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Can you tell me how to heat quench and temper a2?
I understand preheat to 1450 then raise to 1750 and soak. Well what does soak mean. Then quench in still air.Now I don't know what to do. What does temperimmediately mean. Boy sure wished I went to class.
   roger - Tuesday, 08/31/04 21:47:53 EDT


Jock is having network connection problems due to the flooding in Richmond. Be patient, he'll answer your questions as soon as he can.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 08/31/04 21:51:41 EDT

rodger, while I am not GURU nor am I one of the guru helpers, I will take a small stab at teh answers.
Soak is leting the material sit at a specific temp for a specific time to allow it to all get to an even and uniform temp thru and thru.
Temper immediately means after quenching in still air you need to draw the temper right away. Which means you will be heating to a specific temp ( depending on what it is you are doing) Tempering will be removing some of the hardness that you just made, but will be 'adding' toughness or resiliancy

Now all this is just laymans terms. Perhaps quenchcrack will chime in.....?
   Ralph - Tuesday, 08/31/04 23:56:30 EDT

Hayes, in that case the best 'natural' finish is either stainless steel that has been passivated after forging, or ceramic.... (grin)
   Ralph - Tuesday, 08/31/04 23:58:16 EDT

Thanks Ralph,

How do you passivate stainless steel?
   Hayes - Wednesday, 09/01/04 01:02:38 EDT

Would anyone be able to suggest how I might be able to find and purchase pre fabricated billets of mokume? I don't have the facillities to make it myself.
   Mark Macdonald - Wednesday, 09/01/04 02:01:00 EDT

I was wondering... I got my grubby mitts on some large stainless steel pipe flanges recently. I am told that they're 304, and from the discussion recently I would guess that they were forged, probably on a bulldozer. Can anyone chime in on the forgeability of 304, so I can figure out what to do with these? I would love to cut them up into billets and draw them out on my (future) power hammer...

Also, can anyone recommend a temperature for forging copper? Like, that nice red heat that it hits before it melts? Actual degrees would be nice if you know it, I may be using a pyrometer/temperature controller for these pieces.

The moon is bright in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Wednesday, 09/01/04 07:26:06 EDT

Targeted Virus Attack!

At my work address I have received e-mails from "Smithy" "kdk" and "Odempsey" with a "foto" zip attachment. The first looked a little fishy, so I didn't open it, and sure enough the NPS computer system stripped the other two of the virus programs.

What's disturbing is that this appears to be targeted to blacksmithing, so watch out out there.

I will also note that my NPS address is being spoofed around germany and Scandinavia with virus attachments, so if you get something unexpected from me with an attachment, feel free to contact me first before opening.

Why can the virus writers go after the spammers, and leave us in peace?
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 09/01/04 07:53:45 EDT


That should be "Why can't..." Oh, and Germany, not germany. I was in a hurry, lest somebody open one of these nasties.

Natural Rust Finishes:

Simple, you send your servant out every morning to clean and wax the pieces. Make sure he doesn't flirt with the laundrywomen or your cook. (Ah, for the good old days and a large labor pool...)

Decarburization of Blades:

One method the Scandinavians use (from the iron age to the present) was to lay a piece of higher carbon steel between two pieces of low carbon steel or wrought iron to form a sandwich for the blade stock. Simple, tough, sharp. I keep one, made by Mora in the early '70s with wrought iron, in my ditty bag for sailing and rigging requirements. I've also observed that a lot of people, both historically and when dealing with hand-forged knives, have mentioned that they seemed to hold an edge better with age. Some folks in the 19th and early 20th centuries even had a theory about the steel maturing to explain this phenomenon. I think that it's more easily explained by the sharpening process working down past marginal decarburization to the higher carbon core of the forged knife. Paw Paw has already mentioned the thick-forge-thin-grind tradition.

So here’s what I’m wondering about: One noted knifemaker spend a lot of time grinding ALL of the decarburized steel from his blades. So, my question is- why bother? As long as you get to the good, high carbon core, wouldn't the lower carbon sides and spine only serve to toughen and support the cutting edge like the composite Scandinavian blades mentioned above? As long as folks are aware of the process, I think you could take advantage of it. If your objective is a very light, thin blade, use a reducing atmosphere or straight stock removal. Otherwise, I think you can take advantage of the variable carbon contents in the blade that result from the forging process, just as you take advantage of the variable temper between the spine and the edge. Forge thick, pay attention to getting to the good edge steel by grinding the edge geometry thin, and enjoy a tough, sharp knife without having to weld-up a laminated or pattern welded blade. Maybe not as pretty, but easier and effective, which does hint at a level of sophistication.

As always, your realities may vary.

Sunny and cool on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org

Camp Fenby Autumn Session: November 12-14
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 09/01/04 08:34:21 EDT

T.Gold: 304 is forgeable, but will not harden. It's not knife-grade, in other words.

As for all-natural finishes, be careful what you wish for. As a button I used to have said, "Cyanide is all-natural too!" Other things on the unpleasant but totally 100% natural list include lead, mercury, strychnine, cadmium, uranium, radon, arsenic, beryllium, and so on. Gasoline is not only all-natural (being distilled from crude oil), it's 100% organic too. Ask a chemist.

A hard wax on as-forged stainless gives a nice effect without being shiny, and the rust streaks won't be too bad. That would be my recommendation, anyway.
   Alan-L - Wednesday, 09/01/04 08:47:27 EDT

Mokume. "Reactive Metals" in Clarkdale, Arizona.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 09/01/04 09:23:49 EDT

Penland School put out a T-shirt a few years back that said, "Rust Never Sleeps".
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 09/01/04 09:32:43 EDT

I'm in the process of building my first forge, and I was wondering where could I find firebrick? I only need one or two, so I'd like to buy local to avoid outrageous S&H.
   - patrick - Wednesday, 09/01/04 10:54:43 EDT

Targeted Viruses and Spam: These are both a creation of the same people. Currently SPAMMERS use virus type mail to infect your computer and take it over to use as a SPAM mailer. There are also the Hi-Jackers that caputer your browser so that you can only go to their sites. These are viruses written for economic gain and are a form of terrorism that effects more people than physical terrorists. The actual financial costs to the comunity are far greater too.

