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 24 - 30, 2003 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

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

Close neighbors.

I find that my neighbors like my Fisher anvils as much as I do. Wonerfull rebound without the ear piercing ring. As for smoke, I ususally use my propane forge, so as to not stress their tollerances too far. Coal forge is for occasional use only, for me.
   Monica - Wednesday, 09/24/03 00:37:05 EDT

Sentonal, I will remove your name and some of the wording from the posting which just happened to end up being the first for this week and at the top of the list.

When people forge someone else's name or use their login on forums of this type it is very embarassing and a serious problem. We have only had one person post in my name on anvilfire and the cretin recieved so much hate mail from others in my defense when the fraud was exposed that he has not been heard from on any blacksmithing forum since.

We have had just a few flamers and graffiti artists over the past 5 years. After deleting their messages I usualy reverse their DNS address and post the fact that I know where they live and post from. They usualy get the point and go elsewhere.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/24/03 01:07:46 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

I'm working with a buddy who is making goose calls and doing quite well. he seems to have the established call makers quite apprehensive when they hear how his product sounds. (loudness counts) It seems the competition is using injection molded pvc for their resonance chamber, he's using machined acrylic on his product. i wondered why most every winded musical instrument is made from brass? is there a special resonant quality from brass? he's made a new prototype resonant chamber from 6061-t6 aluminum, and it's a lot louder than the acrylic. If hes jumps to brass would it be louder yet? what about machined brass versus spun brass?
thanks in advance,
   - mike-hr - Wednesday, 09/24/03 03:13:10 EDT

Gentlemen, I have been reconditioning a old Nazel 2B s/n 480 bought 3 years ago for $2200 AUD (about $1100 USD) It had been damaged because the new owner had it picked up by a crane and someone thought having two slings with one around the axle was a good idea, it wasnt.To make matters worse, he didnt notice that the axle had been bent, so as you may have already guessed,large flywheel travelling in a eliptical motion, goodbye motor.He then decided to sell it.All damage is now repaired and nearing completion,but I have no idea of what type of oiling system to use. Should I keep using ring oilers on the axle and where are the lube points for the ram and compressor Hope you can help unseasonal 32c in beautiful Tamworth N.S.W Australia p.s would anyone know when s/n 480 was made
   nick mchugh - Wednesday, 09/24/03 07:55:47 EDT

Sound Production: Mike, density and weight have a lot to do with sound production but so does surface finish and very minor tollerances.

First, note that flutes, clarinets and others are actualy a woodwind instrument but have been made of plated steel, brass, silver, gold, crystal and plastic. They were originaly hardwood and are still ocassionaly made of ebony and rosewood. Sound quality DOES vary. But it is a lot like wine tasting, good wine may have a slight taste of the oak barrel but an equally good wine may not. On the other hand you can have a tinny taste as well as a tinny sound.

The "low brasses" (most horns, tuba etc) have always been made of brass. One reason is that it is still the most efficient material to create the necessary shapes, fabricate and assemble. All these instuments use long taper drawn tubing (don't ask me how).

The resonant frequency of the specific sound chamber and its mass as well as the density of the material must ALL be balance. Minor changes in the size of the sound chamber or resonant air column can balance wall material changes to a degree. However, material hardness also has a effect.

In most air-column resonant devices (flutes, organ pipes) the mass of the enclosing tube has a slight but distinct effect. Normal calculations are made based on nothing except the air column. By making the wall thickness of a less dense material thicker so that it equals a heavier substance you can achieve nearly the same effect. However, hardness is also a key aspect in resonance.

The number of variables and their effects are so complicated that it is usualy impossible to determine results by theory alone. It best to do trial and error testing.

In the manufacture of inexpensive instruments for schools the musical instument manufactures have made great advances in material use. Plastics replace wood and metal in many cases. However, size changes and ribbing are often needed to get the same effect out of plastic as a wood box. Most low cost woodwinds are made of a dense black plastic that is VERY similar to ebony (except in resonance). A couple generations ago they were made of plated steel. The new ones are much better but they still do not have the tonal quality of the real wood.

The grade of aluminium mentioned is both light and hard. This is a combination that makes for good resonance and sound producing qualities. It MAY just happen to be the best material for this application.

My only concern about metal duck calls would be the likelyhood of someones lips getting frozen to it. Wood and plastics with their low rate of heat conductivity warm to the touch and do not conduct heat away like metal.

Ask your friend if he ever heard of a "Lost John" Turkey call. GREAT device (and quite loud). Made of redwood I think.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/24/03 10:08:09 EDT

Nazel Hammers: Nick, Your best bet would be Bruce Wallace. He owns what is left of the Nazel Company and has most of their records that were not destroyed.

These machines came with a pump oiler that ran off a very small round leather "sewing machine" belt. The pump sent oil to the compressor and the power cylinder. Oil in the compressor dripped through the piston to the wrist (gudgeon) pin and then down to the crank throw. These pumps are still made but are quite expensive.

Some of the earlier Nazel machines were fitted with numerous drip oilers with glass resovoirs.

I would guess you have a WWI era machine.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/24/03 10:29:19 EDT

I am being spammed by another Chinese company. Anyone else get mail from "llcxx425@aodunet.com" about Oxy-Gasoline Torches?
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/24/03 10:36:38 EDT

Guru, I am 13, I cannot spend a whole lot of money and I have very limited access to supplies that are not at the local hardware store. How can I make a forge that will get iron red hot.
   Jeff Rozelle - Wednesday, 09/24/03 10:58:27 EDT

Jeff, look in teh "Getting Started" area. Also look in the plans section. And read the archieves. Everything you ask has been said in those areas. After reading all this look around all of this site. Read the stuff folks post. Also consider using the Slack Tub as it is real time.
We wish to welcome you. And to say that lack of funds IS NOT a good excuse to not smith. If you are serious we will help with ideas etc. As we are here to help promote smithing and other work. Welcome.

Oh yeah, try to find a local smithing group and talk with them as well. You will learn a lot from that as well. Including learning where the tools and other stuff might be found at a reasonalble cost.
   Ralph - Wednesday, 09/24/03 11:08:52 EDT

Guru, not yet spammed by them.
   Ralph - Wednesday, 09/24/03 11:11:54 EDT

Welcome Thomas of the Orange....(grin)

Glad to see you are in the rarified crowd.

   Ralph - Wednesday, 09/24/03 11:13:10 EDT

Lets see if this works...

After a hard day herding bits I find it very theraputic to come home and smite something with a hammer, my wife kids, dog, etc are very happy it's hot metal...

I'm involved with several medieval/LH groups, arch-metals, Society of Industrial Archeology.

I'm a bibliophile and have an interesting library (last two books were "Irons in the Fire" Field, a history of cooking equipment; and "Savouring the Past" french cooking from 1300-1789, (sitting next to various volumes of the ASM Metal's handbook...)

I have been smithing since around 1980, have some small reputation for scrounging and have just about filled my "shop" till a gas forge won't run because it doesn't have enough vent space.

(BTW gas forges and scaling: A "blown" gas forge is very good about adjustment for scaling; I can go from *LESS* scaling than with coal to scaling so heavy I use it for a texture on certain ornamental pieces. The aspirated forges are not as easily tweaked as they require a certain "loosness" in air supply to work; but a well designed aspirated burner is greatly superior to a poorly designed one in getting to a neutral atmosphere---many pro pattern welders use aspirated forges to weld in.)

Gotta go

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 09/24/03 11:23:23 EDT


Hmmpph! Tis indeed a shame that he couldna choose a kelly green! None the less welcome, ye Sasenach!
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 09/24/03 12:12:02 EDT

Three cheers for Mr. Powers! Another "Big Gun" stepping up to the plate. Am I mixing metaphors here? Oh well, things just keep getting better 'round here.

Forge fire orange, nice, very nice.
   Gronk - Wednesday, 09/24/03 12:24:03 EDT

I am using a big roll forming former machine to fabricate "U" shaped parts, from 3/16" to .5" thick AR plates of steel, I want a certain size but never can get it right, it comes out longer than what I want, How can I calculate from a formed sketch (drawing) what my flat sheet will be? I tried looking for months now, if you can help please. Thank you
   Adrienne - Wednesday, 09/24/03 12:42:19 EDT

Paw Paw; being president of a Y1K Irish Living History Group and being involved with the local irish community; I would prefer folks don't associate my "fire colour" with William of Orange. A good green was already taken, "Grampa Meier"

I wanted my "tool colour" but light blue is a forbidden colour; thought of iron gray; but gray on gray doesn't work so well.

So I'm half way between Bill and Atli and it that means you want to talk dirty about me so be it!

Packing for quad-state, just loaded the last of the "Hammers, Boilermakers Riviting, Ballpane, 3# 8oz quantity 8" marked with the british broad arrow and stamped with WWII dates, sad to see them go, anyone going to Q-S and want to give one a good home give a yell and I'll put one back for you; least till Saturday noon...

Thomas Powers (a good irish name much known around County Waterford as Mr Wilson should know!)
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 09/24/03 13:44:50 EDT

Gotcha! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 09/24/03 14:13:33 EDT

Bends: Adrienne, The general rule of thumb for large radius bends is to allow 1/4 thickness of the plate per 90° of bend. If you want exact figures look in MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK under "bending allowance". They have tables up to 5/16" for various radiuses. You can scale up the numbers for any thickness plate.

If you have bent samples then you should have your answer. Add or subtract the error from the original plate dimension and it will be perfect next time. Any time complicated bends are being made it is cheaper, easier and more accurate to make a sample and correct the difference.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/24/03 14:15:25 EDT

Backing? Gee can I start now. . .?
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/24/03 14:26:56 EDT

Thank you Guru!
   Adrienne - Wednesday, 09/24/03 14:32:18 EDT

My name is Olof Berner, and I am currently enrolled in Carnegie Mellon School of Design. I am in a class called "Human Expericence in Design", in which we look at how people interact with products. I am working on a paper that will look at the relationship between the blacksmith and the hammer. Having done some metalwork myself, I have a pretty good basis on which to go, but I would like a few expert opinions. If you could (and maby some of your assistants) would please answer the following questions about your experiences with the hammer. Any feed back would be welcome.

These questions are intentionally vague simply because I am looking for the first idea that comes to your mind. This should only take a few moments.

1) What is your first memory of the objects?
2) How did you first learn to use them?
3) Do you have any thoughts on the tools from a ergonomic stance?
4) Do you have any problems with the inherit design of the tools?
5) Do you have any mental associations, fond or bad memory linked to the objects?
6)Does your background, training, or expericence change your ideas on the objects, or the actual design of the objects themselves?
7)What is the greatest advantage with your specific tools you work with? Or, why do you use the hammers you do?
8)The greatest drawback?

Thanks again.

Olof Berner
Carnegie Mellon University
   Olof Berner - Wednesday, 09/24/03 15:04:09 EDT

Thomas Powers, Welcome from another one with an Irish surname.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 09/24/03 15:10:46 EDT

I was wondering about soft smithing brass, copper, bronze and metals like them.
Also this is one of the best and most informative smithing web sites I have been to. thanks
   Mr. Mann - Wednesday, 09/24/03 15:25:14 EDT

so how does this work do yall post the answer on this message board or what???
an E-mail mabye??
   - Mr. Mann - Wednesday, 09/24/03 15:27:35 EDT

I am from the south by the by
   - Mr. Mann - Wednesday, 09/24/03 15:33:21 EDT

Mr. Mann,

Check back in a couple of hours, and the guru will have answered your message right here.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 09/24/03 16:24:09 EDT

Scaling in gas forges -- I have a naturally aspirated forge. I added a needle valve downstream of the regulator, and a piece of tube from it to the bell at the top of the burner. I can now adjust the mixture by cracking the needle valve to add more gas, just like you would in a blown forge. Does the same thing as vicopper's charcoal, but I think it's cleaner and more controlable. Haven't noticed a reduction in heat (unless I get carried away adding extra gas), but have no way of measuring for sure.
   Mike B - Wednesday, 09/24/03 17:19:52 EDT

Jeff Rozele
look at garage sales and farm sales you wil need a fire pot perferbly made of cast iorn, Also so to get the fire hot you will need a blower of some sort. Powering the blower by a hand crank is your best bet. Do not use a powerful moter on the blower it wil damage the metal you are working on I am 14 and am also interested in blacksmithing Look at the (guru's first forge made from real junk) it is on anvil fire. also check your public library for books on blaksmithing
   - yoman - Wednesday, 09/24/03 17:46:40 EDT

Thomas, Welcome aboard! I regret having been the culprit who took possesion of the Kelly Green. It was a default color as I originally wanted a MacGregor Tartan.

