floor to WATCH the machines work to get a REAL understanding of what is going on.

Good luck,

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Sunday, 09/21/03 12:44:29 EDT

Again, thanks to everyone for their information. I've spent a great deal of time exploring the site, including the plans section, but I was never quite sure exactly what was required to build the brake drum forge there.

There is one blacksmith I know here in NB, he's the smith at King's Landing historical settlement (there might be some who have heard of it if you've traveled to the maritimes) and is the one who got me interested in blacksmithing. You should have seen the look on his face when I told him about anvilfire.com (he was especially excited about the plans for building a cone mandrel)! Unfortunately, it's difficult for me to travel any great distances because of my age, but I'll give it a try. Thanks again.
   Greg - Sunday, 09/21/03 12:46:17 EDT

Sometime in life things get all out of sequence. I fell in love with blacksmithing as a five year old who lived next to a historical blacksmith. Then life happened and we moved.I was 19, in Germany, in the army when the chance to train under a master goldsmith occured. Took the chance, LEARNED a lot. and then left the army. I had to go to college, work for 15 years, and move into a house with land before I had a shop. A neighbor bought an anvil and forge and we begain to play. Read books,played, read the same books and repeated until I could build a fair coal fire and make simple stuff like hooks. Then the internet and anvilfire came along. I found ABANA, and then the Indiana blacksmithing assoc. Finally at 47 years, I can call myself a blacksmith.(a still learning one)
The Moral to be found here, is that we don't always have the best oppurtunity to do what we want, but if you keep trying, have patience, and MAKE the opportunity happen for you, you can achieve most anything.A good blacksmith makes his own tools. A forge can be anything that will hold the fuel and allow you to put air where you want it. Brake drums, garbage can lids, a bunch of piled bricks, an old wheelbarrow all will work. As mentioned before in other posts, the MOST valuable tool a smith has is between his ears. Think about what you want to do, and write down, or sketch every idea that comes to mind. Then look around for the things that each idea might take. When you find the stuff, build.Then try try try. Read then try again.
The very best thing you can do to learn blacksmithing is to attend hammer-ins. I know that as a young man travel is'nt easy, But find the hammer-in, find somthing nice your parents can attend close by. Do the planning, and show them that it really means somthing to you and they will probably find a way to get you there. As a parent of four, I can say that most parents pay attention when their kids show maturity, planning and strong desire.
Good Luck
   jeff Reinhardt - Sunday, 09/21/03 13:22:40 EDT

Anybody know what jack handles/tire irons are made of? How much carbon? Suitable for tongs?

Also, I have access to professional heat treat. What would be good for working area of S-7 hardie tools? Rc52 or so? I expect the shank should be drawn a little softer afterwards. Same for hammers?

Thanks anybody and everybody. This site is so informative. ( I never knew what the golden number describing sunflower seeds was!! ) Tom H.
   Tom H - Sunday, 09/21/03 16:55:01 EDT

Steel for Tongs: Tom, Tongs WERE all made of wrought iron (dead soft) then mild steel and medium/low carbon steel (30 to 40 points). Most modern smiths make tongs of mild steel so that they can quench them as needed without worrying about the steel. Mas produced tongs may be slightly higher carbon. Lug wrenches are too high of carbon for tongs, tire "irons" (for manually changing tires) can be mild steel to 40 point carbon.

When dealing with scrap steel absolutely nobody can state with certainty what anything was made of. As soon as you choose to use scrap steel them YOU become your own metalurgist and quality control. Its up to you to figure it out.

Most high carbon tool steel tools should be drawn back as soft as possible except for working edges and faces. Fully drawn tool steel is still very hard. Hammer faces vary in hardness. It is better to err on the soft side than too brittle. You can easily dress a distorted or mushroomed tool but it is difficult to repair cracked or spalled tools.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/21/03 17:26:59 EDT

too big a hurry. . dinner awaits.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/21/03 17:28:22 EDT

Thanks for the advice, Jeff, but the closest ABANA chapter in Canada is one in Ontario, which isn't very fesible. Wait, I forgot to check to see if there's one in Maine or somewhere nearby, that would certainly be much doable than Ontario or Quebec.
   Greg - Sunday, 09/21/03 18:38:16 EDT

Guru, thanks for the reply. Guess I will save the lug wrenches for different application.

I wondered if S-7 might still be too brittle in the Rc50's. I can set the oven at whatever to temper. I will try something in mid Rc40's to start.

Thanks again, enjoy dinner. Tom
   Tom H - Sunday, 09/21/03 18:46:36 EDT

Hi all!

Finally geting a shop. Small, but servicable. What I've got to work with is 10' x 10'.