I have noticed these targeted spams for a couple months. They come with both forged names of people I know as well as randomly generated names. The subjects are taken from mails I have sent or received from others. The attachments are almost always double extension ZIPS.

The reason for double extension ZIPs is that most Windirt computers only display the first extension, so the file looks like an image or other harmless file. In fact it is a ZIP with multiple self launching components. The reason they are ZIPs is that the anit-virus softwares cannot break the encryption and detect the virus components.

The reason all this is getting SO sophisticated is that to date it has only been a war of technologies. The anti-virus companies and spam filter authors verses the crooks. Our government has turned a blind eye to SPAM and viruses. The result is that it has become a corporate tool. At this point there are already laws on the books that cover the type of fraud and forgery that is going on. But nothing is being done, nobody has been sent to jail.

The problem is not hard to solve. All these scams involve money transfered by credit card at some point. It is easy to track to the final profitteer.

The financial costs are not just in lost time and agrevation or lost cash to a scam. Almost every company of any size that has a computer network has a full time security person to constantly find and fix problems caused by viruses and spam. For many individuals and small businesses it has resulted in their scrapping perfectly good computers because they cannot rid themselves of the viruses that make the system nearly impossible to use. So they go out and buy NEW computers. . . I have known a half dozen people in my small circle of aquaintences to have done this. The total costs have to be in the billions as well as lost productivity. Time to write to your congressonal representitive.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/01/04 11:05:21 EDT

Fire Brick: Patrick, There are all kinds of refractory brick. They range from hard high alumina/zirconia bricks that are nearly as hard as diamond to insulating bricks that are so soft you can carve them with your fingers (not recommended). They also come in a wide variety of shapes. They all have different uses.

Common hard firebrick are avialable from most construction supply houses for lining fireplaces. Most will sell you just a few because that is all they sell to masonry contractors.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/01/04 11:28:28 EDT

Decarburization: Bruce, the problem is that the low carbon metal ends up on the outside, including the edge. The decarburized metal is also often oxidized and not very ductile, it tends to be not very good steel. Using laminates to obtain the hard/soft construction is a different matter.

In most cases the decarburization is not a great problem except in blades that are made from heavily forge welded steels such as cable Damascus and other laminated steels. Welding heats tend to decarburize a great deal more than forging heats. If forged efficiently using as few heats as possible the decarburized surface is a thin layer easily ignored or ground off in the finishing process. Forging thick prevents the edge from having decarburized material to the center which is possible with a thin edge.

Those that use machines for forging avoid repeated heats and thus the problem of excessive decarburization. So not only do you get a more efficient product you get a higher quality product.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/01/04 11:43:30 EDT

Mark Macdonald: Kovals knife supply sells them, I would assume other knife supply places might too, also you can try jewelery supply stores. Here's Koval's web address.

T. Gold: Typically copper is worked cold and only heated for annealing. I don't have specific temperatures for you, but to anneal it you want to heat it so it just barely glows in a darkened area, then quench in water.
   AwP - Wednesday, 09/01/04 11:57:43 EDT

Patrick: Guru mentioned there are multiple kinds available. Are you making the "one brick forge" with propane? If so then you need the soft ones to have enough radient heat. If you're making a coal or charcoal forge and using the bricks to line it, then you want the hard ones for durability.
   AwP - Wednesday, 09/01/04 12:00:16 EDT

Heat Treating A2: Roger, Ralph covered it pretty well.

"Soak" means to heat long enough for the heat to penetrate evenly through the part. You should not hold most steels at a high temperature any longer than necessary. Soak time vary with the thickness of the section.

Air quench also varies according to section thickness. Where a knife will air quench almost immediately in still air a thicker section may need moving air. A window fan a few feet away from the work provides enough movement for relatively heavy sections.

However, some air quench steels are also quenched in oil if the section is thick enough. AND some oil quench steels in air if thin enough.

Tempering is best done before a piece reaches room temperature. This avoids thermal stress to the newly hardened and very brittle piece of steel.

When hardening A2 parts I seal them in stainless foil, heat in the gas forge to a low to medium red, remove from the forge and strip off the foil letting the part cool. I shut down the forge when I removed the part. When the part is cool I put it back in the cooling forge to temper which is now ar 400 to 500 F.

Thick parts are often double tempered (retempered to be sure the whole part achieves tempering temperature).
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/01/04 12:04:54 EDT

I have seen texturing tools people made out of ball peen hammers by grinding the faces. I would like to know how you use them. Do you hit whatever you want to texture with it like it was a regular hammer? Or do you set it on the piece and beat the back of it the same way you would a top fuller? I would be grateful for some information.
   Noah Edwin Sanders - Wednesday, 09/01/04 12:49:48 EDT

Forging Copper:

We will be doing 2 large billets (about 18" od) later today. Temperature range is 1300-1600 F. Copper can be worked hot very well and is a joy to work compared to iron. It is much easier to lap and marr because because it is so soft at forging temp. Expect tong marks in the work. It will also pick up imperfections on you anvil/hammer much more easily that steel.

   Patick Nowak - Wednesday, 09/01/04 13:12:11 EDT

Patrick, Don't forget that copper and brass is denser than steel and considerably heavier for the same size.

18" OD. . . BIG STUFF!
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/01/04 13:25:22 EDT

Texturing: Noah, There are all kinds of ways to texture. To use a struck tool you will need a striker or power hammer due to the area. Otherwise you just hit the work with the texturing face. Never strike the ball end of the ball pien.

I've put ball pien textures on bars by hand but it is a TON of work to do well. The goal is to cover the entire surface with overlaping pien marks of nearly equal but slightly random size.

At the Big BLU B² Design Power Hammer School we textured bars several ways. The quickest was to strike the work at the middle of a combination die making offset marks due to the different face widths. As much bar as you could heat and handle was textured on both sides in one heat. The result was a flat but definately forged surface.

Big BLU Hammer also sells narrow fullering dies that produce a nice texture. They can be run parallel once or at a slight angle twice producing different effects. See the Big BLU Hammer dies page for dies and results.