Mike B: could you send me a sketch of your needle-valve modifications? I would really like to have more control over the mixture in my gasser.

Olof, those questions are bordering on the metaphysical. However, my answers:
1. Pounding nails in a wooded stool at my grandfathers house.
2. I kept pounding nails in that wooden stool. It is now an iron stool.
3. Yes, but don't ask me to articulate. I know a comfortable hammer when I swing it.
4. Only Chinese made hammers.
5. Yes, want to see my thumb?
6. ?
7. My favorite hammers were made by a professional smith who knows what constitutes a good hammer.
8. Good tools are expensive.
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 09/24/03 18:09:37 EDT

Design Poll:

1) I remember many things clearly from when I was about 3 but more a age 4 on and less in recent years.

2) I was using tools when I was 3 or 4. There was an "incident" with a cherry table and an electric drill at age 3. I still have the REAL tools I was given at age 4. SEE our hammer-in about tools and children.

3) There is a proper posture for using ALL tools but then there is also the need to be able to work standing on your head while balancing a small nut on one finger and rotating it with another on the same hand. Newbies tend to be tentitive and try to use the anvil at arms length. They should be stand over the anvil taking posession of it. The same applies to to many other professions.

4) Modern tool designers often think they can do better than thousands of years of natural development. They are wrong. Stylists of ANYTHING that chose their design over tradition or engineered egonomics or ignore the end user are fools hated by everyone. EXAMPLE: Most first year automobile designs are comfortable and well designed by engineers. The stylists that make changes year after year without going back to the ORIGINAL engineered ergonimic layout ruin the vehical design and eventualy they are replaced by a NEW properly designed model. My 1986 Dodge mini-van was a perfectly comfortable vehical. The 1987 and later models with electric seats lost a couple critical inches that let you sit up straight and drive. . . bad design decision. Every year afterward it has gotten worse and worse. Sloping windshields reducing headroom, sloping curved sides doing the same and reducing shoulder room.

5) Objects are just things. I miss things when I lose them and I like good things. I have no patience for bad (cheap poorly made). If a tool is junk or faulty it is in the trash bin faster than you can blink (new used, bought found or gifted). I also apply the same to software, electronic hardware and many other things.

6) Yes

7) Simplicity and standard design (I use off the shelf standard hammers). I've used so many hammers during my life that ANY properly made STANDARD hammer feels right. Specials with odd shaped heads and handles take time to adjust to that I do not have. Life is short.

8) The greatest drawback in life is answering poorly formulated questions. Ask the wrong question and you will get the wrong answer OR lose the respect of the person queried.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/24/03 19:28:49 EDT

Forging Non-Ferrous Metals: Mr.Mann, almost all metals are forgeable. Copper and almost all of its alloys are very forgable. The problem is judging the heat. Most forges will make a liquid puddle out of copper alloys. They are forged at a temperature that just barely glows red in very lor light. You cannot see the heat color in normal shop lighting. So a temperature controlled furnace is needed if you are going to do any volume of forging.

When hot forging copper alloys by hand you typicaly go from hot forging to cold forging the now annealed metal.

I forge brass by heating it with a torch. When the surface blushes slightly tan and flat instead of yellow and shiney it is hot enough. However, once forged the surface is black and dark and the color change is impossible to see. So it only works once. After that it is seat of the pants guess work.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/24/03 19:37:55 EDT

Signing OFF: It's late and I have yet to pack and get organized for tomarrow's trip. I may be in contact from SOFA if my sad old laptop will connect.

   - guru - Wednesday, 09/24/03 19:44:17 EDT

Controlling scale:
In my naturally aspirated propane forge, I choke off the air intake to keep scale down. My choke is just a piece of sheet metal that swings across the intake. For me, adding more gas just seems to pull in more air. I suppose if the intake were smaller, that would be different.

I've gotten to where I can adjust by sound. When I hit the too-much-air spot, there's a definite roar in the flame. At that spot, I can see the little scale spots breaking out on the steel's surface.
   MarcG - Wednesday, 09/24/03 20:03:10 EDT

Marc, I have a blown pipe forge that tends to scale. I have a throttle on the blower intake, and its undersized.I have not been able to find a sweet spot of gas flow vs air that approaches the coal forge. still trying. I have been thinking of a natural aspirated forge for demo work, got any suggestions as to a good burner? I see many designs, just wonder about which has been proven. Would like to use an old grill propane bottle for the body maybe.
   jeff reinhardt - Wednesday, 09/24/03 21:00:57 EDT

Excellent burner design here:
I modified mine, using a 6"-long pipe for the body and a 3/4" to 1" reducer for the nozzle. Makes it easier and simpler but you DO need to take off the galvanizing on the nozzle before using the burner. I also skipped the 9/16" drill bit; instead, I ground grooves in the pipe nipple and the gas injection tube sits in them on top of the lip of the large reducer. Pics are coming, I swear! (grin) Personally, I think my adaptation of John Wasser's adaptation of Ron Reil's design has gone through enough engineers for it to be the simplest danged naturally-aspirated propane burner on the Net, bar none. I am going to make a design-and-construction page to link people to for this soon. Maybe the Guru will host it.

Heading to the scrapyard to see what I can find in Honolulu, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Wednesday, 09/24/03 21:53:07 EDT


1)Dad's claw hammer and magnetic tack hammer in the basement.
2)Dad showing how.
3)Feet next to each other, but aware of weight change; loose, relaxed grip.
4)No, but I wonder about efficiency, if the haft went in at a different angle.
5)Fond, similar to chopping wood with dad. We used to have chopping through log contests.
6)see 4.
7)I have a small "arsenal" of hammers; I consider their weight, head shape (including aesthetics), and end use.
8)The concussion is hard on the body over time, usually the shoulder, elbow, and wrist areas.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 09/24/03 22:31:00 EDT

Is a needle scaler good for removing scale and oxides in preparation for painting? I don't have one and would like to know if it works before buying one. I have a sand blaster, but it is a pain to set up for a few small pieces.
   Roger - Thursday, 09/25/03 08:08:59 EDT


re position at anvil - you said i should stand over anvil and take possession. I just have one quick comment. she who stands over anvil and hits and misses gets hammer in head.

   banjo - Thursday, 09/25/03 08:15:06 EDT

Good Morning,
I know I am not a guru of any kind especcially in regards to smithing, but in looking around at different websites addressing forge stands, nobody has suggested a cross section of a weeping elm (i.e. no splitting). These trees are venerable sponges that take about twenty years to air dry. I have seen neumatic splitting mauls bind when trying to split the crotch. The tree should be free to any, they are all dead from the dutch elm disease. I could be wrong but it seems to me this species would make an excellent anvil stand. (if you try it look for the primary crotch of the tree use the cross section, the grain will be a huge ball of twisted fibers. Never rip cut this wood you will injure yourself or any saw you use) Just a humble suggestion, good luck
   jon - Thursday, 09/25/03 08:21:25 EDT


Being a "guru" doesn't mean that we're always right, and it also doesn't mean that other folks can't chime in with other information. Your comments about a crotch section of an elm tree are good information. All I can add is that even an elm section can benefit from being banded.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 09/25/03 09:18:27 EDT

do you know i could get some charcoal? i live in the lower mainland of BC. do you know of any places there?
thank you
emin muil
   emin muil - Thursday, 09/25/03 09:22:36 EDT


Try a resturant supply house. They frequently have some.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 09/25/03 09:23:36 EDT

Thomas "the Orange":

So, do you think you can make Hastings? And do you think that we might exceed a critical mass of sub-gurus?
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli "the Red") - Thursday, 09/25/03 09:58:50 EDT

ROGER; A needle scaler such as the one welders use to chip their welds will take off heavy paint, scale and some heavy rust, however, it can also put a texture on the surface that you may or may not want. A good, inexpensive way to find out is to try Harbor Freight; they have a needle gun attachment that screws right on the end of one of those air chisels where the retainer spring normally goes. So you can get the air chisel for $8 tops, and the needle attachment for $15. I caught mine on sale for $7.50. I've been chipping welds with mine for about 2 years, so I figure I'm ahead of the game, anyway. You can keep air tools alive a long time if you filter the air and keep them oiled.
   - 3dogs - Thursday, 09/25/03 10:08:59 EDT

Haveing been responsible for the overall lifeetc of an assembly dept. using inpact guns drills etc. all pnuematic, I can offer some experience for the long life of the equipment as well as the cleanleness of the shop and your lungs. Many squirt oil into the inlet of the air motor. Way too much oil all at once, and then its gone. Gone as in the air, on the tool and on you. Some buy the harbor freight style in the port oilers. Sometimes they work, but they usually spray oil droplets out the exhaust when they work. Again not good for you. The best solution that I found is a airline oiler purchased from a pnuematics supplier. ALL air tools should be supplied clean dry, regulated air.A filter first then a regulator, and then an oiler. The best oilers emit a micron sized droplet. These ultra small droplets will go many feet thru a hose, and not condense on the hose wall. This means that the oil ends up in the device. This also means that the mist is very inhalable. These oilers do have a sight glass to regulate the oil rate. The rate is adjusted rate is set in drops per minute and should be about 3 drops/ minute for a 1/4" inlet tool. A typical brand is PARKER, MICRO MIST STYLE.There are several brands, but you want the micron sized drops.There are many patent medicine type air tool oils, I did not find any that offered any advantage over a generic light oil. In fact some I tried degraded the hoses and seals in the tools. We used light hydraulic oil, and had exceptional sucess. If you hold a clean sheet of white paper near the tool exhaust, you should see a couple of tiny spots after 15 seconds. any more and yuo are over oiling.
   - Jeff Reinhardt - Thursday, 09/25/03 12:36:19 EDT

Just obtained a Peter Wright anvil
weight is 0-2-25 for 81#

I have two markings that I am not sure of the meaning

a "B" centered on the bottom side under the weight markings
and "EE" on the right front foot "facing the horn" does your anvils in america make any mention of a leter code for dating Peter Wright anvils?
   Mark P - Thursday, 09/25/03 12:41:39 EDT

Jeff; A couple of drops before every use has always been sufficient for me, and then a few revs with a rag at the exhaust port so's I don't get a snoot full. Too many people who should know better pour oil into the tool like they were trying to fuel it up. (Ye shall know them by their shiny faces.) My air setup has a dryer/regulator/oiler configuration for air tools, and a separate dryer/ regulator unit for painting and sandblasting. Marvel Mystery air tool oil or even ATF seem to work pretty well in the tools. Thanks for your input. Best regards. 3dogs (Ya coming to Quad State?)
   - 3dogs - Thursday, 09/25/03 13:31:19 EDT

Thomas: Congrats; Just in time for Samhain!

Even the Irish used Orange a bit before any of Williams folks got there.