My question is: "What is the minimum workable depth for a good workbench?"

I currently plan on running work bench along one entire wall of the shop and having most of the rest of the space used by forge and anvil/stake table combo.
   Tony-C - Sunday, 09/21/03 18:54:48 EDT

wen puting new barrings in a champin blower. What kind of packing do i use in the barring caps? how do i put it in?
   terry-f - Sunday, 09/21/03 19:35:44 EDT

Tony C.
My shop is also 10 by 10. My bench is a 12" wide slab of 3" thick oak that runs down one side. Servicable enough for me, any wider and it would take up too much space. 99% of the work is on the anvil and leg vise.
   - Ron J. - Sunday, 09/21/03 19:48:22 EDT

TonyC 0"-24' depending on what you want to do with it; Gate Layout? Knifemaking?, toolmaking?, etc?

Basically you can do more with less if that less is firmly anchored to the wall and floor a lot of the "depth" on a workbench is to provide anti-tipping stability when you exert force on it.

Another consideration is fixed tooling, if you mount a post vise or beverly shear on it is their enough room to work around it with the material you plan to work with.

A lot can be done with a sturdy 2x12 firmly mounted to a strong wall; but I usually like two of them to give a bit of elbow room. Note for a lot of smithing you don't need any workbench; for some types you can't have enough of them!

   Thomas Powers - Sunday, 09/21/03 19:48:59 EDT

Tom, S7 is an air-hardening, shock-resisting tool steel. It has a fairly low carbon content for a tool steel, .45-.55%, which is similar to H13. It is an exceptionally tough tool steel and would probably do just fine at Rc 50. Harden at 1725F, air cool, temper at about 1000F.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 09/21/03 20:43:43 EDT


Thanks for the tips. I hadn't thought about the limitations of having my post vise mounted to a small bench attached to the wall. Might have to make that vise actually mounted on a post in a more central location to provide more room around the vise.

I'll only be doing smaller decorative work...up to fire place tools perhaps so I don't NEED a bunch or room. I'll just have to be efficient.

I did read, somewhere about making all of your benches vises etc the same height as your anvil. This way if you do need to work on a larger piece you have a multitude of rests for your work. Any of you ever try this?
   Tony-C - Sunday, 09/21/03 21:37:45 EDT

Benches: Anvil height is too low unless you are sitting. There are standing benches at about 38-42" (965-1065mm) and sitting benches at 28-32" (710-815mm). Standing benches can be worked at sitting from a tall stool like a bar stool.

I like shop work benches that are about two feet deep because I have various tool chests running along the wall on mine. Then a shelf above that. I also have a very large machinists vise that takes about 16" from the front edge (it overhangs about another 8"). BELOW the bench I have a shelf that extends about half way out for storage. So the bench becomes shelves and work space.

On a bench like this the leg vise is usualy mounted to a post set in front of and attached to the bench. This gives the vise clearance on three sides and more depth to the wall.

On the right hand corner of one of my benches I have a motor mounted with a wire wheel that hangs off the side of the bench.

On classic low benches the 42" tall leg vise is about a foot or 8" above the bench. On locksmiths benches they use a small bench anvil that has a long leg extending THROUGH the bench. They are about 38 to 42" tall like the leg vise. Both are designed to be used standing.

I build my shop benches with heavy framing lumber for the top (2x10, 2x6, 2x4 as needed). The pine absorbs spilled oil to a dry surface in a few days, is soft enough not to mar most work but strong enough to support an auto engine. I anchor the corners to the wall and legs to the floor with 1/8" x 1-1/2" or 2" angle iron brackets. Anchoring a bench like this makes it unbelievably stout.

Heavy iron weld plattens and some welding benches are best set at anvil height BUT a stand up welding bench needs to be taller (mine is 36" and very comfortable). If you need stock stands then build stock stands don't sacrifice the usability of your benches to anvil height.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/21/03 22:24:24 EDT

Tony C.,

If your vise were the same height as your anvil, one of them would definitely be very difficult to use. A vise is mostly used to hold things for filing, and the height of a post vise is generally about 40-42", which is comfortable for filing or chiseling. If your anvil were that high, it would be impossible ot strike a heavy blow with any control at all. The anvil surface is usually set about the height of your knuckles so that your hammer arm is working efficiently and your hammer face meets the work squarely. Common bench height is 36", and many tool chest bases and machine tool bases follow that height. Having everything the same height simply ain't gonna work, I don't think.
   vicopper - Sunday, 09/21/03 22:24:39 EDT

Within 15 seconds! :)
   - guru - Sunday, 09/21/03 22:27:24 EDT

Power came back on at 01:30 this (Sunday) morning. No damage at the forge or barns, a lot of trees down in the hedge rows and on the road to the point house.