At the Kayne and Son flypress demo Russell O'Dell used flat dies to press loose scale into flat bar to give it a scaled looking surface without heating the entire bar to a scaling heat.

The Kaynes also sell Grant Sarver's texturing tools that include ball pien and rubble textures. These need a power hammer or a press due to the surface area.

Production texturing and patterning is done on heavy rolling mills. This is often done cold
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/01/04 13:45:02 EDT

Patrick, thank you very much. That's exactly what I needed to know. I'll be using a polished stainless anvil and I plan on making some special tongs for these pieces too.

With regards to the 304, that is perfect. Billet-cutting time :)

Off to straighten a shaft in Kaneohe, Hawaii. (The shaft is in Kapolei!)
   T. Gold - Wednesday, 09/01/04 15:25:27 EDT

I have been trying to find the proper method for working 1018 ST tool steel. I’ve already looked up the MPDS for the steel in question but it didn’t have any methods for hot working or forging. Any info on this steel would be greatly appreciated.
   Kevin Brown - Wednesday, 09/01/04 15:41:54 EDT

hmmmm, 1018 is for the most part just plain old mild steel ( tho I am not sure what the ST means) FOr basic forging heat to a nice bright red to almost yellow, and forge.
   Ralph - Wednesday, 09/01/04 17:58:24 EDT

I'm a little concerned with that "ST" myself since 1018 is *not* "tool steel" but rather a good grade of mild steel and as such will not harden---a property intrinsic to a "tool steel".

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 09/01/04 18:34:17 EDT

T. Gold,
The pipe flanges of 304 SS probably were forged on a press, drop hammer or upsetter, in that order. If forged properly the grain flow should be axial to the pipe line, not around the od. 304 forges with a fair amount of force. Takes more force than carbon steel for the same reduction. If you can get a copy of the Carpenter Technologies book on stainless, all will be revealed.
304SS is the steel often chosen for sinks and other items needing fair oxidation resistance in an everyday environment. Remember to to use stainless wire brushs and grinder wheels/disks that have only been used on stainless, or are new. This will reduce the impregnation of carbon steel into the surface. This will reduce the chance of rusting, although a regular hammer and anvil will impart some palin steel. the oxidized surface from heating may tend to rust a bit as well. Cracking can occur from this rusting.
Stainless can be fun, but it helps to have a power hammer.
   ptree - Wednesday, 09/01/04 18:53:34 EDT

Thick and thin blades. Besides decarburization, there are a couple reasons for leaving a little thickness at the cutting edge before quenching. One is that it helps prevent warpage, especially on W1 and W2 steels, even though you may be quenching in oil (oil is used on water hardening steel if the cross sections are thin). Also,if the blade is very thin or sharp at the cutting edge before hardening, it will scale into "ash" at the hardenting heat. Who needs that?
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 09/01/04 18:55:01 EDT

Hayes, Actually Ralph did a pretty good job of explaining the process. The exact tempering temperature depends on how hard you want the piece when you are done. What are you making? How hard do you want it? As for passivating stainless steel, again, we need to know what kind of stainless steel. Different grades require different processes.
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 09/01/04 20:01:35 EDT

1018 ST? Kevin, please provide the standard and what country this steel is referenced from. Who says it is that grade?

SAE 1018 is a relatively low carbon "mild steel" as mentioned by Ralph.

I've never heard of an MPDS. An MSDS is a standard US Materials Safety Data Sheet and has nothing to do with forgability or heat treating specs.

A google search says:

MPDS stands for Mobile Packet Data Service

MPDS 2003 Workshop on Management and Processing of Data Streams.

Myeloproliferative diseases (MPDs) are diseases
in which one or more of the types of cells that make ...

If these terms came form other people then I recommend you get a Machinery's Handbook and do some reading. See our book reviews on old and new Machinery's.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/01/04 22:33:04 EDT

I once saw a blacksmith demonstrate having too many irons in the fire. I saw the metal rods heat up beyond red hot, blister and then when he took a rod to the anvil and hammered, it looked like it shattered into pieces and flakes. The lesson was that if you have too many irons in the fire, you can't get to them all before they overheat, blister up and become worthless. (Did I get this right?) I have been asked to write an article for a business magazine on the consequences of having too many irons in the fire, and I'd like to include some ideas as to how many ways you can ruin a piece of iron in the fire and be able to relate it to business situations like when people get distracted, overbusy, stressed, etc. From your web site, I get the feeling that we might be able to mix a bit of fact with a bit of humor to get a good article. I'd love to hear a story or two along the way if you have the time and let me know where to call.
   - Mack Arrington - Wednesday, 09/01/04 22:50:21 EDT

Contaminating Stainless: In the real world large stainless parts are forged with carbon steel dies handled with carbon steel rigging, machined on cast iron machines with steel chucks and carbide or HSS cutters, measured with carbon steel tools, strapped down with carbon steel straps, chains and rigging to steel truck beds and removed with carbon steel fork lift forks. . .

In the modern Nuclear industry where none of the current engineers had anything to do with the construction of the plants they ocassionaly get fanatical about carbon steel touching stainless parts costing a LOT of money and agrevation . . . UNTIL, hopefully, someone with some common sense explains life to them. But there are less and less of our sort around to do the explaining or willing to tell plant managers their hot shot engineers are full of waste products.

The really SNEAKY contamination of SS parts in nuclear plants is from the cobalt in the cutting tools used to make repairs. . . Cobalt becomes highly radioactive when exposed to the neutron radiation of an operating reactor. Very nasty. . . Also, tests for contaminates do not readily distinquish between irradiated cobalt and un irradiated cobalt.

When working stainless in the small blacksmith shop just be sure to clean your forge and wipe the scale and any grinding dust from your anvil or other hot work tools before you start. Most of the contamination comes from scale.

Then as mentioned, be sure to use a stainless wire brush for cleanup. DO NOT use a stainless brush or grinding wheel that has been used on plain steel. The tips of the wires will be contaminated and this will embed in surface of the stainless and rust.

If you are doing a chemical passivation with strong acids it doesn't matter. . .