   Escher - Thursday, 09/25/03 13:43:20 EDT

Jeff; I failed to differentiate between my shop and my place of employment. At work, all I can do is put a few drops in the tool. The very old air lines at the plant don't have any provision to do otherwise. I'm not using my personal air tools there, either.
   - 3dogs - Thursday, 09/25/03 13:47:48 EDT


With reference to marks on the front of the foot, Mr. Postman says that he doesn't know for sure what they are, but they are PROBABLY inspector's marks of some kind. He mentions a several marks that sometimes appear, Numbers, Letters, Astericks, Roman numerals, and Anchors.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 09/25/03 16:56:13 EDT

PPW thanks was just wondering if I could date it by thoose marks ...just went and looked at my other PW it has an "S T" on the same foot it also has what I assume to be a serial # under the weight markings? thanks for looking for me
   Mark P - Thursday, 09/25/03 18:08:09 EDT


Well, there are a couple of other clues that will help to date it, at least to a range. Does the top have more than one piece of tool steel in the face? If yes, it was made before 1885. If no, then it was made after 1885. Does the word England appear on the same side with the trademark? If no, the anvil was made before 1910. If yes, the anvil was made after 1910.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 09/25/03 18:29:29 EDT

Marvel mystery oil is one of the oils that I tested, back in the 80's when i worked in a r & d test lab for a major pnuematic component mfg. The marvel oil would swell o-rings, strip paint, and attack paint. Its was used a lot in the oil fields to free up components stuck with crude. It would indeed free up the stuck component, but the device was soon on its way to repair for new seals. In the 90's I was responsible for a big compond of buildings with about 2700 hp of compressors. The previous super had switched to phosphate ester compressor oil. This went through the air lines and eat up the high quality hoses, seals, and crazed the plastic filter bowls across a 53 acre compond.Moral choose carefully. At the last plant I had the compressors I ran a PAO oil. this is somwhat similar to mobil 1 and a polyglycol oil. These oils ran about $35/gallon, but were great in the compressor and did not degrade the rubber downstream. Straight hydraulic oil is cheap, available and does not hurt the seals. By the way ATF is a high grade hydraulic oil. Hope this helps someone not destroy thier hoses etc. By the way NEVER use PVC piping for compressed air. The oils make it brittle and as it ages it tends to shatter/explode.
   jeff reinhardt - Thursday, 09/25/03 19:11:17 EDT


Thank you for the info... the smaller one 81# has England on the same side as the trade mark...the bigger one 94# does not have England on any side but under the trade mark are the numbers "6678" ...the bigger one I bought a year ago at a farm sale for $90(Canadian) it is excellant shape with no dings or chips the corners have been rounded by some one who knew what they where doing sarting with about a 3/8" at the horn and tapering down to 1/4" by the hardie hole leaving square edges round the heel... the one I picked up today needs some t.l.c the face is in good shape but for one drill divot about 2/3 the way from the horn and there are some chips taken from the edges...but I only payed $70(Canadian) for it.
again thhank you for the info
   Mark P - Thursday, 09/25/03 20:16:24 EDT

Can't make it to quad state, have family of 4, three teenagers and one wannabe. I manage to make the indiana conference and the Ky conference, and WILL make Richmond next summer. Otherwise am working minimum of 50 hours and somtimes 70plus in the factory. Cuts into the funtimes. Would love to get to quad state. maybe in a few years, when I have lots of kiddos in college and am poor, but with time.
   jeff reinhardt - Thursday, 09/25/03 20:19:25 EDT

Olof: The questions you asked were obvious to you, but translation rendered them less than clear to us. At age 76 I am trying to learn German and I can make myself understood, but I remember my first attempt to speak the language in Salzburg and the little old lady I spoke to started laughing. Your list indicated to me what you were asking, but the individual questions were not accurately worded. BUT, you get a high grade for trying! Certainly better than my German would.
   - JOHN M. - Thursday, 09/25/03 20:50:26 EDT

Reporting From SOFA, Troy, OH: Tools, Tools, Tools, Tools. . . .

Need a wagon vise? There are at least 6 here in good condition. . . Anvils? Hundreds and its THURSDAY! You name it, its here, some good deals some OK. . .

More after dinner!
   - guru - Thursday, 09/25/03 20:52:29 EDT

A few of us PABA members (Penn. Artists)are getting together and work on making BOX JOINTS. Can you suggest a video, pamphlet,or
series of sketches that would be helpfull?
   Jon Lee - Thursday, 09/25/03 20:58:08 EDT


How much is the cheapest wagon vise????
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 09/25/03 21:13:51 EDT

Olof: Now specific answers to what I think some of your questions were. In all of these I assume that your word "objects" refers to "tools".
1.First memory of tools was being given a hammer, nails and a block of wood by an Aunt who had to baby-sit with me and wanted to do other things. I was fascinated by the ability to drive nails into the wood. I was about 2 1/2 years old.
2. At that age I learned by trying over and over to drive the nail. That is not the way I try to learn to do something today.
5. Bad memories linked to tools almost always come from purchasing poor quality. Good memories linked to tools come from finding a good tool at a really good price. Sometimes this amounts to theft. I hope that translates.
6. Use of a tool will generally make me want to modify it in some way, or even find out how it should properly be used.
7. I use the hammer that I do because I think it is the one that will best do the job, then I change to another if I feel it is not doing the job correctly.

The other questions are so general as to be unanswerable.

Lotsaluck (translates into "I wish you well")
   - JOHN M. - Thursday, 09/25/03 21:14:27 EDT

Jeff, my first burner was a standard Reil-type. Nothing fancy and I am able to weld with it. For some reason it started acting up, not getting enough air. So I added a blower, but had to run it slow, as I didn't change any other parameters, so it still was basically an aspirated type. The blower made the burner run even hotter. The whole sordid story is on my website, http://ironringforge.com

My new forge is about 95% done. I need to add the second burner, but it's quite usable now. It's got a roof made out of a 30lb propane tank cut in half lengthwise and butt-welded to make an 18" half-pipe. I've got early details on my site, but need to fill in the rest.

The burner is now a side-arm style, using a 1 1/4" cross fitting. The gas comes in one end through a hole in a plug, and a 1 1/4" to 1" bushing to my 1" mixer tube (a 90* sweep of rigid conduit) on the other end. I haven't tried welding, yet, but it looks plenty hot enough. I need to add a choke here, too, as it's scaling too much.

I really need to work on my site updates. But it's just too much fun in the shop.

   MarcG - Thursday, 09/25/03 22:17:44 EDT

Thomas the Orange is here at SOFA Quad State. I'll convey your messages.

Wagon Vises were selling for $100 to $125 there are serveral types. Wagon and steel frame military cassion. The difference is between fitting one size and two differently.

   - guru - Thursday, 09/25/03 22:28:30 EDT

Standing over the anvil... generally distance from smith to anvil (for me, when I'm comfortable hammer, and so on) is such that I can, or very nearly can contact the horn or heel with one thigh. Even if I'm standing off to the side I have one foot almost touching the anvil stand and my legs and torso are in or on the circle where the anvil is a diameter. That way I'm standing up straight, not leaning over. Leaning over for very long makes the back complain, usually the next morning. Also, in this position, I can hold the stock with my elbows in close to my body and everything braced against other parts so the stock is under control, not jumping or sliding around. I find the metal moves best this way and I can keep it up all afternoon without being tired. Back and shoulders don't hurt, and it all feels like pleasant exercise, not hard work.

I remember myself when I started and see beginners now who are having trouble. It looks like they're trying to stay as far from the glowing metal as possible, and that puts them off at a range where they really can't do much more than tap the anvil. I think of a lot of contact sports - wrestling, martial arts, American football - where you don't try to handle the opponent by keeping him at long distance, you get right up close where you can bring lots of force to bear and make him move the way you want.

   Steve A - Thursday, 09/25/03 22:29:56 EDT


See if you can get one of the military ones down so Sheri won't kill me over the price.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 09/25/03 22:36:33 EDT

Mind if I throw out some answers too?... (btw, great thought-provoking questions..):

1) My sister getting up from the table at snack time (I was three, she was four), and picking up the hammer mom was using to hang a picture and calmly walking over to the T.V., and smashing the tube!
2)8-ish years old...Trying to fix something for mom, bending every nail! Neighbor suggested that I strike the nail more evenly on the head (which resulted in more of a whacking than a pounding and thus greater effeiciency... not that I thought about it then...)... but started me thinking about exactly what I was doing instead of what I thought I should be doing...
3)Better than using your bare hands, easier than using mind powers alone, I like thicker handles, wide in the middle to let "rock" in your hand (which is easier on your forearm)
4)Hm... I learned to use it as it is and all the fancy "improvements" just means that I have to relearn something I already know....
5)Fond memory= making my first hammer!... (mostly balanced...ahem...) Bad memory= overpaying at the lumber store for my framing hammer (walmart was $10 cheaper)
6)People tend to do well with what they learned to do well with(some say "Use that 2lb ballpien because you can get more hits in..." I say "Use that 4lb crosspien and get it done in 1 heat!..."
7)Framing hammers are great to frame with but stink for blacksmithing... my four pound crosspien totally rocks for pushing around hot metal, but I wouldn't dare risk even the thought of marring the surface by driving a nail with it!
8)During demolition - with the 8lb sledge.... (get it? "...greatest 'drawback'..."

ok, I'm done.
   Rodriguez - Thursday, 09/25/03 23:11:49 EDT

Guru, a day or two ago you talked about forging brass. Your guidelines for determining forging heat are useful - wish I'd read them last year. Does white brass, the lovely "nickel silver," forge the same, and show the same physical change at proper heat? Just got a small drop of it and don't want to waste the stuff.

My regards to Master Powers, looking forward to encountering the pair of you, and all those goodies....
   Two Swords - Friday, 09/26/03 02:36:02 EDT

Frank Turley, I was interested in your replies to Olof's study, esp. #8. Your study of Tai Chi makes itself known in body awareness and emphasis on relaxation. Have you had exposure to iron palm practice? Focus in the early stages in almost entirely on relaxation of arm, shoulder, back, torso throughout the striking range of motion, in order to train swing mechanics, and prepare the body to deal with repeated impact. Badly done iron palm can cause heart problems or other internal damage - which made me think of farriers, but that's another tale.

My only word for Olof is: my grandfather gave me a hammer before he died two summers ago. It's a rusty, pitted, mushroomed old crosspein that must weigh 12 pounds. I remember watching him use it, and, no, he wasn't a blacksmith. It's on a short handle, tip-heavy, and "balanced" heavy on the left. This tool is unwieldy in my hand to the point of useless, but I treasure it. That's all I got for ya.
   Two Swords - Friday, 09/26/03 02:52:02 EDT


get your self a 44 gal drum (think thats 55 in u.s)that has a lid
cut three 2" holes in it ,one at the bottom ,the next 2 at about 1/3 then 2/3 up the drum
weld 3 bits of pipe with shut off flaps (similar to floor waste pipes on house's) onto drum at hole's
open all flaps, light fire at bottom of drum and build it up till you get it going well and to the level of the second hole ,
close bottom flap
continue building fire up to next hole ,when well lit ,close flap
continue till next hole then top ,once on top put lid on (be cafeful)best to have one of the clip/cam type fastener's rather than the screw type catchs ,then wait

got that? clear as mud?:)

this works well with oz hardwood -gum , ironbark ect. not sure if your timber (u.s)would make a differance?
have a go

try construction/building sites or any land clearing for timber ,they're always nocking down trees,tho like all timber the older on the ground the better
but don't use treated timber ,remember you'll be breathing the smoke and that stuff is nasty!!

fine 53-94f in ipswich , Australia still need rain
   - wayne - Friday, 09/26/03 10:01:23 EDT

I've been suffering withdrawal for the past couple days. Not only from the trying to quit smoking, but also because I was over on the other island without my computer and couldn't access this site. A trial I had to testify at kept me there over a couple nights and I just got back and got caught up.

As far as hammers go, my first recollection of hammering was, interestingly, pounding nails into a little wooden step stool as my father remodeled our house. I can't remember if the stool survived. Somehow, I fell in love with hammering, and have always enjoyed it. Doesn't matter if I'm hammering nails, busting rock, or banging metal, I love the act of hammering with the right hammer.

The right hammer for the job at hand makes all the difference to me. I own somewhat under a hundred hammers, I think. (grin) Some hammers I've purchased brand new and then promptly given away because I hated them. One was an all-steel Estwing framing hammer that never would hit a nail straight. I'm comvinced the shaft was canted silghtly. I gave it away after one afternoon's work and went back to my trusty Vaughn framing hammer and never again bought an Estwing. The guy I gave it to swore it improved his hammer control immeasurably. Different strokes, I guess.

I have dozens of silversmithing hammers, all with different handle shapes and geometries, from tiny little chasing hammers to heaving raising hammers. In general, the handles on them are thinner than you might expect, because this improves their "feedback" to my hand, which is essential when raising or chasing. Even more so than when forging, I believe. I guess because I have done so much hammering with silversmith's hammers like that, I tend to prefer thinner handles for most hammering. Not nevessarily thinner in the gripping part, just in the shaft below the head. I have long fingers and like a good-sized handle for gripping.

I'v eseen and tried out a number of different "innovations" in hammers over the years, and always come back to the tried-and-true. For general hammering, a wood handle set perpendicular to the head is best. Special uses require deviation from that, of course, but for most hammering, that is what works most of the time.

What I really would like to see investigated and corrected is the tendency of manufacturers of gardeneing implements to assume that all their users are no more that 5'-8" tall. I have to put new long handles on almost everything since I'm over 6' and hate to stoop over to rake or shovel.

I sure wish I was going to Quad State with you guys!
   vicopper - Friday, 09/26/03 12:17:17 EDT

Two Swords, I have not tried iron palm. But I continue to do tai chi. The initial opening or beginning (arm raising and lowereing) is a good one and is an analogue of hammering. "Embrace tree" is a good chi kung. There are four mild aikido wrist warmups that I like: two bends, flexion and extension; one bend on edge (the blacksmith's "hard way"); and one twist.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 09/26/03 13:06:40 EDT

Hi, ok this may sound weird. But I play a smith in a Game. I was wondering if any of you might have or know where I can get ahold of sound files of a Forge. I want to add some extra depth to the game and so I come to you all hoping to find something that I can use as background to set the mood and feeling of the forge.