Major loss was the splendid old pecan tree familiar to all who attendd Camp Fenby- it's down and smashed through the roof of the meat house and is presently covering the garage. It also took the pole and security light with it so the potential live wire is entangled in the mess- of course, the chain saw and the felling axe are in the outbuildings somewhere under the tree and power line. With over 1,000 households still without power, it will take them a while to get around to this minor mess.

Cleared the road with the Hudson Bay pattern light axe, and used the old ('84) F-150 to snap and drag off the locust limbs and trunks after cutting them 2/3 of the way through.

Spent a part of the afternoon boarding up an attic window that was sucked right out. Most of the neighbors did okay, but one of the women in our parish got hit by a mini-tornado that pulled off the end of her house and wet-down and re-arranged the contents. That's going to be a real salvage job.

Put the plug back in the ship, bailed it out with about 8 crew, raised and re-rigged the mast and we're back in commission. Power was restored at the dock just as we finished.

Best part of all was that the marina had showers- I needed one after four days of battening down and cleaning-up.

Back to work tomorrow- see what went down out in the parks.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 09/21/03 23:04:14 EDT

I've been away, a workshop in Nebraska and powwowing this weekedn at Sky City (Acoma), New Mexico. A couple of quick notes:
Crowsfoot,When I was shoeing, we put beeswax in the handling hole under the horn to cool and lube our pritchels.

Ref vicopper's response about leg vise height and striking. It is possible with a sledge to hit an accurate blow at above leg vise hight if one uses the continental striking method instead of the good ol' boy self taught swiping method. You need to keep your elbows away from your body and keep the hands on the right side of your body if you're right handed. It isn't wonderfully comfortable, but can be maintained for a while. The forge and anvil are usually about crotch high. Yeah, I said it in a nice way.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 09/22/03 00:45:07 EDT

Thanks for the tips Gurus!

Just a clarification...the post vise would never have been at anvil height...just a little table on the back. .
   Tony-C - Monday, 09/22/03 00:53:59 EDT

Hi, hope that somebody can help me. Normally I am using "Instant Iron Base Coat" and the "Instant Rust Antiquing Solution" from "modern options" to create a rusty surface. I assume that the Iron Rust soltion is nothing special. Can anybody tell me the ingredients or a method to create rust in a very short time? It should be something I can buy in a drug store / pharmacy. Thanks in advance, Ina
   Ina - Monday, 09/22/03 04:03:12 EDT

Hi Guru.

I'm an amateur armourer from the Netherlands.

So far i've made 15th century legs, elbows and the cuirass, all to the patterns of Craig Nadler. Worked out fine.

Now I'm making an archers helmet (small visorless sallet, with "rondells" protecting the ears) and it gives me more problems then I thought.

I was sinking the helm-halves in a dishing stump, using a ball-stke for a hammer.
It left me with 2 rather good bowl-shaped helm-halves, but it's more a bowl than a helmet- I think the depression has to be deeper a bit along the sides of the head, but how can I do that?
- from the outside, using a small ballstake and a hammer?
- from the inside, using a smaller ballstake for a hammer, and a smaller or more deeper depression in the stump?

I'm using 16 gauge mild steel.
Pictures of the bowl can be found on


Thanks already.
   Duco de Klonia - Monday, 09/22/03 05:18:48 EDT

RE:Patination and steel coatings from last week

Thanks a bunch for the information. I'm going to use it, if not this project then my later ones.

Since I couldn't treat all of the piece's surfaces I decided to just bring the rust out that is going to form eventually. I used a solution of muriatic acid and water and it made it rust. Then I heated different parts to produce a varying toned orange and purpleish rust pattern. going to figure out what oil to finish it with next. I'll link to some images when I get some uploaded.

Ina: For quick rust try using 1 part muriatic acid and 10 part water solution. Be sure to buy a biological filter for your respirator. You can get muriatic acid at a hardware store.
   Luke - Monday, 09/22/03 07:01:05 EDT

Stall Jacks
Quick question to all the farriers out there .
I've been asked to make some stall jacks for a friend , had a look at one he had , just 2" plate cut in a profile cutter then touched up with a disc grinder
Does the metal have to be hard or will mild steel do , the one he showed me appeared to be mild steel but who know's
I suppose like an anvil it would be better hard but could you get away with mild

sorry not such a sort question after all:)


fine and hot in Ipswich Australia 53f-92f and it's just into spring ,neeed rain , bad
   - Wayne - Monday, 09/22/03 10:16:53 EDT

Vice hieght

I'd like to chuck my 2 cents worth in .
As a fitter(in oz) we're taught to make our vices elbo hieght ,easier for fileing ,hacksawing ect. if posible.Not sure if the same rule would apply to leg vices , but .