My experiance with as-forged 304 stainless with scale left on is that it can go 25 years with almost no discoloration and absolutely NO corosion. Discoloration consists of minor dark red foxing of some of the scale. If this is waxed it turns a dark brown that is almost indistinguishable from the blue black scale.

When hand forging stainless you need to work it HOT. Anything in the red is too cool and will result in excessive force to work it. You cannot work stainless like mild steel. If 304 is your material then quenching the work from a high heat will anneal it and result in higher corrosion resistance.

When making things of stainless it pays to use ALL stainless hardware. Nuts, bolts, screws, rivets. Very nice kitchenware can be made with black scaled forged handles and bright polished bowls and blades.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/01/04 23:06:56 EDT

Too many irons in the fire: Mack, In blacksmithing just ONE iron can be too many if you are repeatedly disturbed. When demonstrating it is common to stop working while explaining something to the audiance and end up burning a piece. It is one reason I enjoyed demonstrating with the bellows as it quits when you quit. Unless you forget to quit that too. . .

A coal or charcoal fogre gets hot enough to melt or set fire to the steel. In eather case the work is ruined. When doing production work it is common to put more than one iron in the fire. Forging times are short comared to heating times. Several are heating while the smith forges another so he dosn't have to wait between pieces. Too many irons in the fire usualy means that one or more get burned up.

A story:
The Farmer and the Blacksmith

While plowing one day a farmer hit a large piece of iron in his field and broke his plow. Ieee! An unlucky accident, but the piece he hit was big enough to make a new plow with some left over. Not ALL bad luck the farmer thought. So off to the blacksmith he went.

He gave the big piece to the blacksmith and told him what he wanted. Then he went to do the rest of his errands while the smith worked. The smith put the big piece in the forge and started heating it. About that time the smith's wife came to the shop to ask what he wanted for lunch and they go into an argument. When he looked over at the forge there was a stream of white sparks leaping from the fire indicating that the steel was on fire. He quickly pulled the big sparkling iron out and quenched it to put out the fire! The steel went phhhhtttt..... in the water raising a cloud of steam.

So the smith started again. He didn't have enough iron to make the farmer a plow so he thought he would make him a hoe. About the time the iron was ready to work a customer came in to pick up a job and after paying wanted to talk politics. When the smith remembered he had a piece in the forge he looked over and there was a stream of white sparks leaping from the fire again! He quickly pulled the iron out and quenched it in water to put out the fire. The steel went phhhhttt.... in the water.

SO. . the smith started again. He didn't have enough iron to make the farmer a hoe so he thought he would make him a hook to harvest fruit with. He put the small piece of iron in the fire and started heating it. About this time the village Priest came by collecting for the orphan's fund as he did every month. The smith gave him his donation and commented on how he had enjoyed last Sundays sermon. As he was saying goodby to the Priest the smith remembered the small piece in the forge he looked over and there was a stream of white sparks leaping from the fire again! He quickly pulled the iron out and quenched it in water to put out the fire. The steel went phhhhttt... in the water and made a little puff of steam. There was not enough left to make anything for the farmer. . . The remaining piece was too burnt to make anything of it.

When the farmer came to collect his plow he was met by a very sad smith. When he asked what was wrong the smith told the farmer about his day. So the farmer asked, well what DID you make?

And the smith replied, "A phhhhttt.. "

As told by a gentleman farmer to myself while demonstrating blacksmithing. - Jock Dempsey

   - guru - Wednesday, 09/01/04 23:47:30 EDT

actually I usually try not to get too involved into descriptions of the metalurgical details because at best I am a seat of the pants sort of guy. Lots of trial and error and reading but no real book learning on it. I figure I can sorta push them toward y'all with the real learning and all
   Ralph - Thursday, 09/02/04 00:27:53 EDT

Ralph, I try to push them toward BOOKS!
   - guru - Thursday, 09/02/04 00:41:48 EDT

Guru, that is the better answer..... but I was in a weak moment last night... (smile)
   Ralph - Thursday, 09/02/04 09:47:47 EDT

For those that are in the possible path of Hurricane Frances:

This thing looks really big and powerful. If youdon't prepare for it, you'll hate yourself if it comes anywhere near you. The damage to equipment from water, wind, etc can be devastating, even to the sort of heavy duty tools that blacksmiths use. If you have any power or machine tools, or any other tools that use bearings, ways or accurate surfaces, you need to protect them BEFORE they get hosed down. Particularly if you are near enough to the ocean to get saltwater contamination.

Saltwater is the absolute death of anything electrical or having close tolerances. The only rescue for inundation by saltwater is immediate rinsing with copious quantities of fresh water. Unfortunately, after a hurricane hits there is usually no water available due to the utilities being down. Every minute that equipment is left with saltwater on or in it is destructive. STORE as much fresh water as you can, ahead of time.

Machine tools can be liberally coated with a good preservation lube such as LPS-3, motorcycle chain lube, or cosmoline. It may not be a lot of fun cleaning it off later, but that is still way better than tossing out an expensive piece of equipment becaus you didn't take proper precautions. Believe me, putting a tarp over your equipment won't do much at all.

In a hurricane, the winds drive the water into every little nook and cranny, no matter how well you try to cover things down. Having things protected with a non-rinsable petroleum or wax barrier is much better! You still want to do the fresh water rinse as soon as possible, of course. Small tools like drill motors and such can be bagged, but I still give them a squirt of LPS-1 or WD-40 before bagging them. Better safe than sorry.

Another thing that you'll be happy that you thought of is DRY towels. Take a dozen rolls of paper towels or shop towels and double bag them in heavy garbage bags. They'll be worth their weight in gold when all your stuff is wet and you need something to dry it with.

I won't go into all the standard preparation stuff since you can get that elsewhere. But DO take care of your tools! And GOOD LUCK!
   vicopper - Thursday, 09/02/04 10:36:55 EDT

Is this an anvil off a powerhammer or otherwise. Any information greatly appreciated.

Ebay item number 3837497842
   Bob G - Thursday, 09/02/04 12:16:15 EDT

Bob G.,

Nope! Looks to me like a VERY old European Anvil, in excellen contition.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 09/02/04 12:22:25 EDT

I hate these photos that are too dark to see. .