Thank you
   Forgesheat - Friday, 09/26/03 13:18:12 EDT

Frank - quite right about the opening motions. Korean steel palm and some Chinese iron palm use the same motion, more emphatically, to slap the palm into a tub of water at the beginning stages - they're not worried at all about training the palm at that point, but concentrating on training the rest of the body to adapt in such a way that the practicioner can strike a fully relaxed, fully "intent" blow. Much emphasis on avoiding stiffness, rigidity.

Embrace tree - this is a stance training? I have heard it called also the "universal pole" if it's the same one. It's a good one. My brother in law the bricklayer uses it pretty often, when his shoulders and upper back become tense from holding block at arm's length.
   Two Swords - Friday, 09/26/03 15:00:36 EDT

I'm not a doctor but I play one on tv, and I say buy blah blah blah.

Sorry, It is the first time I have heard THIS question. Well, I don't know of any "Canned" sound tracks. Short of recording a loop from a movie or tv (the accuracy of these sources is weak at best)

I guess you can go and make your own soundtrack. A bellows blown forge won't make much noise, just a slight woosh. For a game background I would think a hammer striking a large block of steel in a rhythmic fashion say
Thunk..thunk...thunk.....Tink........thunkÖthunkÖthunk, etc.

files were often heard in (and still are!) so some filing in the background would be authentic.

Possibly the sound of metal being quenched in water could be added.

I guess you could go to a REAL blacksmith shop and get these sounds or combine them yourself with multiple soundtracks. There just isnít much to go on from what I know.

Why donít you try your hand at some real blacksmithing, you never know, you might like it better than pretending to be one!

Good luck
   Wayne P - Friday, 09/26/03 15:08:41 EDT

Two Swords, Yes, the Universal post or pole, but it can also be moving. The relaxed arms "circling the tree", so to speak, fingertips relating, but not touching. Inhale as you open the arms sidways, shoulder high, and the body rises slightly. Exhale as you close again. And 50%-50% weighting.

I'm afraind this is gobbledygook to some of the readership, but perhaps we've piqued their curiosity. A pretty good book is "Opening the Energy Gates of the Body" by Bruce Kumar Frantzis.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 09/26/03 18:55:49 EDT

Probably not gobbledgook to as many as you think, Frank. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Friday, 09/26/03 19:21:46 EDT

Certain computer games have sound bytes in them.... like Age of Empires. Media Player picks them up as individual tracks when you perform an audio file search on your computer. There are several blacksmith shop noises in the game... but the files are unidentifiable... you just have to go through each one of them till you find what you like.... Just beware of copyright stuff! Happy gaming...
   Rodriguez - Friday, 09/26/03 19:30:19 EDT

I'll be demoing for the Saltfork Craftsmen, Guthrie, Oklahoma, in a neat ol' former foundry. It's been fixed up with a blacksmith shop. Co-hosting with Bill Epps, October 11-12.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 09/26/03 21:25:39 EDT

White Brass, Nickle Silver: TwoSwords, I've never worked this alloy but I suspect the faint change in surface may be typical of most copper zinc alloys. Not sure about bronzes.
   - guru - Friday, 09/26/03 22:38:11 EDT

Two Swords, I've only worked nickel silver cold. I've soldered it with good ol' 50-50 or 60-40. I got out "Materials Handbook", and it says it is difficult to cast because of shrinkage and absorption of gases. The various alloys are subject to fire-cracking and are more difficult to roll and draw than brass. It can be extruded. Lots of Plains Indian jewelry is made from it by cold forming: tie slides, earrings, arm bands, bracelets, roach(headdress) spreaders, concho belts, and broaches. It can get a yellowish or brown cast through oxidation. I polish the jewelry with Simichrome, which if all else fails, you can get at a motorcycle shop.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 09/26/03 22:53:52 EDT

I found a site that was registering strikemarks but cannot remember where it is can you shed any light on this

   John Walton - Saturday, 09/27/03 05:21:11 EDT

Touchmark Registry:

If you mean touchmarks, our maker's marks for metalsmiths, this is the site, John. Go to the pull down list at the upper right of your screen and click on Touchmark Registry.

One of the benefits of membership in CSI, the Anvilfire Members Group, is free registry of your touch mark. Now, that's a deal you just can't beat, AND it helps to keep this site available and functioning. To join CSI, cllick on the CSI link just above the posting window on this screen. Welcome!
   vicopper - Saturday, 09/27/03 09:22:47 EDT

we have an anvil that wieghs around 150# and was never finished. I had a machinist mill the face flat but the face is soft. Is there anyone with advice on how to harden the face? someone said to heat the face about 1/3rd (anvil inverted) and then drop it in a creek. the creek or 'crick' is no problem. Thanks
   dan smith - Saturday, 09/27/03 09:35:08 EDT

how can we harden an anvil with a soft face? it weighs about 150# Thanks
   - dan smith - Saturday, 09/27/03 09:43:00 EDT

Nickle silver has no silver, and is a much harder alloy. I ahve used nickle silver to make various jewerly. Almost all was simple forms without joinery. This alloy peens well if you aneal alot. It work hardens very rapidly. I had great luck with polishing, using standard silver polishing rouges etc. As i remember the only thing I did differently was to use an aggresive grey compound to start, then went to standard color and polish steps. If you wish to cast in nickle silver, or gold appearing compounds, there are many standard alloys available as casting grain. A good source is RIO GRANDE. They used to have a few good tips in thier catalog. They also used to have a tech help line. They also used to have nickle silver in sheet and wire. I hope this helps.
   jeff reinhardt - Saturday, 09/27/03 10:27:17 EDT

how can we harden an anvil with a soft face? it weighs about 150# Thanks
   - dan smith - Saturday, 09/27/03 12:12:54 EDT

Dan Smith, the repeated posting is rude. Please post once. Some of the people who can answer your question are occupied for much of the weekend. If you read back through the posts (as some of them will probably do), you may realize where some of them are. Give time for someone to answer. If you don't have an answer to your ONE post in a few DAYS, then consider reposting. Before even posting at all, look through anvilfire (navigate anvilfire upper right) for an answer. Thank you.
   - iron spider - Saturday, 09/27/03 12:26:25 EDT

Dan, sometimes you have to hit the refresh button to see your post.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 09/27/03 13:11:42 EDT

do you know what your anvil is made of? The material is important, as heat treatment is very material dependent. If you post the material, by the time the Guru is back, then he and others can better answer the question.
   jeff reinhardt - Saturday, 09/27/03 14:04:50 EDT

And another, "no, it's not gobbledygook", Frank. Interesting and appreciated, in fact. Tried qi gong/chi kung first 15 years ago and just didn't get it. More years and more aches and pains, found it again a couple years ago when even the chiropractor said he couldn't help. Now I'm feeling great most of the time, have a pretty good idea how to get better when I'm not, and haven't needed the chiropractor in all that time. :)

   Steve A - Saturday, 09/27/03 15:53:57 EDT

Steve A, Those who make sport of stretches and various exercises are sometimes the ones we see at the conferences telling "war stories" about their maladies. In New Mexico, we say that they are "talking enfermos" (infirmities).
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 09/27/03 16:09:55 EDT

quick question,
how do you know if something is galvanized or not? is rebar galvanized? also, would chicken wire be an ok grate for a forge? i just thought that it would be a good idea for air to get at the charcoal from every direction.
thank you
emin muil
   emin muil - Saturday, 09/27/03 16:50:14 EDT

Emin Muil,
Chicken wire is galvanized in all the examples I have used. Galvanizing is the process of dipping cleaned metal into a molten zinc bath. This leaves a coating of zinc on the treated metal.The metal takes on a dull silvery appearence.This coating lends the metal resistance to rusting. It WILL burn off if the metal is welded or heated as in a forge. The fume from the zinc will make you sick, and is to be avoided. Chicken wire is too thin to use for a grate, and since it is probably galvanized a VERY poor choice. A better choice would be perforated steel, or sheet steel drilled in many places. The best is cast iron.
By the way some rebar is coated but i do not think this coating is zinc.
   jeff reinhardt - Saturday, 09/27/03 20:38:54 EDT

I am trying to oil rub and blacken some balustrades. I first wire-wheeled off the loose scale, and then wipe with boiled linseed oil. Then I put them over a wood fire. This seems to take forever. Is this the best method? If so should I put them closer to the fire, or crank up the heat or what? Thanks
   Richard - Saturday, 09/27/03 21:39:23 EDT

From what kind of steel are lawn mower blades made?
   anvilboy - Saturday, 09/27/03 21:44:41 EDT

I have to log off now and watch South Carolina at Tenn. I will check back on the lawn mower blades. Go 'Cocks!
   anvilboy - Saturday, 09/27/03 21:48:37 EDT

Dan Smith - The method for hardening the anvil face will depend entirely on what the anvil is maqde of and how it is made. Is it a forged, wrought-iron body with a steel plate top? How much was milled off? Is it a cast body with a cast-in-place top plate? Is it a cast steel anvil? Is it a cast iron Anvil Shaped Object? With this information, we can give you some guidance. Without it, it would be foolhardy for us to even hazard a guess.

Emin Muil - For a forge grate, you need something heavy enough not to burn out from the heat of the fire. A piece of 3/8" plate with holes or slots in it will work fine, or a grate made of 5/8" rebar welded about 1/2" apart. No galvanized metal should ever be put in a forge. It will burn off giving off metallic fumes that can cause metal fume fever and other maladies, as well as contaminating the fire for forge welding.

Richard - To oil blacken steel, it needs to be just about at the heat that will cause the oil to smoke off when it is rubbed on with a rag. As it burns off, the oil turns to carbon. Successive applications of oil incorporate this carbon, resulting in a poor man's black paint. Use a vegetable oil, if you value your lungs. And wear a respirator, anyway. You only have two lungs and you need them both.

Anvilboy - Lawnmower blades used to be made of 1050 steel or thereabouts. I say used to be because the newer ones seem to be much softer than the older ones. This may just be the manufacturers heeding the advice of their lawyers to avoid injuries from fractured blades, or the steel alloy may have decreased carbon content If you want dependable steel, buy new steel of a known grade suitable for the use you intend. Otherwise, you have to be your own metallurgist. Spark test, harden in oil first and draw to blue then check with a file. If too soft, try hardening in water. Check out the FAQs on junkyard steels. Blacksmithing is FAR more important than football! Put down that remote and pick up your hammer. (grin)
   vicopper - Saturday, 09/27/03 22:15:53 EDT

Vicopper-Thanks for the help. By the way, what's football?
   Richard - Saturday, 09/27/03 22:33:40 EDT

Richard - Football is what they watch in the South when baseball season ends, I think. Not really sure, actually. I turn off the TV after baseball season ends. (grin)
   vicopper - Saturday, 09/27/03 22:37:21 EDT

Thanks, Guru. I asked because the Bituminus Bits states several places to use a lawnmower blade or "other high carbon steel", so I was wondering... I don't know how many times people have given me LW blades. I just thought that I might have been able have a use for them other than bending them for hangers.

The Gamecocks lost in overtime. (frown)

See ya later.
   anvilboy - Saturday, 09/27/03 23:20:13 EDT

Anvilboy - You're welcome and I'm flattered, but I'm not the Guru. Jock Dempsey is "The Guru", but he is having fun at Quad State, so I'm taking a few of the easy ones. Jock deserves a break from all the work he puts in to maintain this site.

   vicopper - Sunday, 09/28/03 04:07:20 EDT

I aquired a pile of Jack hammer bits when United Rentals aquired a local rental company, at a buck apiece I figured I was doing prety good. Within a couple of years they had dwindled to just 6 bits . I gave a few away and sold many. Anyhow, I figured I beter make some tools with them before they were all gone. So, in the last week I made dies for my 1b Nazel for the shank which fits in my hand held air hammer and for my big (35#) riveting hammer. Now I have 24 bits which I'm not completely sure how to heat treat. I've heard the moil points are made from s-10 which is air hardening and requires no heat treating but what I would call normalizing ie: heat all over to 1475 degress f and alow to cool. I used a big pedestal fan to speed the process slightly, but before I take them to CBA Oktoberfest next week I want to be sure This is correct. Any input will be helpful
Thanx, Kirk out
   Kirk McNeill - Sunday, 09/28/03 12:04:38 EDT

Kirk, Frank in. I'm sure we've been thro' this several times before on jackhammer bits. I think most of them are 1045, 0.45 carbon, which would make them a medium carbon steel. Harden in water at a bright cherry red. Temper as desired. A very few have been made of S5. You can use anvilfire's Archives to double check.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 09/28/03 12:59:08 EDT

SOFA Quad State: My ride left a little early last night. Arrived home about 5:00am EST. . . Came home to some server issues (about 200 warning e-mails). Must take care of that first. . .