Like anvils whats the right hieght for one person isn't nessasaryly? right for some one else , thats why we say elbo rather than a measurement in inch's (no ofence )

If your vertically challanged :) and had to file ect. on a tall vice you'd know what I mean

still need rain
   - Wayne - Monday, 09/22/03 10:35:16 EDT

Wayne; Welcome! You say you need rain? I think the Guru would be happy to send you some of his! Best regards, 3dogs
   - 3dogs - Monday, 09/22/03 11:38:53 EDT

Helmets Duco, Traditionaly helms are dished to start and then raised to finish. Dishing is kept at a minimum because it thins the metal. Raising thickens the metal.

Making halves to weld together avoids MOST of the raising but not all.

Raising is more difficult that dishing because you ar upsetting (thickening) the material by working out curves making them tighter. As you raise the object you create a distortion or hump along the edge of the raised zone. To work out the distortions you carefully hammer the high spots (from the outside). As the high spots push outward they upset the metal thickening it.

When raising if you strike too hard you can thin the metal and defeat your purpose OR create a wrinkle that is difficult to work out. It is quite an art and requires a lot of practice. It is easier on symetrical shapes but can be applied to parts such as your helmet halves. It is also easier to learn on non-ferrous metals than on steel.

See our Armoury article by Eric Thing on raising a Norman helm. Eric hot works the steel plate for the majority of the raising. Finishing is done cold. Eric does quite a bit of grinding but I have seen armourers that could produce a VERY smooth (near polished) surface by planishing alone.

Hot working can be replaced by annealing but you lose the advantage of a red heat. After hot working the metal is roughly annealed and may be worked cold.

If thinning the metal is not a concern (it should be starting with 16ga) then you can support the area to be stretched out farther over a deeper place in your dishing stump and work it with a large ball peen or dishing hammer. It may help to have an ovoid shape in your dishing stump. It helps to mark the zone that needs stretching with a marker. Then you can either work from the edges of the zone to the middle in concentric passes OR from the middle out. It depends on the current shape.

Thinning can also lead to tearing the steel. Depressions that are too deep in the dishing stump or swage block are also a common error. The depresions only need to be a a couple times larger then the hammer face and just a slightly smaller radius.

Working sheet or plate is one of those things that takes lots of practice and experiance in different situations. At some point you stop thinking about the process and just do the right thing for each situation.

Hope this helps. I looked at your photo and I am having a hard time visualizing the exact problem. But I think you need either a dishing pass in a band about half way up each half OR the shrink the lowere edges by raising.
   - guru - Monday, 09/22/03 12:31:36 EDT

For those with space challenges in the shop, as I have, consider wheels and swing away mounts. My welding table is mounted on a couple of implement wheels on one end. The other end is on legs, with a ring welded in the middle of the two legs to act as a fifth wheel. I have a tow bar with two little wheels that also has a hitch pin. Raise up the legs with the tow bar and I can roll the table anywhere, including out of the shop. I have my wire feed welder mounted on a swing arm, about 6' high, and about 5' long. This lets my swing the welder, with a 6' gun assy. around a 11 radius circle in my shop. I can also swing it totally out of the way. Its just mounted to a post that carries the roof. Used gate style hinges, and I have also mounted the same type pins, on the outside of my shop. I can quickly move my little 110v welder outside for those bigger jobs.
last but not least, a heavy duty square tube, set in concrete, outside the shop, with a reciever hitch type connection is planned for all the jigs for bending etc that require too much swing. When done pull the pin and bring the jig inside.
   - Jeff Reinhardt - Monday, 09/22/03 12:32:48 EDT

Vise Height:

I've seen illustrations in (I think) Hasluck showing leg vises at elbow height for filing. I have three mounted at Oakley Forge, the 4" highest, the 5" at elbow height and the 6", 100 lb. Columbian a few inches below that. This puts the fine work up high and heavy hammering down lower. Also, since I'm 6'1" it puts the larger vise at a more convenient height for my friends. My daughter actually ended up standing on blocks to do some file work on the light vise.

I also use a "portable" tripod rig on a much abused light leg vise for demonstrations and convenient angle grinding (see the Armoury page under "Addendum, Source and Tools").

If you have other folks using the shop, it would not hurt to plan for them, but if this is a solo act, work out what is most comfortable for yourself. Reaching up and/or bending over can get to you after a while.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 09/22/03 12:52:33 EDT

Paw-Paw, Thanks for looking up the dates on my Acme Anvils.