It appears to be an old Mousehole sawyers anvil. Hornless types had a flare at the top and a narrower face. This one has a wide face and vertical sides typical of sawyers anvils. It would be a real collectors item in the US.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/02/04 13:01:17 EDT

Shdwdrgn,I my self wouldn't trust a 3/16 to hold that much.Rule of thumb, would I trust this with my life? If no DON'T! Alot depends on as you said, shock load,and fit tolerence. Bigger is better,and so is hardened material. An example;1/4" grd.8 chain,wll.4500 lbs. 3/8 is 5600, so you can see that a small amount of dia. makes alot of diffrence. Make sure that the fit is as tight as practicle. Less room for pin to bend and or fail. I have always used overkill on that kind of stuff.J
   - JES - Thursday, 09/02/04 14:30:52 EDT

It's old (early 1800's?) and the feet look to be English. Each foot has a rough triangular shape. Looks like there's a handling hole in the waist. I'm told that an old- time "saw doctor" carried in his wagon an anvil, hammer, and chalk or soapstone. He traveled from sawmill to sawmill in order to correct out-of-dish circular mill saws. The old saw blades had a slight dish which straightened out when they were run at speed. The "doctor" would study the blade, make a few chalk marks, hit the saw cold, and restore the correct shape. A "saw dentist" simply filed the teeth and gave them the proper set.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 09/02/04 14:33:32 EDT

A while ago I ran across an article on the web for making chain damascus that used a different approach than the stacking method.I can't remember where I saw it but the chain was rolled up somehow.Has anyone out there seen the likes of that?
   Chris Makin - Thursday, 09/02/04 16:49:32 EDT

Guru and anyone who might know,
I am working on a table right now. For the top I am using copper sheeting attached to a hard wood backer. The table legs and supports will look like grape vines when it's all done and I want to color the copper with a pattern of grape leaves. My thought is to use actual leaves to "acid etch" the pattern on the copper. I think I can do this by wetting the leaves and letting nature take it's course. If this fails I was thinking of soaking the leaves in amonia and then (in a well ventilated area) applying the leaves to the copper. Does anyone know if either of these methods will work or if there is a faster and more sure way to get the same result?
Thanks for any help,
   Will - Thursday, 09/02/04 19:46:55 EDT

Roller Chain Damascus Chris, See our FAQ on the subject.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/02/04 20:14:41 EDT

Will, Copper takes some pretty strong chemicals to etch. You might consider covering the surface with leaves as you want, then spraying on a hot wax or pitch resist, removing the leaves and then etching. On the other hand, smooth leaves and an etched background might look best. Make a grape leaf cutout or two and spray the leaf patterns and them etch.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/02/04 20:19:19 EDT


Ammonia just isn't going to cut as a mordant for copper. (Sorry, couldn't "resist" the pun.) You'll find that a ferric chloride solution or a 30% nitric acid solution will be more appropriate.

For an interesting effect, you might consider using printed circuit board photoresist and exposing it with wet leaves as the masque. The varying degrees of translucencyu of the leaves might create some nice patterns. It would take some experimenting, though.

If you use the leaves as stencils, you can roll asphaltum resist over them with a foam paint roller. To keep the leaves from flopping around while the rolling is going on, LIGHTLY spray them with 3M #77 spray adhesive before placing them on the copper. Let the spray adhesive dry pretty much before sticking the leaves down. After the asphaltum is rolled on, but before it has fully haredened, lift the leaves off, exposing the uncoated copper.

When etching, watch the edges of the resist for any lifting. If you see any, stop and rinse, dry and repair before proceeding with the etch.
   vicopper - Thursday, 09/02/04 21:51:28 EDT

Maybe I used the wrong term. I don't actually want to etch into the surface of the copper. I want to change the color of it. I know that finger prints will tarnish the polished surface and I am looking to do something similar with the leaves. I think copper colored leaves on the table top would contrast too much with the blackened leaves I have made for the frame. I intend to clear coat the top after I have created the leafe pattern and then have a glass top made to protect the copper from anything that would be set on it. Does this change your recomendations?
   Will - Thursday, 09/02/04 23:53:16 EDT

Howdy,I might get some springs,1/4"coil. The question is...Has anyone ever looped a piece and used it for a hilt- Forge welded to the blade? Also the technique, for same. All info welcome...J
   - Jimmy Seale - Friday, 09/03/04 03:50:23 EDT

A neighbor runs one of the few up-and-down sawmills in operation and has asked me to make a couple log dogs for him. A log dog is basically a large, 24", staple and is used to hold logs down for hewing, notching, etc.

My question is, what would I make these out of? Since they're hammered into logs, I would expect something tougher than mild steel, but maybe not. And, if it is other than mild, should the ends be hardened?


   - MarcG - Friday, 09/03/04 08:10:35 EDT


I've made several of these for folks, and I just used mild steel, water quenched.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 09/03/04 08:14:45 EDT


Sorry about mis-spelling your name, I have a cousin named Mark, and habit took over.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 09/03/04 08:47:05 EDT

Marc, A-36 is not so mild and they used to be made of wrought iron without steel points. If you insist on something tougher I would use SAE 1030 or 4140 and use as forged (not quenched).
   - guru - Friday, 09/03/04 09:59:00 EDT

Steel Hilt; Jimmy:

I drill and drift my hilts to size, usually to get a custom fit to the sword or knife. I also use wrought iron or mild steel rather than spring stock. Much easier to work and you don’t need the strength unless you’re going for a really thin hilt, which would make a ticklish tempering challenge.

1/4” sounds awfully small, what size knife are you looking at. I guess you could forge weld it, but historically, integral hilts were forged out of the knife stock rather than appliquéd.

Log Dogs; Marc:

If you want to get real fancy, I made a couple out of coiled car spring from smaller sedans. Just remember to normalize so that they're not brittle. (Test for brittle- lay them on a piece of wood and whomp them with a sledge. Wear safety glasses.) They don't bend up quite as bad as mild steel when you pry them out of the log. With mild steel, like Paw Paw suggests, you'd just use a heavier section for a similar result. Just a matter of best balence for the job they're being put to, and materials available.