Had great fun, met a bunch of folks I have never seen before and naw have to pay for playing. . .

I never saw so many anvils in one place. There could have easily been 500 to 1000. Most were pretty old and ratty but there were also some fine antiques as well as new anvils. Euroanvils sold all they could haul to the show and took orders for more.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/28/03 13:15:58 EDT

Thanx Frank
I only get here once or twice a year, so I never know what's been covered. I guess I should check the archives first, but I am pretty lazy.
Kirk out
   Kirk McNeill - Sunday, 09/28/03 14:01:33 EDT


No wonder we could'nt find you at the forging competition last night! After our discussion yesterday about the Channel Lock hammers, I found a nice one for $12.00. Had a great time visiting with you and all the other folks.
   Brian C - Sunday, 09/28/03 14:57:26 EDT

It don't get much gooder'n Quad state.
   3dogs - Sunday, 09/28/03 16:49:39 EDT

Trip Cut Short (a little): Plans change when you are relying on other folks for transportation. However, I DO want to thank Big BLU Hammers for the ride and accomodations. I had a great time.

SOFA/Quadstate was unbelievable! Over the past 5 years I have traveled to several ABANA conferences, CanIron and many of the local/regional conferences such as BGoP's Spring Fling, the AFC converence and the Southeastern Regional Conference. If you took all the tools from all the tailgate sales at all those conferences and combined them into one event they might have equaled this year's SOFA Quadstate.

IF you every have a chance GO. If you need tools and you are looking for old or new then its worth traveling how ever far it takes. Folks were setting up on Thursday when we arrived and continued to come in through Saturday. Sales were already brisk for many starting on Thursday. Bring a TRUCK!

I didn't have much to spend but I brought back a bunch of goodies. We have been looking for large steel balls for armouring anvils. I brought back two 6" 4150 forged balls on 2" daiameter shanks. These were rough trimmed forgings that need a little grinding but they are PERFECT. The right size, shape and material. They are reject heavy equipment forgings. I also brought back a handful of odd hammers.

If you needed sheet metal stakes there were dozens in all kins of shapes. There were also kick shears, beverly shears, bar folds and circle cutters.

There were flypresses large and small, a dozen Little Giants, drill presses and thousands of other machines. IF you needed it you could probably find it a Quad State.

And of course there were demonstrations, forging, casting, steel makings. And there was a competition and auction.

It was a relaxed and enjoyable event (except for the ocassional feeding frenzy when a new truck load of tools came in).

I will try to get as many photos as possible in the NEWS this week.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/28/03 16:54:43 EDT

I was just over to "Hammer-In" and turned red! Now lessee if I can turn Blue.
   3dogs - Sunday, 09/28/03 16:56:56 EDT

Working on it!
   - guru - Sunday, 09/28/03 16:57:59 EDT

Yer Guruship! Ya snuck off on us!
   3dogs - Sunday, 09/28/03 17:07:27 EDT

cold planer bits - does anyone know what cold planer/road reclaimer bits are made of? i know that most have a section of carbide on the very tip, but i am curious what the rest of the bit might be made of. i would imagine it would have to be a shock/heat resistant alloy.
   - pilemonkey - Sunday, 09/28/03 17:16:07 EDT

AWRIGHT!!3 bluedogs
   - 3dogs - Sunday, 09/28/03 18:09:34 EDT

Thanks for the tip. I think my Friends have Age of Empire. And for the Record. one of the people I am going to start playing with soon does work at an armory making blades and armor and the like for a living. I plan on asking him to start teaching me once I get to know him better.
   ForgesHeat - Sunday, 09/28/03 18:29:18 EDT

Guru, Why has Peih Tool pulled their advertising here? Maybe tough times hit early there?
   - Robert-ironworker - Sunday, 09/28/03 19:07:41 EDT

I just purchased a 20" Joseph T. Ryerson drill press that's in great working condition and was wandering when it was manufactured and about how much it's worth?
   Roger Willis - Sunday, 09/28/03 19:16:09 EDT

Robert, contact me email.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 09/28/03 20:08:58 EDT


I have a CD of the Anvil Chorus from the Opera il Travatore by Verdi. I also have Warcraft Gold, which has the anvil and bellow sound that you want. Contact me email and I'll see if I can get them to you.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 09/28/03 20:10:30 EDT

I'd like to remind everybody in the Den, that when you enter your email address on anvilfire, it is automatically en-crypted by the Guru so that it canNOT be "harvested" by the spammers. It's perfectly safe to enter it here and it makes it a lot easier than having to ask someone to contact you email because you don't have their address. (yes, Robert, Roger, and Forges Iron, I'm talking to you! grin)
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 09/28/03 20:13:57 EDT

Click for detail
J.T.Ryerson & Sons: Roger, it is hard to place a date on these machines. They were made by many manufacturers for many years starting in the 1870's. I've got a 1958 Ryerson machinery catalog and at that time they were selling Royersford Excelsior flat belt geared head drill presses and Buffalo V-belt drive drill presses instead of their own brand. The Ryerson Drill that I have is identical to the Royersford 21" which I also have. My Ryerson is ANCIENT and came out of a foundry that was in business before the U.S. Civil War.

In 1959 J.T. Ryerson & Sons claimed to have been in business for 110 years. That would put their date of establishment at 1849. Ryerson was in business selling steel until a few jears ago and now they are part of a group that was merged together.

I have bought these machines in various conditions for $100 to $350. There were similar machines for about the same price at Quad State this past weekend. They are GREAT machines but you have to deal with the flat belt drive which many think makes it an antique. I think they are highly undervalued tools. These machines will drill a 3/16" hole 2" deep as easily as a 1-1/2" hole in a 4" thick block. They were made identicaly by Buffalo, Royersford, Champion, Ryerson and others for about 100 years.

Value in perfect condition with single phase motor ~$500 US.
Without motor minor part problems $400
Broken back gears (almost universal) $250
Rough condition, worn out workable $100

When I bought the Royersford shown I paid $325 at auction. It is almost perfect except for broken back gears. I bought a similar Champion at auction that had a rack of drills running from 3/4" to 2", plus a box of chucks. The whole sold for $350 about 15 years ago.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/28/03 20:53:13 EDT

Drill Press Value: I value these machines enough that I have bought NEW Jacobs chucks and adaptors costing more that I paid for each machine for every one that I have.

A valuable and inexpensive addition to these machines is a set of Morse taper adaptor sleaves. I can go from #4 down to #1 one step at a time or in steps of two sizes. This alows the use of smaller chucks as well as small tapered shank drills. I bought one set new and others have come along over time.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/28/03 21:03:48 EDT

Pre-ignition problem: I have struggled with this problem in my forge and I am stumped. I am forced to run it lean, way too lean - to avoid the flame popping back into the burner. The hotter it gets the worse the problem. The burner has a blower, but I also use a small orifice to get some venturi effect - this has a nice side effect that the air adjusts along with the gas (somewhat). The burner is 3/4" x 3" as it enters the chamber and 2" x 3" where the gas is injected. The blower has an air gate. I originally used SS tubing for the burner nozzle but the pre_ignition trashed it (yep burned up the SS tubing) I now have a kaowool burner nozzle but the problem persists. I have tried small pc of SS screen in the nozzle just before the chamber. This changes things somewhat and improves mixing but does nothing for the pre-ignition problem. If I am careful to avoid pre-ignition the burner tube remains cool enough to touch - if I am not careful, it gets darn hot in a hurry! It's behavior is pretty clear - If I increase the gas or choke back the air until I hear "maximum roar", (a common method of tuning a gasser) the temp starts to climb and shortly thereafter the flame pops back into the burner.

I am pretty much stumped on this. The only thing I can think of is to place a constriction in the burner perhaps 1" away from the end so that there will be a high velocity region in the gas flow making a barrier. The current shape funnels down to the nozzle so that the nozzle is the fastest region. My guess is that when this gets hot enough, the flame front can jump the velocity barrier? I sure would appreciate any advice.
   adam - Sunday, 09/28/03 21:23:25 EDT

I know this has come up before, and I thought there was an artical on Metal Merit Badge. Was as so wondering what some of you have done as projects for the badge. Email me a reply if you have one.
Thanks Bobby
   BobbyN - Sunday, 09/28/03 22:02:15 EDT

Adam -

Try creating a "step" at the end of the burner tube, before the burner flare. Too smooth a transition from tube to flare can invite flashback, as there is no place for the gases to slow down and burn.

Placing a constriction in the burner may or may not do what you want. The objective is to have the flow rate of the unburned gases in the burner tube exceed the burn rate of the mixture, and then at the flare there should be a change of diameter (step) that increases the cross-sectional area of the burner and slows the gases to a flow rate LESS than the burn rate, causing the flame to stay in that area. A falre that slips over the burner tube creates that step where the diameter changes and this creates a slower "eddy" in the flow that allows the gases to ignite and maintain a steady state burn in that area. Sometimes it pays to increase the size of the step by using a sleeve between the burner tube and a flare that is for the next size up of burner tube.

Another thing to check on is backpressure in the forge chamber itself. On blown gassers, it is not uncommon to have too little exhaust area, resulting in backpressure that impedes the flow rate of the gas mixture in the burner tube.

Basically, the mixing area should have the highest velocity, the burner tube the next highest, and the nozzle the lowest velocity. What you described is a setup where the burner tube has a lower velocity than the nozzle, thus the flame wants to jump back and burn where the velocityis lower.
   vicopper - Sunday, 09/28/03 22:08:53 EDT

Back Firing: Adam, VIc covered it pretty well. When you have repeat flashback then the fuel/air velocity is just too slow. So it sounds like the burner is too big for the forge volume because you have to adjust back too far.

The rectangular shape is also problematic. Flow in a rectangular tube is at different rates in the tube. In the corners it is always slower and in a flat rectangle it is slower to the sides than in the middle. Burners are almost universaly round for a reason.

Burners use a variety of velocity barriers. But they must reduce the area enough that the jets of high velocity gas are still high velocity when they leave the burner. Everything from plates with holes to screens are used.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/28/03 22:24:36 EDT

BSA Metalworking Merit Badge: Bobby, we have several of our later iForge demos marked BSA as suitable for scouts.

Both years that Atli and I worked on the badge I had the boys forge two things. A tent stake from 1/2" square (point one end and bend the other). And an "S" hook. This was in a merit badge jamboree situation where time was limited. It did not not really meet the requirements 100% but was all that could be done in one day. We had one boy that was good enough and had some previous practice that also finished a candle holder.

It is probably possible to meet the full requirements in two days but one requirement is that the boy design and make a drawing of a "tasteful" object and make it. I think this is a bit much. There are many working smiths that have a difficult time coming up with good ideas much less a 12 to 15 year old.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/28/03 22:33:37 EDT

Guru - regarding this year's quad state - it was great, and the third one I've gone to. The level/amount of tools this year was a lot more than the preceding 2 years, not that they were shabby by any means. Good demos, good people, good prices and a fun time.
   gavainh - Sunday, 09/28/03 23:38:23 EDT

Pre-ignition: Thanks Rich & Guru for your prompt answers - and on a Sun eve too! :) Yes it makes sense now. I need a flare and perhaps a flame holder step too. I should have figured that out - talking to people helps. I have a couple of easy things to try. I hadnt really thought about the rectangular x section. The corners must be especially slow - that may be where the flame front is sneaking back up the tube.
   adam - Monday, 09/29/03 01:02:32 EDT

Thanks Guru have taken your advice and registered with CSI
   John Walton - Monday, 09/29/03 05:58:57 EDT


I was wondering if any one here had any info on smith tool finds especially anvils or well reported ironwork (tool) finds in the UK from the Iron Age to the early medieval (Saxon) period.

More exactly, late bronze age (early Iron Age) to the conquest (maybe early 1200ís). Area, ideally Britain extending to Northern Europe; Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Scandinavia, possible Viking period Baltic (I have a fair idea how rare they are so Iíll spread a wide net and throw back the little ones). I have little interest in Roman finds.

I have details from Jorvik (York) and the Mastremyr find, I know of Waltham abbey but have no details.

Also any provenancable methods of holding a block anvil to a stump, stake anvils fix fairly easily but I have not seen any archaeological evidence for other methods of fixing. I donít think 27Kg (60Lb) lump is going to move much, but I have smaller (and much more portable) block anvils which move all too easily.