Frank Turley, Thanks for the info on beeswax, the old feller might have watched a farrier lubricating and cooling his pritchel, and thought that he was tempering a small chisel
   Crowsfoot - Monday, 09/22/03 13:10:22 EDT

Having been a jeweler for a while in a previous century, For those doing fine filing a jewelers type bench is very nice. It is set up to have the worker sit on a stool, with a wooden bench pin set in a semicircular cutout in the bench. The pin height is almost at eye level as you sit. For fine work, none better. For heavy filing, elbow height is best. A good task light over the vise, on a switch is also very helpful
   - Jeff Reinhardt - Monday, 09/22/03 13:12:24 EDT

Vise Height: Yes, for best use all equipment should be at YOUR best height. But be aware that some body proportional rules also fail sometimes. Some folks have proportionately longer arms and legs for their height than others. A rule that fits one person USUALY fits another but not always. You need to be aware of what suits YOU best. And then there are the complete exceptions. . .

I have a large Prentice 6" (152mm) vise mounted with the jaws at 49" (1245mm). This is about half way between elbow and shoulder height on me. It is on one of two 39" (990mm) high benches in my shop.

If I had THOUGHT about it I would not have mounted this vise that high. It breaks all the "rules". However, it is my favorite vise. It puts work up where it is easy to see. It is a comfortable height for bending and chiseling. It is a little high for using a wood plane but it is excellent for filing, drilling and most other hand tool operations.

It is NOT a suitable height for hot work or holding tools like stakes (which raise the work height even farther). But it is in my machine shop, not the forge.

I picked up a small wagon vise last fall and I am going to mount it on the side of my welding bench. It will be mounted to the side so that the jaws are the same height (no higher) than the top of the bench AND line up with the front edge so that long stock can be clamped. Having the vise the same height or lower than the work surface prevents it from being an obstruction.

I have a huge Prentice 9" vise that I am planning to mount on a base with dogs that fit my weld platten. There is no better anchor for such a big vise BUT the vise makes the platten less useful. So the base will be such that the vise is easily installed and removed from the platten (with the help of a hoist. . ).

When we were at the WV Armour-In last spring the host, Ted Banning, had put together a portable vise stand using a heavy tracked vehical wheel as a base and a piece of heavy H beam as a column. It had several vises mounted on it. The primary was a blacksmiths leg vise. Then there was a drill press vise mounted on the side. A series of holes had been drilled so that the side vise could be raised up and down. The side vise had a rotating base so it could clamp horizontal, vertical or anywhere inbetween. I think there was a third smaller vise but I cannot remember the details.

In this case various heights were covered using multiple vises on a single stand. Not everyone has this option. But eventualy you will find that when you have multiple tools you can use them in different ways.

A blacksmith can never have enough vises!
   - guru - Monday, 09/22/03 13:32:49 EDT

Thanks Luke, for the Info on instant rust. I´ll give it a try. Ina
   - Ina - Monday, 09/22/03 15:09:43 EDT

Thanks Luke, for the Info on instant rust. I´ll give it a try. Ina
   - Ina - Monday, 09/22/03 15:09:51 EDT

Guru is gonna mount that wagon vise on the side of his welding table, UNLESS I get to it while his back is turned. (VBG)
   Paw Paw - Monday, 09/22/03 16:42:01 EDT

Rust: I left a small jar of muriatic acid open on my bench. Overnight everything on the bench top developed a thick coat of rust!
   - adam - Monday, 09/22/03 17:05:17 EDT

Chlorine is the culprit from your hydrochloric acid. It gases off acid vapors and chlorine which has a affinity for metals. That is why Chlorox bleach is the #1 instant rust compound.

Never mix Chlorox with other chemicals, especially acids. Bleaches are generally strong alkalies (bases). When mixed with acid they break down into their primary components. You end up with a LOT of poisonous chlorine gas.
   - guru - Monday, 09/22/03 18:38:30 EDT

I am looking for a used workable condition 200 pound anvil All I have found so far are smaller shoeing anvils.
   - yoman - Monday, 09/22/03 20:54:49 EDT

I have a small coal forge and am looking to build a larger one. witch makes a better fire pot brick or cast iorn? Also do you no any good reliable suppliers of fire pots?
   - yoman - Monday, 09/22/03 20:57:41 EDT