Flood Preparation & Preservation; VICopper:

Good stuff for anybody in a flood-prone area. I just received a call from one of my Fed friends who's been evacuated to Atlanta. Turns out that their lease was on a hundred year flood plane and they think that this may be the 100th year. 8-0

Looks like a nice day on the banks of the Potomac, though.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org

Camp Fenby Autumn Session: November 12-14
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 09/03/04 10:13:59 EDT

I think I would dip the leaves in ferric chloride and then press them to the surface with a block of wood with some closed cell foam or perhaps just foam rubber in between to get even pressure---you can test out this procedure using cheap sheet steel or copper valley material.

Marc, I was reading and thinking, hmmm I'd go with a coil sping for material and normalize it---then read Bruce's post. Either way these are "shop consumables" for an active sawmill and you should expect to replace them sometime in the future.

   Thomas P - Friday, 09/03/04 10:52:47 EDT

Log Dogs: Replace or repoint as needed. .

Copper Table: The oxidized leaf pattern in the copper is a bad idea. Although copper is difficult to color it does take beautiful colors (see Machinery's Handbook). But it does not remain that color forever. In a short time the bright areas will be dark and the colored areas will dull. In the end it will average out like an old penney in color. The reason almost everyone here is suggesting a heavy etch is that the texture will remain as the color changes. With the texture the owner can scrub with steel wool or SOS pads (or even fine sandpaper) and the leaves will still stand out including some color where the etch texture is.

This is one of those things that you want to test, let age for a year and test again. I suspect you do not have the lifetime for this. The alternative is any plan that results in a permanent surface texture that is still acceptable after gross color changes as copper is want to do. Heavy etch or hammered in texture both do that.

An alternative is to investigate the folks that make the acrylic tops for resturant tables. These are applied over a variety of things, leaves, prints, photos, paintings and seal them such that they hold upo for a VERY long time. Note however that copper is very reactive and some of these sealers are not so inert that they do not effect the things they are applied over. Epoxies and polyesters often corrode metals they are applied over or contained within. Ask your local resturant supplier.
   - guru - Friday, 09/03/04 12:12:11 EDT


The term for what you want to do is "color" or "patinate" the copper. The difficulty with this is that copper is a very active metal and will oxidize over time. Clear coating will slow this process if done absolutely correctly, but nothing will stop the process entirely.

Thomas's suggestion of soaking the leaves in ferric chloride and then pressing them to the surface to etch the copper is a very good one. It takes only a light etch to hold color or oxidation very well, and to set it off distinctly from the smooth surrounding surface. You can darken copper easily with liver of sulphur, obtainable from jewelry-making supplies. A bit of the liver of sulphur is dissolved in water and brushed on the surface. It will yield a dark brown to black color, depending on the strength of the solution and the amount of time it is left on the surface.

Once the etched areas are colored, you polish up the smooth areas with some rouge or Tripoli on a piece of felt. The next step is clear coating.

To get clear coat to adhere to bare metal, you must have it absolutely chemically clean. If the surface is roughened a bit chemically or mechanically, the clear coat will adhere much better. Automotive paint stores sell a product called "MetalPrep" that cleans the metal for painting. It may diminish the coloring that you did with the liver of sulphur, however, so you should do a test first to see if you need to make any adjustments.

The only clear coats that are really worth using on bare metal are the polyisocyanurate finishes like DuPont Imron and similar products. All other types of finishes are too "breathable" and will allow the copper to tarnish beneath then in a few years. These finishes are available at automotive paint stores. You MUST, repeat MUST, wear a respirator rated for isocyanurates when using these products as they are extremely hazardous.
   vicopper - Friday, 09/03/04 12:17:08 EDT


I will second what the Guru said about the heavy texture being much better. If you can do it, that is far and away better than trying to do a surface color only. As we said, copper is just too active a metal.

Since you said you are going to place a sheet of glass over the table top, why not do a deep embossing of the leaves? Annealed copper is quite soft and easily decorated by chasing or repousse' techniques. If you make a couple of grape leaf cutouts in pieces of tempered Masonite™ or sheet steel, you can emboss the copper into them quickly and easily using nothing more than a wooden mallet and some scraps of wood as drivers. After that, you can decide if you want to chase in details with punches.
   vicopper - Friday, 09/03/04 12:24:26 EDT

Log dogs:

Thanks, folks, for the advice. I think sticking with A36 will work fine for us.

Not to worry Paw Paw, you're hardly the first. As the saying goes, "As long as you don't call me late for supper."
   - MarcG - Friday, 09/03/04 12:45:13 EDT

I am restoring a Champion shoer's forge to go into a historical conservation site. This is the model that had a handle attached to a large gear driving a light flywheel, that in turn drove a leather belt to a blower mounted under the forge. The blower housing is in two halves bolted together to trap the fan and the firepot is cast into the forge hearth. The bottom of the blower housing is broken and that will be another job to fix but my question is about the fan blades. Although some are rotten, a couple look to be original but all are very small and do not come close to filling the "snail" chamber where air is drawn in. Every blower I have seen before has blades that more or less fill the chamber so the air is trapped and pushed to the fire. Does anyone know if this is correct for the model or did am I looking at an old shop repair that didn't work? Thanks, Hollis
   - HWooldridge - Friday, 09/03/04 16:17:18 EDT

Fan blades Hollis, I suspect that they are replacements or the edges have corroded off. However, fan fits are not necessarily tight. On a small blower 1/4" clearance would not be unusual. Also note that in a spiral housing there is only one tight spot. It is at the corner where the outlet attaches.

One thing that IS critical is balance. All the blades should be replaced with identical parts of the same size shape and weight. Mechanical OR aerodynamic imbalance will put excessive load on the shaft and bearings and cause rapid wear.
   - guru - Friday, 09/03/04 17:40:32 EDT

The more I look, the more it appears like a shop rebuild because the rivets are different. I will make new ones and static balance the assembly on rollers. Fixing the case is also going to be a b*&^h but that is something I have to study on some more.
   - HWooldridge - Friday, 09/03/04 17:50:33 EDT


If the case is cast, brazing it might be the best answer. Or drilling a small hole at each end of any crack to stop the crack, then use a mending plate screwed to the outside.