   Nigel - Monday, 09/29/03 07:16:21 EDT

Oh, well. That was ment to go on the guru page!
   Nigel - Monday, 09/29/03 07:19:37 EDT

.......theres something odd going on with my pc...or is it GIGO
   Nigel - Monday, 09/29/03 07:30:14 EDT

i have an old axe (100 years?) which i would like to sharpen. However it is really hard and will break if used. if I heated it in an electric oven at 400 degrees f for one hour would that soften it enough? after this treatment should it be dipped in water or just left to cool at room temperature?If not what can I do with it? I have no background in this field but have been reading literature on blacksmithing.
   Bill Hickey - Monday, 09/29/03 08:22:45 EDT


Should I ever come across it this autumn, I have an article on an Anglo-Saxon iron hoard with a small plate anvil. It weighed only a few pounds, was about 4" X 4" X 1", and had a spike at one end, at 90 degrees to the face. The author(s) proposed a larger analog is shown on the Franks Casket.

Frank Turley's book on Southwest Colonial Ironwork shows a number of Spanish style anvils, some quite large, with "spike" mounts. I'm sure he can comment further.

One trick that I've used is to not only have a bottom spike on my small block anvil (4" X 4" X 5" w/ 3/4" X 3" spike) but also to "burn it in" so that it formed its own socket in the stump and stood steady with no surface irregularities to make it rock. Even on a large block anvil, which may not lend itself to heating to a red at the bottom, a little work with a wood chisel and some careful leveling will do wonders. I've seen examples of this in photographs of third world smithies.

Let's face it, not much in the way of stumps survive from the last 200 years, much less the last 2000. We find the traces of the holes in the ground here and there, and occasional illustrations such as the Sigurd carvings on a stave church door, but not a lot about the finer details. My rule of thumb for the Dark Ages, when you've done all the research; looked at the few and scattered artifacts; examined the few extent contemporary, and later, illustrations; and searched for third world and traditional analogs, is to go with your gut feelings. After all, that what they would have used to solve the same problems, and if there are six solutions within their capabilities, the smiths of the period probably used all six, or at least three good variations.

Thomas Powers has probably researched this question at length, so he should be along with further information.

Sunny, bright and cool on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 09/29/03 08:32:33 EDT

Quad State - Luckily I found out about this on the new "Calander of Events" section of this site last week in time. Being very close, I went and was in the Hands-on beginners section most all day Saturday. I did look around for Guru and asked Doug Wilson, doing demos, if he was Paw-Paw. He wasn't so I was telling him about this site while the gentleman in charge of the event came up and invited me to show up for the meetings at SOFA 1st Sat of the month. I didn't find Guru to introduce myself and say thanks so I'll post it here. Thanks!
   Blubeard - Monday, 09/29/03 08:39:16 EDT


I'd almost bet that Doug laughed himself sick when you asked him if he was Paw Paw! (I'd loved to have seen his face!)
   Paw Paw - Monday, 09/29/03 09:27:51 EDT

Thanks Alti, I agree with your 4th paragraph, and consider this looking at all the sources. I did the chiseled hole thing some 10 years ago when i started blacksmithing (8lb anvil!)and forgot it.
   Nigel - Monday, 09/29/03 09:34:40 EDT

Early Anvil Mounting: Nigel, I will second what Atli had to say. The few examples of bronze anvils anvils indicate a spike or stake to hold it in place. Many existing early anvils indicate the same.

There are numerous examples from present day Africa, India and the Middle East where Western sledges (up to 25 pounds) are in use as anvils. All that I have seen are inlet into stumps to about the eye. The stumps are in turn partialy burried in the earth as was standard practice world wide for all anvil stumps until the modern era. Today a few Western smiths still sink their stumps in a hole but most prefer some degree of portability.

These smiths using sledges as simple block anvils are very much in the same economic condition as to availability of metal) as would be a Bronze Age smith. Metal was very valuable and to waste it on spikes or straps to anchor an anvil would be unheard of. Even today when we live in a world filled with readily available scrap and many of us have literal mountains of steel there are smiths in many parts of the world where a few ounces of good steel is too valuable to waste.

   - guru - Monday, 09/29/03 10:34:57 EDT

Old Axe: Bill, How do you know the axe will break if used? What has happened to it since it was made? If it was a good axe when it was made then anything you do to it will probably ruin it. A good axe that age is probably one piece steel that has been localy tempered when manufactured. Tools over 150 years old and some that were hand made later are made of wrought iron with a steel edge and are heat treated differently. However, there are quite a few factory made axes with steeled edges.

If you do not fully understand hardening and tempering then you should not be attempting it on an existing item. This is something you practice on junk or sample items that have no value.
   - guru - Monday, 09/29/03 11:30:22 EDT

Nigel, Anvil mounting. I just returned from a Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian exhibit in Santa Fe, on Navaho and Pueblo silver spoons. There was a ca.1900 photo of a Navaho silversmith with 1/2 of his sledge hammer head (an anvil) sunk in a log on the ground. See Jock's notes.

The Kenneth Lynch Collection out of Wilton, Connecticut, contained many old style tools that he collected, mainly from cantral Europe. His executors had a big dispersal sale a few years back, and I recently acquired the catalog. One item is called "Square Bench Anvil with Tang, KL244m" which came in various weights from 4.18 pounds to 77 pounds. Another, without tang, is called a "Square Flat-top Bench Anvil, KL 260m" (catalog #); its weights were from 99 to 187 pounds. It had no tang, and Mr. Lynch says, "It is of the classic form used for centuries". Lynch was considered an authority. An educated guess would be that one could drive nails into the stump around the periphery of the base.

The flanged base on anvils is, relatively speaking, a quite recent development. The two cutouts either side of the "London Pattern" anvil create 4 crude feet. I use the term "feet" advisedly. Even with the flange and feet, it is sometimes awkward to fix the anvil to a base.

This information is out of your period of study, but a lot of it is going to be conjecture because we were not "there".
It is to be hoped that historical archeologists may turn up more finds in the future.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 09/29/03 11:47:52 EDT

Guru, Our conference Oct. 10 - 12 this year is In Blounstown, Fla instead of Barbourville, so is a couple of hundred miles closer to you. It would be nice if you could make it...
   Ron Childers - Monday, 09/29/03 12:41:31 EDT

I have a fairly off topic question, but if there is a better group of people to ask odd questions I haven't found it... *grin*

I have "inheireted" (don't ask) about 150 gallons of 3 year old gasoline, and I am trying to decide whgat I can do with it. It is in a 300 gallon above ground tank (fuel rated & vented) and I was told it has been trated twice with fuel preservitive.

How can I tell if it is any good? If it isn't "car" safe is it possible that it is rototiller safe? could it be mixed with fresh gasoline? Treated?

I really want to do something with it, as it's not going to get any better. If it needs to be discarded, how is this best handled?

I suppose I could build a BIG bonfire using the trees Isabel thoughtfully dumped in my yard...


   -JIM - Monday, 09/29/03 12:48:49 EDT

Ron, Thank you for the invite but I already have a commitment to do a demo in Norris Tennesee at the Museum of Appalachia with Paw-Paw.

I have met many of the FABA folks at AFC and SoutherEastern Conference and would love to attend one of your meets. Perhaps next year!
   - guru - Monday, 09/29/03 12:52:57 EDT

Block Anvils: Peddinghaus Handtools of Germany still makes these little anvils with a spike and calls them a "Tinkers" anvil (translated). They also make three styles of Sythe anvil with spikes and a classic stake anvil listed as a jewelers anvil but at 11" long the largest is more than a jewlers tool.
   - guru - Monday, 09/29/03 13:08:10 EDT

Guru or Paw Paw,

What are the dates on your demo at the Museum of Appalachia? It appears that their website is down.

I've told Paw Paw this before, but I count one of his demos at the MOA as one of my early influences. I went up there to see Bill Monroe about 10 years ago and ended up breathing some of Mr. Wilson's coal smoke. It took me about 8 years to do anything about it, but it was a lasting impression, none the less.

Maybe if I start saving now, I can afford to buy a ticket to get in. They are right proud of their facility.
   Don Abbott - Monday, 09/29/03 13:43:51 EDT

Jim -

I've used gas that was treated with Sta-Bil fuel preservative after two years storage without any problems at all. Sta-Bil in the fuel works great if it is added when the fuel is new. If what you have has been treated when new and then again a year or so later, it may be just fine. Please note that I say MAYBE. I would use it in my mower, generator or even my old truck with no qualms. I probably wouldn't put in a late-model Ferrari, though. (grin) Your rototiller probably won't be able to tell the difference, though. I would add more fuel stabilizer to it if I were going to keep it, and add it every year. Even if you give free fuel to your neighbors for their tillers, it'll take a while to use up 150 gallons.

If you have to dispose of it, call your local fuel supplier. They are equipped to pump out and dispose of old fuel. The EPA regulations of about tne years ago forced most of the gas stations across the country to change their underground tanks, so lots of suppliers were forced to invest in equipment for retrieval and disposal. I'll bet however, that disposing of it legally will cost considerably more than buying new fuel. When I owned a sign shop fifteen years ago, new solvent might cost twenty dollars for 5 gallons, but it cost almost ten times that to dispose of the same quantity of used solvent. Toxic waste disposal is expensive.
   vicopper - Monday, 09/29/03 14:11:34 EDT


Wendnesday October the 8th is kids day, then the regular show is from the 9th through the 12th. If you make it, please introduce yourself. Doesn't look like I'm going to make it to Fort Loudon (did I get that right?) this year.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 09/29/03 14:12:39 EDT

I am doing a project on blacksmithing for my colonial america museum at martinez junior high, ca. do you sell any kind of project kits i could use? thanks.
   Chaz - Monday, 09/29/03 14:34:02 EDT

Nigel; just took the last load into the house from my Quad-State stuff and am ruminating on your question; there is a nice "lump" anvil in the mesume at Bath but as it is romano-celtic I don'tknow if it would suit your request.

I'm trying to dig up a cite I ran across when I had no way to copy it down; it was an article on "Iron Age Smiths Graves above? the Alps" and written in german---had me drooling but I haven't been able to track it down since...
The bibliography of the Mastermyr Find does list
Greig, S; "Smedeverkto/i i norske Gravfund"
Mu:ller-Wille "Der Fru:hmittelalterliche Schmied im Spiegel Skandinavischer Grabfund"
Ohlhaver, "Der germanischer Schmied und sein Werkzeug"
and a whole bunch more

The Wealden Iron Research Group might be a good source of English finds as well as Tylecote's "Metallurgy in Archeology" which has a UK slant.

You might check out the Arch-Metals mailing list and their archives too.
Spike and inletting seem to be the best guess, I would not "nail" one down but wooden pins driven into burnt in holes might be another method.

Gotta go

   Thomas P - Monday, 09/29/03 15:06:46 EDT

Chaz, Sorry, no. As far as I know there are no projects "kits" available from anyone. The closest thing is rose blanks. For most blacksmithing a "kit" is a short bar of steel.

If you are looking for a simple project with step by step instructions check our iForge page. Some are more advanced than others.
   - guru - Monday, 09/29/03 15:07:18 EDT

Paw Paw,

I'm going to try and get up there on Friday (10th). I'll stop by and visit if you won't run me off.

Too bad you can't make it to Loudoun. Cool weather is here, the crowds will be down and we'll get to do some serious forging instead of talking to tourists all day. We had our annual Trade Faire in September. Had over 3000 visitors in 2 days. Sold my first iron work (mostly to other reenactors). Made enough $ to pay for the last batch of steel bought. Profit is never really an issue in this line of work, is it?
   Don Abbott - Monday, 09/29/03 15:17:37 EDT


Not usually! (wry grin) For me it's a hobby, but I prefer for it to pay it's own bills. See you Friday!
   Paw Paw - Monday, 09/29/03 15:19:22 EDT

Thanks VI!
   -JIM - Monday, 09/29/03 15:28:29 EDT

Well, I made it to Quad State yet again and had a blast as always. It sure was a treat to meet Jock in person and to see all of my old friends from the Columbus area and elswhere. I was only there for saturday, so I missed the iron pouring and the copper work on saturday morning, but I was really there for the fellowship. I didn't even buy anything this year. One thing that I should have done and didn't was get measurments of a nailmakers anvil that was for sail. For those of you who went, this was located in the line of sails up against the open air animal barns and one or 2 sellers down from a 50 lb little giant. If anyone out there happens to have dimensions, or even a good memory of the general size of this anvil, I'd appreciate a copy. I am thinking that an anvil of this size and shape would be a great first anvil for my daughter. I am already looking forward to next years event.
   Patrick Nowak - Monday, 09/29/03 15:50:44 EDT

Finally found my knife anvil in a local New Hampshire scrap yard. I'm picking up an 18" section of 6" dia bar this week @ 35 cents a pound scrap price. I'll still need to face off the burnt end though. I haven't any idea what kind of iron it is but he told me it came out of the Navy Yard at Kittery. They use some pretty exotic metal in repairing those submarines so it could be anything. But, I'm pretty sure it isn't stainless cuz it was pretty rusty laying there. I can get some more pieces if anyone is interested and/or lives here in New England.