Wayne, I never used a stall jack too much, but I think mild steel is OK. I think they were used on the flat track by platers. The first one I saw in the 60's had an equilateral trapezoid shape, maybe 3" on one parallel base and about 4½" on the other base. The overall length might have been 7". There were 8 edge-filed areas, vee-notches for opening aluminum plates (light shoes used on the track). The vee-notches were in sets opposite each other, making 4 areas to open or bend the shoe. I'm out of the shoeing loop, but nowadays some cold shoers bend steel "keg shoes" on the jack. I saw one shaped like a guitar with a big ol' radiused chamfer, especially in the waist area. It also had a hole in it for bending. Whether driven into the ground like a spike or whether they have a base, they are usually about knee high when in use.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 09/22/03 21:33:37 EDT

Yoman: Where are you located? Looking for an anvil here, you could get replies from Australia to Canada to South Africa. As far as firepots go, I bought a real nice one from Centaur Forge, one of our advertisers here. Click on the pull down window in the top right corner and look for out advertisers. And more on finding an anvil: Check with any local blacksmiths or blacksmith groups and ask them. That is usually going to be your best bet.
   Bob H - Tuesday, 09/23/03 08:39:51 EDT

Firepots: Yoman, Technicaly a brick forge is not a "firepot". Firepots are a part of a fabricated forge, usualy cast iron. Unless you have a lot of experiance with forges and forge design you should avoid building a permanent (expensive) brick forge. Forges are dead simple BUT than CAN be done wrong and not work well. Purchasing a commercial fire pot avoids a lot of possible errors. In fact, many people put cast iron firepots in brick forges.

Note that a fire pot is NOT a forge. It is a component. It needs a tuyeer (air pipe, gate, ash dump) and a pan or forge to hold extra coal and support the work.

A brick forge can have all the above built into it in masonary but as I mentioned there are details that need to be well understood. There are few in no details for building brick forges. However, the three book compilation "Practical Blacksmithing" by MT Richardson has numerous drawings of forges (exteriors).
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/23/03 10:37:33 EDT

THE BLACKSMITH, Ironworker & Farrier, ISBN0-393-32057-X has a complete chapter (Chapter 10) on how to build a masonry forge, complete with step by step drawings.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/23/03 10:45:08 EDT

Dang . . a book I need to add to my library. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/23/03 11:46:29 EDT

I was running around on E-bay and came across item 3243199865. It is a mousehole anvil with a dramatic slope from tail to nose. I have never seen an anvil with such an angle. Is there any purpose to having an anvil with such a slope?
   Monica - Tuesday, 09/23/03 12:14:03 EDT

Monica, I looked and it is definitely odd. So I called Richard Postman and he said what I thought, it is either a special OR just a screw up. But it definitly HAS a lot of slope. It is not unusual to find them with side to side slope but I've never seen one like this. You have to consider that they were hand forged with sledges in a factory situation and that you have your hungover Monday anvils and your tired and ready to go Friday anvils. . THEN you have your new-man anvils. I'd say this is a new-man on Friday anvil. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/23/03 13:15:13 EDT

Never saw one with that much slope before, Monica. Looks like a defect to me.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/23/03 13:16:10 EDT

I am 30 and interested in getting started in blacksmithing. One difficulty I forsee is my location. I live in a residential area dead center in Milwaukee, WI and I don't thing my neighbors would appreciate billowing clouds of coal smoke when I fire up the brake drum forge I am scrounging parts for. Does charcoal produce less smoke (or at least less noticible smoke) than coal?
   Frank - Tuesday, 09/23/03 14:05:53 EDT

Looks to me like it happened in the forge welding process. The face is straight and the base looks right. You can see the weld where the top and bottem were jointed, there seems to be a larger than usual(I think) overlap at the joint.

Very odd on any acount.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Tuesday, 09/23/03 14:06:12 EDT

Yes it does. At least the charcoal is less smokey and it also smells like a BBQ more or less.
Another possible option is using coke. That is basically what you are doing with a coal fire. The smoke etc is due to all of the volitiles burning off leaving coke behind. But if you can find coke most of the smoke is gone. But it will still smell a bit
   Ralph - Tuesday, 09/23/03 14:20:15 EDT

I have some close neighbors, and the ring of the anvil can be objectionable. There are a number of ways to quit an anvil, one I use is to place a large horseshoe magnet under the heel of the anvil. Another way to have good neighbors is to give them all small stuff like candle holders. Then they tend to buy in a bit. Pay attention to the time of day.
   - Jeff Reinhardt - Tuesday, 09/23/03 15:06:10 EDT

Frank; charcoal briquettes are lousy to forge with; but real chunk charcoal works well---it was what they used for the first 2000 years of the iron age y'ah know...

One thing with charcoal; it takes a *lot* less air so a hand crank blower or bellows or a foot switch and a damper for an electric blower is suggested. It burns fast by cubic; but actually produced similiar BTU's by weight.