Personally, if it was at all possible, I'd braze it.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 09/03/04 18:27:40 EDT

HW,On the blower,you need to drill the end of the crack,as PPW said, but you could also get some soft lead and peen in the crack. But eather way take a die grinder,file,etc. and chamfer it first,also if brazing-use the torch and preheat the cast first..Good luck...J
   - Jimmy Seale - Friday, 09/03/04 19:00:19 EDT

Log Dog dimensions of the ones I made long ago for Peter Gott, a well known log home builder of North Carolina. I started with 1/2" square A36. The finished dog was 24 " long. Each tapered blade was about 3" long. The right angle bends were done in the leg vise in order to sharpen the outside corners, making them easier to hammer-drive. Each of the two blades relate one to the other @ 90 degrees. I "hardened" in water as PawPaw suggested. Some older metallurgical books say that "mild steel will not harden appreciably when water quenched at a bright red heat". To my way of thinking, that is a bowl of mush kind of sentence. The steel does harden, but not enough to temper back and make into a superduper tool. But if you don't agree that it hardens, try to drill a hole in quenched A36 as compared to as-rolled A36.

I've not taken a welding class, but I have had good luck with small cast iron repairs by using stainless electrodes, and not even pre-heating. As the weld cools, I normally peen it with the point of the chipping hammer. If its a smallish crack, I vee it a bit, then step and backstep, peening each puddle. I have had luck with castings that have some thickness to them, maybe 3/16" and above. Really thin cast iron, especially an old stove, will tend to spiderweb crack quite a bit, and I don't have a good means to preheat a large piece. I always refer the owners of such stoves to the welding shop down the road.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 09/03/04 20:10:47 EDT

If the casting is thick you can weld with machinable nickle rod,But,preheat.
   - Jimmy Seale - Friday, 09/03/04 20:31:11 EDT

Casting Repairs: After repairing our freeze damaged Gould water pump housings several times and chasing unseen and fresh welding cracks I finally wised up on the last pump and repaired it with epoxy and fibreglass. No stress, no strain, no new cracks, no leaks. . .

If a casting is not exposed to high heat or stress it is a good place to use epoxy or JB-weld or whatever your prefered metal/plastic repair compound. I generaly do not recommend plastic repairs and most of the advertised applications for these products are inappropriate (like exhust or engine block repairs). But this is a case where a simple repair and paint might do the job. Drilling holes at the ends of the cracks are still a good idea IF you can determine the ends.
   - guru - Friday, 09/03/04 21:36:09 EDT

Frank, I got your mail today. Added items to the schedule page plus some from our Calendar. Check your login page for details of changes.
   - guru - Friday, 09/03/04 21:50:48 EDT


Re Brazing Cracks: The bottom of the blower casting (both halves) is GONE. Looks like they dropped it onto something and knocked off about 1/4 of the bottom, about half way into the air channel snail. I did replace the paddles tonight and for what it's worth, if you have to do one, use pop rivets - much easier and safer than trying to set solid rivets. I broke one arm and had to braze it back - many bad words...Another tip is once you have a paddle form that you like and clears the housing, clamp all the pieces together with a Kant-Twist or something similar, then gang grind them on a belt sander or equiv. I riveted them all, then reassembled the casting halves. Had to do this a few times to get the blades tweaked to the point that they didn't hit the housing. I then balanced the fan on roller ways - that was the easy part. I satisfied with the repair so far except I don't know how I'm going to fab the lower pieces of the housing.
   - HWooldridge - Friday, 09/03/04 22:26:00 EDT


Follow the guru's suggestion. Build it up with auto body fiberglass, resin and hardner. Then finish by hand (using rasps, files, grinders, etc.) (be SURE to wear a good respirator mask while doing all of the shaping!) to match the rest of the snail and the exterior of the blower.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 09/03/04 23:14:38 EDT

Missing pieces can be forged from plate or built up by welding. . . On something like this an obvious patch might be better than bondo fakery. Hammer a sheet metal piece to fit then screw or rivet it on. It does not need to be perfect seal.

Most machine assembly rivets are set with a press and do a lot less damage than hammering. . . Some are spun like pocket knife rivets and there is very little pressing and upsetting force. In this application I would have purchased the right sized screw and nyloc nuts for the repair.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/04/04 00:52:10 EDT


> On something like this an obvious patch might be better than bondo fakery.

Seems to me you were the first to mention that type of repair, I just amplified methods a little bit.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 09/04/04 09:19:47 EDT

Could go either way. Just a second thought. If he is trying to "restore" it a blacksmithy patch that could have been done 50 or 100 years ago might look "authentic".
   - guru - Saturday, 09/04/04 11:08:55 EDT

Well, shoot; as long as we're getting all authentical on this repair job, (Bear with me folks, I'm not being totally facetious on this one); How 'bout some Injun fiberglass ? Go to yer local pet store and get one of those big ol' rawhide chew toys, the kind with the big knots on the ends, and take it home and soak it in a tub of water until it gets soft enough to untie the knots and unroll it out flat. Now, tack it to an old piece of plywood and set it out in the sun to dry out again. Cut out a piece from the thick part, big enough to cover the damaged area, plus allowance for overlap. I recommend a saber saw with a medium pitch wood blade for heavy rawhide. You can get hurt trying to cut this stuff with a knife, and I'm not kidding. Now, for the fun part. Put your patch piece back in the water to soak a while, and while you're waiting, wrap the blower housing in Saran Wrap. Go back and check the rawhide, and when it gets nice and pliable, and a little bit slimy, start molding it over an intact area of the housing that approximates the busted part. Yes, you can get compound curves with this stuff, just take your time and mold it smooth with your fingers. I've molded it around .357 revolvers, and captured most of the contours. When you're happy with the shape, improvise some clamps, rubber bands and whatever else it takes to hold it in place and put it aside to dry completely. I wouldn't put it in direct, hot sunlight though, you might get some shrinkage. When it's dry, get out your saber saw again and trim off the excess. I would think that some Liquid Nails would seal it to the housing, and a few copper rivets or drilled and tapped holes for some brass screws would hold it on. A good heavy coat of urethane all over, inside and out wouldn't hurt, either. Now, just keep the family Rottweiler away from the blower.
   - 3dogs - Saturday, 09/04/04 13:28:38 EDT

I was browsing one of the knife sites (knifenetwork.com) and found a link that would be of interest to all smiths interested in decreasing corrosion. Worth a look, for sure.