Any suggestions how far back from the torched end I need to cut when facing off the bar so as not to run into burnt metal?
   Jerry Crawford - Monday, 09/29/03 17:18:56 EDT


Dont cut off any more than you absolutely have to. I'd suggest you cut 2" or less. Really just enough to square the face to the length.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 09/29/03 17:39:39 EDT

If the metal is an air hardening alloy the metal may be hard quite some way back. A test with a file, starting just back from the burnt edge will answer. If not hard too far back, and facing on a lathe. use a carbide tool, and go in under the burnt surface just a little. This will allow the tool to cut good metal and pop off the burnt slag. Slag is hard on tools. Also be aware that some of the 13 chrome steels will rust if heated. Good luck
   jeff reinhardt - Monday, 09/29/03 17:43:21 EDT

Clean Up: Jerry, the only part that is "burnt" from torching is the immediate surface. The problem is HOW to remove it. If you have access to a good saw then as long as you clear ALL the discolored part then you should be safe. However, get into one little dip of the torch cut surface and you will be buying the saw blade. . . I have a piece of 18" round mild steel that someone tried to cut too close to the arc gouged end and got into the heat affected zone and slag. They didn't finish the cut. .

Usualy you have to go at it with a heavy grinder before machining. Then all you need to do is flatten the surface and be sure you get below the heat effected zone which is usualy less than 1/32".
   - guru - Monday, 09/29/03 18:28:31 EDT

Tinners Anvil photo (c) 2003 Jock DempseySmall Anvil: Patrick, Richard Postman declared this a "Tinners Anvil" and I concur. The fellow that had it is John Daniels a regular at our Virginia meets. He was asking $450 and had an offer of $425 and would not take it. Things like this are why I didn't bring my check book. John would have taken my check . . .

I picked it up and moved it twice to photograph it. It weighed about 30 to 40 pounds. The dimensions are approximately 3-1/2" wide face and 16" overall length. It had a 1/2" or 5/8" hardy hole and a 1/4" radius groove for forming edging. The body and stake both taper to the width of the bottom of the stake. What looks like a shoulder from the side is only a difference in corrosion from where it was mounted in a stump for many years.

I did not ask John where he found this but I would bet that it came from Pennsylvania. I would bet that it is wrought iron with a welded steel face.

From the photo and my dimensions you could make a detailed drawing. You could make one of these by flame cutting it from 4" plate, leaving the sides flat and cutting the stake in two dimensions. However, the small stake ends are there to conserve metal. So you could make it with a long straight shank and set it into a larger hole (in a laminated block). Leaving the bottom full size would also add about 15 to 20 pounds.
   - guru - Monday, 09/29/03 19:18:47 EDT

Anvil Design (c) 2001 by Jock Dempsey
This is a drawing of a stump anvil I designed to be cut from plate. Later I took off the shoulder cuts for the same reason as mentioned above (added weight at no cost, simplicity). The horns are flame cut in two dimensions and the round one trimmed to octagon and then hand ground to shape. In production only the top would be hand ground.

This is one of several designs for a low cost anvil for a beginners' kit. The problem is that the current price of cut steel in the US equals that of finished anvils.

My final super low cost anvil design was a plain rectangular block about 4 x 8 x 8. Welded onto the side of it was a piece of 1-1/4" square tubing. This has a loose fit on 1" for shanks for hardie tools. The top of the tube would have a collar welded to it for strength and support. The steel was still too expensive. . .
   - guru - Monday, 09/29/03 19:45:19 EDT

Thanks for the info on the 6" bar. I have access to a commercial saw at school if I can carry the slug in there. I probably won't try facing it off on a lathe - I can't imagine trying to hefting that thing horizonal chest high. I suspect just squaring it on the saw willhave to do. I heard form a chap in NH about making some PH's so I'll have a use for the rest of my find
   Jerry Crawford - Monday, 09/29/03 20:53:05 EDT

Jerry, if you can get some help hoisting it up to the lathe, facing it off would sure make a nice work surface.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 09/29/03 21:19:29 EDT

undoubtedly Paw-Paw, but would it be "THAT" much better than cut off with the power saw and finishing with a body grinder? Hey, maybe I can talk the teacher into letting me park it on a milling machine and cleaning it off that way. Now there's a thought....! This can turn into a full semester project y'know?
   Jerry Crawford - Monday, 09/29/03 22:02:43 EDT

Hello, My name is Steve Bazay and I am studying blacksmithing at Sir Sanford Fleming College in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada. The 14 program goes through all the basic blacksmithing skills as well as several project. I find blacksmithing fasinating and am learning the techniques rather well. When I am done school I would like to work as a blacksmith in Europe and possibly get an apprenticeship. How do find a list of shops and owners in order to contact them and possibly get a sponsorship? What are the best methods of getting a job across the pond? Thank you for your time. Steve Bazay
   Steve Bazay - Monday, 09/29/03 22:15:06 EDT

As a notorious bookslut I'm in heaven! According to the tracking info the copy of "Steel Before Bessemer, Vol 1 Blister Steel, Vol 2 Crucible Steel" is on it's way! Of course I spent about 1/2 of what I made selling stuff at Quad-State; but after several months of "No New Books" I'll have something new to read on a cold day while curled up around a warm anvil shaped object.

Ric had a copy at his demo and the first thing I did when I got home was to sit down and search for it---still wearing my coat! Now if I could only sell my plasma to afford Alan William's latest...(The Red Cross has first dibs on it and they don't pay; least not in what book dealers accept)

Thomas---I hope it gets here in time for next weekends hammer-in!
   Thomas P - Monday, 09/29/03 22:47:03 EDT


I have been solo smithing for about three years now, but lately I am moving into two man work and I am buying my set tools. My question is : What is the best striking tool to use to extend the life of these tools? At forty and fifty dollars new it would seem a shame to beat them with a sledge. Would a brass or lead maul be better? Or am I to accept these tools as durable expendables?
   Myke - Monday, 09/29/03 22:55:07 EDT

Thomas P - Bookslut? Heheheh. I guess that's one way to put it. Still unsure of the weekend's plans for me but am daring to hope against hope that I'll find a way to meet up with you folks at the hammer-in.

Thanks for all the answers (Guru, Frank, Jerry) on hot and cold work of nickel silver, very much appreciated. One thing I looked for and missed - It's stated that this material work-hardens quickly. Annealing process? Same as brass? Copper? Markedly different?

Frank Turley - I wondered guiltily if I was eating too much bandwidth on the qigong thread with you. Many apologies to the guru, but it was a good discussion and managed to spawn a couple thoughtful responses, so this is good.
   Two Swords - Tuesday, 09/30/03 01:48:49 EDT

TWO SWORDS; I, for one, enjoyed the dialog between you and Frank. I've been exposed to the qi concept, and feel that it's a viable one. I've met and visited with Frank, and my own wife at the age of 57, has taken up Aikido. Need I say more ?
   3dogs - Tuesday, 09/30/03 03:58:55 EDT

Addendum; A healthy smith is a BETTER smith.
   3dogs - Tuesday, 09/30/03 04:03:08 EDT

Thanks for the photo and dimensions of the tinners anvil. At 30-40 lbs it should be just right for a little girl not yet 2 yrs old. Do you have any idea of the thickness of the body? I know that the face was a bit wider than the body, but I am not sure by how much. I have been thinking of scaling up this design to the 500-600 lb range, adding a second hardy and eliminating the edging groove and stake. It would be simple job to have forged or flame cut and I think this would be similar to many of the older hornless european anvils. By the way, are you planning to post the other pictures you took of the anvil? If not, could you email them to me? Thanks a bunch.
   Patrick Nowak - Tuesday, 09/30/03 07:28:31 EDT

Hi guys and gals

I got my forge today its 2foot 2 wide by 3 foot 2 long its got a buffalo basin and a sydney rapid blower its pretty cool as far as forges go. Also free anvils just keep coming my way i have got another rather larger anvil (well bigger than my 101lb soderfors coming my way with a swage block and some hand tools. i am hoping to borrow a digital camera so stay tuned.

Fantastic day in Oz today got sunburnt playing tennis all day

cheers for now
   banjo - Tuesday, 09/30/03 07:58:35 EDT

Forgot to mention

my mum bought the forge over in the back of her landcruiser almost 600 k's. When we were having a coffee i mentioned that i would really like a post leg vice, she asked did i have picture of one. So i got out the book "the art of Blacksmithing" and "the artist blacksmith" and showed her. She said "o yes we have one of those in the back shed". My mum is such a horder she usually has one of everything i want and sometimes i even get a choice of colour.

   banjo - Tuesday, 09/30/03 08:06:56 EDT

Two Swords -

Nickel silver anneals pretty much the same as any of the copper alloys, yes. Heat to low red, quench. To keep firescale to a minimum, quench in 10% sulfuric acid or a jeweler's pickling solution such as Sparex #2.

Banjo - Good for you! I wish I was so fortunate. Now get busy and start making things! (grin)
   vicopper - Tuesday, 09/30/03 08:35:02 EDT

Thanks for the answers everyone.

Thomas, I will proberbly be day tripping to Bath in the near future (50 miles! :) )and I have Tylecote, metalurgy in prehistoric britain or similar.

Steve Bazay, in the UK, there were only two places teaching blacksmithing formally 5 years ago and you had to arrange your own work placement. I wanted to learn (more) and looked, very few smiths, IN BUISNESS, were willing to take an apprentice unless trained (point to you) and most of those were welder / smiths. Where I eventually went was Ďthe Wessex Guild of Smithsí, I hope there still going as I am now forgeless and looking to get back into it.

Try the British Artists Blacksmith Assocation (BABA), Wessex Guild isnít on the web as far as I know.
   Nigel - Tuesday, 09/30/03 08:56:50 EDT

Tinner's Anvil: Patrick, Maybe my word dimensions were not clear. The face was about 3-1/2" wide by MY guess (which is usualy pretty close). The bottom of the stake looks to be 1-1/2" to 2" (the curve drop off there makes it difficult to guess). It is square on the bottom so the sides of the anvil taper from the face to bottom and were fairly flat. There is a little curvature inward from the face but no more than 3/16".

When forging these things they are tapered in all directions to save material. This CAN be done by flame cutting but takes a pretty nice machine. You would cut the side tapers (the deep direction) from a rectangular slab first then cut the profile after leveling one of the sides to the plane of the torch.

The modern alternative is to make it out of flat plate and forget the tapering sides (the way my stump anvil drawing shows). This increases the weight and ALSO does not waste material. It is not as beautiful of a tool but it would be close and quite functional. Heavy chamfers done artisticaly can greatly improve the look of slab cut tools/anvils.

I only photographed this one view. I DO have photos of many other odd and rare anvils that I am working on posting in the news.

If you are interested in making a large anvil from flame cut plate I have some very nice designs that have that ancient Medieval look and are quite manufacturable. My best design has a machined hardy hole (shaper or end mill) in one horn and is welded on such that you would have to look VERY close to figure out how it was done.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/30/03 11:55:24 EDT

I've heard that lead springs from cars make really good swords, I was wondering if this is true and if it is, what should I quench it in? Thank you.
   Ben - Tuesday, 09/30/03 12:11:12 EDT

Thanks for the clarification of the anvil dimensions. I am thinking of trying to get the guys at work to forge it for me. This job would probably take them less than 10 minutes-less if they could upset the steel into a form. I certainly would like to see the designs that you have. I know some of them have been posted in other areas of the site. My idea for the big version of this anvil would be basically the same profile as the one pictured, except there would be no stake. Again, this would be easy to forge or cut from plate. I was thinking of having the hardy hole cut w/water jet, but that may be to expensive. Thanks again for your help.
   Patrick Nowak - Tuesday, 09/30/03 12:40:04 EDT

Leaf Springs: Ben, These are medium to high carbon steel and are suitable to make a sword. But so is brass, bronze, SS and numerous other metals. Unless you are planing murder then mild steel, 304 stainless and even aluminium can be used to make a wall hanger (something pretty to look at).

If you are going to forge a sword an automobile leaf spring is too big (except those off the smallest sports cars and they no longer use leaf springs). A torsion bar or coil spring when flattened is a better starting cross section.