Many charcoal forges have higher "side walls" to get a deeper fire---these can be made from creek clay and straw easily and cheaply.

My forge goes both ways and so I use some hard firebrick to re-configure for charcoal.

Charcoal does throw out more sparks and more heat onto your face/hands. It will also spread to the outer edges of the charcoal in the forge if not kept in line.

To tell the truth there are probably more forges burning charcoal inthe world today than burning coal---all the third world forges are generally charcoal and industrial forges are usually gas/oil/coke leaving a narrow margin of black boogered smiths to keep that coal smoke waving!

   Thomas Powers - Tuesday, 09/23/03 15:32:11 EDT

I have been reading this forum for a month or so now, and have seen the recommendation against briquettes. A local hardware store sells large bags of real chunk charcoal.
   Frank - Tuesday, 09/23/03 15:47:16 EDT

Frank, I am in the same situation you are in as far as location for a forge goes. While I would prefer a coal forge, my gas forge is quiet, smokeless, and odorless. A single burner, naturally aspirated gas forge will burn about 1 lb of propane an hour so a 20Lb bottle lasts several full days. You can build your own gas forge, too. Just something to consider.
   quenchcrack - Tuesday, 09/23/03 16:16:44 EDT

Anneal: I'm having trouble annealing M2. What is a method of doing it without a furnace, and preferably using my forge? I have tried burying it in vermicullite after heating it to the recommended annealing temperature, but it is still hard. Also what is an annealing box?
   - Tim - Tuesday, 09/23/03 16:20:48 EDT

How good is the Work Horse anvil I found details on old world anvils.com but they wern't concise. It is made in Germany and the czech republic.
   - yoman - Tuesday, 09/23/03 17:19:21 EDT

M2 is tricky stuff. I don't bother with it myself. Hardening, especially, is a booger-bear in a traditional coal forge setting, because you're right on the edge of melting the steel. I wouldn't know how to anneal without a furnace, because annealing requires a 1600-1650ºF(bright red, between bright cherry and orange) temperature, cooling at 40ºF per hour. Unless you're making cold-work cutting tools that work at speed and that require red hardness, I would forget about it.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 09/23/03 18:59:17 EDT

TIM: Over where I work, the annealing box is a big ol' box full of vermiculite with a lid on it.(grin) I imagine a more sophisticated unit would have provision for a more controlled temperature letdown.
   - 3dogs - Tuesday, 09/23/03 19:22:24 EDT

I have my grandfathers old anvil. It weighs 110 lbs. It has on one side PETER WRIGHT
1 0 6
Could you tell me where I could find out any history on this. I know it is pretty old.
Thanks, Rod Cook

   ROD COOK - Tuesday, 09/23/03 19:26:50 EDT


It was manufactured in Dudley, England. Take some pictures of it and send them to me via airmail, and I'll try to give you a date on it. I'm particularly interested in the appearance of the waist.

It weighed 118 ± 10% when it was manufactured.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/23/03 19:54:07 EDT

Yeoman, I recently bought a 170# German Pattern Anvil made in the Czech Republic and sold by Old World Anvils. I have been extremely pleased with it. Very good rebound, hard face with edges tempered soft enough to file down, no problems with surface imperfections. I give it a big thumbs up for a price in the $2.00 per lb range. You can buy very similar anvils, probably from the same foundry, from EuroAnvils for about the same price.
   quenchcrack - Tuesday, 09/23/03 20:25:05 EDT

Anealing M2
Tim...I agree with the venerable Mr. Turley M2 is a booger, but if you still want to mess with it...I watched a demo by bladesmith Rob Hudson and he heated two pieces of steel 3/4" X 1 1/2" and at least as long as your stock, to around 1600 t0 1700. He laid one in a bed of ashes, then placed the blade stock on the hot bar and placed the second hot bar on top...sort of a sandwich. Cover it with about 6" of hardwood ashes and leave it overnight. It will cool over night slowly. Now dont just run your hand in there and grab it the next morning, cause it may still be pretty warm. I have had good results with D2, A2 M2 and M4 using this method. Not very scientific or controled but it may anneal that M2 enough for your purposes.
   R Guess - Tuesday, 09/23/03 20:28:16 EDT

Annealing...I should have made it clear, of course the stock you are working with also has to be heated too.
   R Guess - Tuesday, 09/23/03 20:31:36 EDT

Yoman, please note that Euroanvils.net is an advertiser here and helps provide this forum and answers. So is Centaur forge and Kayne and Son who both also sell anvils.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/23/03 20:46:31 EDT

Third World Forge Fuel: Number ONE is charcoal, followed by raw hard wood and quickly sneaking up on number ONE is propane. Those ubiquitous little propane cylinders are found all over the globe. Many places are trying to wean the poor off burning dried dung (its unhealthy and having it in your food preparation area has obvious draw backs). Charcoal burning is also denuding the forests within any economic travel distance of many cities. The best substitute fuel cost and environmental wise is propane. On a small stove being as frugal as one would with scrounged firewood, dung or charcoal, you can cook for MONTHS on a 20# bottle.

Third world (and some European) forge builders ignore little details like regulators and fancy valves. A hose or copper tube is connected directly to the cylinder valve and is hooked to a pinched copper tube nozzel in a plumbing parts venturi assembly. Cheap, dirty and fast. It has some safety drawbacks but life is not perfect. Especialy when you are poor and live in primitive conditions. OR just want to get the job done.

I do not recommend these methods as I like to have a margin of safety and controlability. But they DO exist.

Between the growth of gas forges in the West and charcoal use due to coal being hard to obtain and considered to be polluting (by people that burn stacks of smouldering leaves in the fall and saturate their lawns with poisions), coal is quickly becoming the number 3 fuel used by smiths world wide.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/23/03 21:08:22 EDT

I have a propane forge that I built from the ABANA plans. This is the pipe style. If you can scrounge a bit, and can weld, this is a nice, large forge. Great for heating long bars. Drawback is it scales bad compared to coal. I have a pair of coal forges that i built from bits and pieces of old forges etc. I use the forge that best suits. For welding, or items with a lot of detail that would scale away I use the coal. Rougher stuff goes in the propane. For the really desparate, M.T. Richardson's Pratical Blacksmithing has sketchs of home built blowers. I have used squirel cage type blowers on coal, works but a pressure blower is much better.Tried charcoal, made my own, poor result for me, but i probably did it wrong.If you can find an old rivet forge with crank blower, this is a very good start on a small forge. Even if the pan or legs are shot, the cast iron tyuer and piping are hard to hurt. Just remount in any convient pan. A wheelbarrow pan will work as well as many other things.
   jeff reinhardt - Tuesday, 09/23/03 21:36:56 EDT

I would like to formally apologize for the posting under my nickname and email address on Thursday, 09/18/03 00:01:00 EDT. I have been caring my nephew whom I have been taking care of on the request of my brother (the boy is quite the discipline problem). It seems he was upset about the fact I took away his turkey hunting privileges this fall as he was shooting in the yard at some targets.
The only issue with this is that at the angle he was shooting he could have hit some houses. I take gun safety very seriously and if he was going to take firearms out of the house without my permission and supervision, he didn’t deserve the privilege of hunting this season.
This made him rather upset and he decided to begin posting things from my PC under my email address's, nicknames and accounts. The posting here was not nearly so bad as the ones that had me banned from some forums I have enjoyed (those bans have since been lifted). And I have had the distinct honor of apologizing for racially charged slurs, apologizing to my boss for having pornographic email sent to his wife, and other extremes of poor adolescent behaviors.
I don’t believe anyone here received any of these emails (thank god) but if you did please accept my apologies.
I have since taken steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Id post more but don’t want to clog the whole list, so ill just post responses
Guru on ebay - cant disagree with you on anything, some people are honest, some aren’t. On starter kit… Not too far off from what I'm using to make x-mas gifts. On the anvil in the posting… he was telling a tall tail, but that doesn’t justify the response of my now severely grounded nephew.
Tgold - your right, it does look like a nice farriers anvil, if I was into horses (not till the infant gets older and her uncle buys her a horse) I would probably bid on it till I got it.
   Sentonal - Tuesday, 09/23/03 23:32:28 EDT

To reduce or eliminate scaling in a propane forge, particularly when welding, I toss in a few chunks of charcoal (real) to provide a reducing atmosphere. Extra gas will do the same thing, but may reduce the heat below the welding temperature. The charcoal provides the carbon-rich atmosphere and leaves only fly ash as residue.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 09/23/03 23:36:17 EDT

Another NEW Guru:

I would like to welcome Thomas Powers (forge fire orange) as the newest member of the guru's color guard.

Thomas has been a long and constant contributor and has often corrected me on a point of techno-history. He is very well read in the history of metalwork and related subjects.
Besides being a medievalist and blacksmith he is also a software engineer (computer programmer).

This odd combination makes sense when you inderstand that students of technology find all technology old and new interesting and worth understanding. WE want to know how we got here. What steps are required to go from making fire with sticks and pounding native metal between rocks to the age of space travel and instantaneous global communication?

Many of those steps involve the blacksmith technologist.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/24/03 01:41:45 EDT

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