ALL found or recycled materials such as automotive springs are what we call "Junk Yard Steels". These are ALL mystery steels. Manufacturers can use ANY steel that suits their purpose and change steels often based on availability and economics.

As soon as you decide to use Junk Yard Steel YOU must become the metallurgist. Each piece must be examined and tested to determine its suitability for your use. In the small shop testing is done by trial and error based on a significant knowledge of how steels behave.

Start at the beginning. See our getting started page. Read some books on metals and heat treating. Study some art and history that applies to armour while you are at it. Knife, sword and weapon making it the top of the blacksmithing profession. It is not where you start.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/30/03 12:55:23 EDT

I am looking for hardies and fullers, where can I find them. I also was looking at someoneelse's forge and they don't line it with either brick or refractory won't this ruin the forge?
   mahaffeyesq - Tuesday, 09/30/03 13:28:59 EDT

I am a sculptor and I have been working with metals for over 30 years. My concern is to limit my efforts in rebuilding, if the forge does not need to be lined then I won't. I have use several refractories for kilns and melters but I was taken back by this. The hardies are for special designs I have and I have found them to be most difficult to find. That and a blacksmith's vice are impossible to find. I am using a cheap chinese anvil which is replacing a piece of rail. The rail has proven to be quite a good tool.
   - mahaffeyesq - Tuesday, 09/30/03 13:52:43 EDT

My concern is that the anvil can be replaced the hardies can't so the older ones are the ones to find. Probably pre-ww1. I have a hand driven blower and that really heats metal up quickly. But again it is over 100 years old and is really built. I missed out on my grandfather's anvil and vice but I have the tongs and blower. The vice is a pipe slider type that was also used prior to ww1. That is one thing I would like. But WHERE???
   - mahaffeyesq - Tuesday, 09/30/03 13:56:35 EDT


Our advertisers Centaur Forge and Kayne and Son both sell a variety of hardie tools and fullers. They both sell blacksmiths vises. You can also find used tools at tailgate sales at blacksmithing events. There were hundreds of vises most for less than $150 at the recent SOFA event I just attended. See our Calendar of Events page for upcoming events.

If you are looking for the fancy decorative work hardie tools with curved surfaces, saddles, beaks then these are most often made by the smith that needs them. Ocassionaly someone makes them in low production. There was a fellow last weekend that had some nice beak irons. Several years ago a fellow from Florida was having a set taken from Diderot's cast in tool steel but he has stopped production. Most production tools are of the simplest patterns. Years ago you could get a wide range of radius fullers but today there are only a few available (See KAYNEandSON.com).

For special hardie shapes see our iForge page. There are several articles on making tools.

Some coal forges require lining and others do not. Those that do require lining do not need a refractory clay. Ordinary sculpting clay, or red clay mud will work. Some folks mix a little portland cement in the clay to make it more stable. However, castable refractory is more durable.

Forges with steel pans do not need to be lined and deep cast iron forges that usualy have a bed of ash in them to get to working level do not need lining. Heavy cast iron forges can do without but the thin cast iron forges often crack from excessive heat.

Ususaly when you see brick in a cast iron forge it is to raise the firepot. I have an old Buffalo forge that the pan is about 8" deep and 5" at the cutouts. This is still too deep for most work. So bricks were uses to raise the bed and firepot 2-1/2" leaving about 2-1/2" at the cut outs and 5" overall.

Most modern forges are built from steel plate with a cast firepot. The steel plate is not subject to cracking so no lining is needed.

Other big old tools are where you find them. New large vises are expensive. The tailgaters this past weekend had many blacksmiths vises but very few machinists vises. Heavy machinists vices are most often found at used machinery dealers. They are also available new from folks like McMaster-Carr.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/30/03 15:19:13 EDT

Blowing in the wind: Well nothing I tried worked so it's back to the drawing board. I look at my blower design now and feel stupid - it funnels the wrong way and it's a flat rectangle. I think I decided that using a blower would free me from all the subtleties of a venturi driven burner. The idea being that power would replace design. I was woz rong!

So it's back to a cylindrical burner and a stepped flare on the nozzle. Any advice on how to carve out a round hole in the wall of my already cured refractory shell? Here's another instance where kaowool has the advantage.

This has not been a good day for Brute Force and Ignorance.

   adam - Tuesday, 09/30/03 16:14:47 EDT

Mahaffeyesq: here's my 2c

Leg vises in decent condition can be found for $50-$125 depending on size and condition. It's common for some or all of the mounting hardware to be missing but this is easily solved. Main thing is the condition of the jaws and the screw. I often see vices for sale on www.keenjunk.com under scrapbin. Ebay is another source but you have to be careful and I wouldnt recommend it to a newcomer. Mostly bigger is better. You can do small work in a big vice but not vice versa :)

A piece of rail is a decent substitute for an anvil if you are only doing light work - for heavy work the web is too springy. IMO the nicest anvils are those made before WW1 but you have to be quite knowledgeable to shop for one of these otherwise you can end up spnding big bucks on an ancient piece of junk. Very good anvils for a reasonable price are available from http://euroanvils.net/ and www.oldworldanvils.com. I havent tried their stuff but I have heard only good reports. Also, a very serviceable Russian anvil is available from Harbor Freight for about $100. See Quenchcrack's review of this anvil at www.anvilfire.com/21centbs/index.htm. Dont go smaller than 100#. HF also sells the junk cast iron anvils sometimes advertised as "steel" ("steal" would be more appropriate) stay clear of these unless you are looking for a nice doorstop/conversation piece.

Smiths make a lot of their own tools. Hardie tools are easily made if you have an arc welder and grinder. Most tools are made out of ordinairy mild steel with a piece of 1" (or whatever size your hardy hole is) sq tubing welded on to the bottom. There is a wonderful book by Schmirler, Werk und Werkzeug des Kunstschmieds (Blacksmith's Work and Tools), that has beautiful water color pictures of the tools in their shop.
   adam - Tuesday, 09/30/03 16:46:52 EDT

Adam, Just reducing the diameter of the pipe will increase the velocity of the fuel/air mixture. It sounded like the burner pipe was a LOT too big so you shouldn't have to cut out the existing hole.

On NC forges the burners have a thick wall and the ID is only about 1/2". They use two of these on the most popular forges. On those home built with 3/4" schedule 40 pipe the hole is just a tad over 3/4". That is just a hair over twice the area of the NC burners and why ONE works where you would have two of the NC burners (-.50 sqin). Your 3/4" x 3" inlet has the area of 12 NC burners. . . This is enough for a very large forge.

My small blower burner fed two different furnaces with over 1 cubic foot (1728 in.3) volume each and large openings. The outlet was roughly 1-1/8" diameter. It draws fuel at a rate that requires 100 gallon propane tank to prevent freeze up.

Forges must have a balance between the burner size and the enclosed volume no matter what type of burner you use. The blower type are much more forgiving and very easy to build but you cannot put a large oversize burner on too small a forge.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/30/03 16:49:20 EDT

More About HF anvils: Those anvils and tools marked "Central Forge" are not from any specific maker. This is a Harbor Frieght or Importers "house brand". The Russian anvils in our report have the Central Forge tag. But so do many tools with CHINA indelibly marked on them.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/30/03 16:55:36 EDT

Cutting a refractory hole.

If you used insulating refractory, then a regular hole-saw would probably do, as that stuff isn't as dense as hard brick. For soft fire brick I filed some teeth in the end of a pipe and "drilled" with that.

For harder material I noticed an abrasive/diamond hole-saw in the H/W store. Instead of teeth, it had a ring of diamond chips glued to the end. Maybe that would work. I think they're meant to cut glass.

   MarcG - Tuesday, 09/30/03 17:20:50 EDT


I am doing mostly small work in conjunction with my foundry and kilns. But I wanted to find out the best way to line a forge. Though I have built many a kiln and melting metal is second nature. I was just confused by the lack of refractory. I noticed that someone wss asking about Forging nonferrous metals.
These work harden and therefore must be annelled often. Quenching for copper and silver air cooled for brass. Use a pickling compound to remove fire scale. Do not allow steel to get anywhere near the Pickling compound. It causes a galvanic. If you don't remove the fire scale then it will wafer into the metal causing flaking. If you are on a tight budget try vanish toilet bowl cleaner, It has bisodium sulfate the main ingredient in pickling compounds. It is cheap. The smell is not however but if you quench first just heat the compound to about 150 and you will not have so much stink. This is good for large pieces. At my site www.geocities.com/mahaffeyesq, I have a copper piece that is over 30 inches across. I mopped vanish and water on with a sponge and remove it with a light spray back into the glass container.
   - mahaffeyesq - Tuesday, 09/30/03 19:43:29 EDT

Check out Richard Helzer's work, he is the best at teaching nonferrous forming. Also look up old hot rod mag's about body working they have to thicken metal sometimes and that is really helpful in forming nonferrous. There is a book about jewelry making done about the turn of the century 1900 that talks about forming. Also oppi ultrich's book metal forming techniques is good. I will post them later today.
   - mahaffeyesq - Tuesday, 09/30/03 19:48:18 EDT

I picked up some 3/16" x 10ft stainless rods at a salvage yard recently. They've got crates of em and I thought I found a gold mine at a buck a piece. So I bought a few to try. Problem is, any forged areas get a light rust when exposed to the elements. I used a stainless wire wheel to polish the forged areas so I know its not a transfer problem from the wheel. Seems like the heat of forging burned away the "stainless" portion of the alloy.Is this common? What stainless should be used to avoid this situation? I think I've used 304 in the past with no probnlems. Thanks!
   Dave C - Tuesday, 09/30/03 20:36:10 EDT

Adam -

I make my own hole saws for firebrick and concrete by taking worn out hole saws and grinding notches in the rim and brazing in teeth taken out of defunct carbide tipped saw blades. It doesn't matter what the orientation of the teeth is, they're operating in an abrasive mode, rather than a chiseling mode.

Dave C. -

Most stainless will rust to some degree after forging, dur to two things. One is the transfer of iron to the surface by hitting the stock with steel hammers on a steel anvil face. The other, andmain culprit, is the loss of the chromium oxide layer at the surface. It is the CrO2 layer that makes stainless "stainless." To remove the free iron, you can either pickle it in citric acid (20% solution) or electrostrip the surface. Of course, simply sanding off the offending layer will do the job, too.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 09/30/03 20:59:04 EDT

I've got a stainless problem too... I picked up some 304 stainless 1/4" x 1" and am trying to forge weld the sucker... is this folly in a propane forge? I'm using a Whisper Momma at 9lbs of propane. Gets it hot enough to move, but so far no luck in welding. (I doubled it over onto itself in the middle for a practice weld... more practice... more practice... more practice... sigh...)...
Is borax enough or do I need a different flux? Should I be using 303 stainless? Is that a bit kinder to the forging process? Thanks! ~Joe

Gettin' chilly tonight in the land of the Pilgrims...
   Rodriguez - Tuesday, 09/30/03 20:59:43 EDT

Rodriguez -

I doubt very seriously if you'll ever be able to forge weld stainless. Certainly not with anything less than a flourine based flux and an inert atmosphere. Even then, I don't think it can be done. The chromium forms oxides too rapidly. Someone may have a way of doing it, but I've never heard of it.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 09/30/03 22:13:40 EDT

Forge Welding Stainless: Rodriguez, You might need to rev up the NC a little farther. Flux for stainless must be more agressive than borax. The chrome oxide is difficult to remove and will not weld. Laminated steel makers use borax plus 5 to 10% flourite (flourspar) powder. Not just any flourite will do, you need flux grade. This is available from ceramics suppliers like Kickwheel Pottery Supply (see our links page). When using flourite you get flourine fumes so you need much better than the normal ventilation.

I do not recommend using this kind of flux in an NC Forge unless it is well coated with ITC-100, ITC-200 and has a sacrificial floor cover.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/30/03 22:20:57 EDT

quick question guru,
how exactly do you temper an edge on a blade?
thank you
emin muil
   emin muil - Tuesday, 09/30/03 22:53:15 EDT


Sorry, but that's not a quick question. What kind of blade, made out of what alloy of steel, how big, what do you have avalable, etc. Go to the FAQ's on the pull down menu on the top right hand side of this page. When you get to the FAQ's scroll down to the one labelled "Heat Treating". Start from there. When you have finished reading that, if you still have questions (and you will) come back here and ask again.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/30/03 23:57:15 EDT

I do believe several folks that do pattern-weld billets do exactly that.... forge weld SS. But as you said flourspar is used in the flux.
   Ralph - Wednesday, 10/01/03 03:00:48 EDT

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