Sorry for the long link, Guru, but I think it may be worth it.
   Alan-L - Saturday, 09/04/04 16:41:28 EDT

Alan, as long as a link doesn't run off the page its not a problem. Long search result links are also a problem because they change and are no good, sometimes within hours.

Interesting article. Note that it repeatedly compares the product to currently the BEST PROTECTION, zinc.

It would be interesting to hear more about this stuff. There was no mention of finishing over it or what it looked like.

If you go back to the 1960's and 1970's the steel manufacturers were saying similar things about CorTen steel. It was going to revolutionize steel structures by not needing constant maintenance. Thousands of bridges were made from it. They rusted mush worse than advertised, looked terrible and stained whatever concrete was around. Now they have been sandblasted, zinced and painted.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/04/04 18:23:28 EDT

Anti-rust coating: That stuff sounds pretty amazing. However, they did neglect to point out that minute "holidays" or pinholes in the coating will probably lead to almost instant pitting corrosion of the metal. It is a coating and where there is no coating, the rust will prevail. Rust is a must.
   Quenchcrack - Saturday, 09/04/04 19:08:48 EDT

Polyaniline sounds a lot like "Pollyanna," doesn't it? If today were April first, I'd be worried.
   Mike B - Saturday, 09/04/04 21:18:43 EDT

I used 20 ga sheet steel to fix the blower. I found an old tractor wheel that was close to the same radius and was able to form two sides alike inside the rim. I then clamped and TIG'd the sides together. The patch was fastened to the housing with some 10-32 machine screws. It's pretty close but may need a little caulk to make it mostly airtight. I could also tell everyone's mood on using pop rivets for the fan blades but you can't see them unless the thing is disassembled and that ain't happening anytime soon. Once I get a piece of leather for the belt, it should be ready to make a fire. Thanks for the input on repair methods...Hollis
   - HWooldridge - Saturday, 09/04/04 23:40:56 EDT

re belts for blowers. Of to a goodwill or a second hand store ( or your closet) and get an old leather belt. Or two if you need more . They work well and are pretty cheap
   Ralph - Sunday, 09/05/04 01:32:57 EDT

Coatings: Chipping of coatings is always the main problem. In powder coating it is a sever problem as there is no active protection under the coating. With zinc coatings it less of a problem for hot dip or hot spray galvanizing than with cold (zinc paint) galvanizing. But in both cases the zinc surrounding the "holiday" or wound in the finish is a type of self healing finish. The zinc plates pin holes and small scratchs in the finish and reduces rusting. For this hot galvanizing is best but the cold galvanizing paint also protects.

The problems with powder coatings are chips and repairs. Repairs are difficult to match the original finish and do not bond well to the surrounding coating. I recently spoke to someone that had many years of experiance with powder coatings on decorative iron and they said that the claims of the powder coaters were far from reality. I think this is a great technology for some items but not others. You cannot just select one finishing method and apply it accross the board. There is a big difference between S-hooks and a $300/foot railing.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/05/04 10:15:07 EDT

I thought the claim of "lasts up to 60,000 times longer than zinc" sounded wildly optimistic, at a minimum. I would have liked to know more details. The whole ion-exchange thing sounds like they have at least thought hard about why rust happens, but I too wonder if it is self-healing like a thick coat of zinc.

Nothing says urban 1970s like cor-ten rust stains on concrete. Sort of the architectural equivalent of a wide polyester tie...

   Alan-L - Sunday, 09/05/04 10:42:05 EDT

In the early 1980's a friend of mine had a mountain of Cor-ten structurals and fasteners. . . They came from utility towers that were being replaced with galvanized. The utilities NEVER replace this type of thing unless it is a huge failure. In the early days they planned on replacing creosoted wood poles every 5 years. Then 10, then 20. . many old rural poles set in the 1930's are STILL in place! The same with zinc galvanized high tension power towers. . .

Creosote has gotten a bad reputation lately but utility poles that last 50 to 70 years have a huge social benefit.

Zinc is the same. The polyaniline article tries to make zinc a villan but there is no information on the hazardous wastes or air pollution generated by manufacturing polyaniline. Zinc is third in usefullness as a metal after iron and alluminium and will always be with us. It is used for protecting parts large and small as well for parts ranging from auto parts to computer disk drives. It is also a component in brass along with copper. It would be a very bad thing to classify zinc as hazardous or disrespect its uses.

Polyaniline may be great stuff, but I would like to hear reports on it from independent sources.

Yeah. . 60,000 times longer than zinc is longer than the known history of man. The only thing that has proven to have this life is gold. . . I suspect this is closely followed by stainless.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/05/04 12:35:42 EDT

How does someone claim a life of 60,000 years for anything that is new? I suspect a favorable lab test, that was then calculated to reach that number. I have seen many lab tests that did NOT scale out as predicted.
Every once in a while a new product that is a replacement is a huge improvement. I did my first research for the valve mfg I used to work for on a replacement for asbestos stem packings. The flexible graphite( GRAFOIL) was a tremendous improvement, and is safer to boot. This is the once in my career that a replacement that was required to replace an environmentally unacceptable product was better.
   ptree - Sunday, 09/05/04 13:34:08 EDT

Frank, most of my older metals books have never heard of A36; they were working with 1018 as "mild steel" and a whole lot more mild than A36!

I generally consider A36 to be along the lower edge of medium carbon steels and you are right it will often toughen up considerably with a quench.

Missed you at the NM State Fair!

   Thomas P - Sunday, 09/05/04 13:49:54 EDT

Spring steel- I have a spring that the hook on one end has broken off and I want to redo it. Do I heat and and air cool or oil quench? Its the belt tensioner for the middle blade on a riding mower. I hate to spend money on something that I can fix myself.
thanks, smitty
   smitty7 - Sunday, 09/05/04 15:09:30 EDT

not to be a naysayer, but it seems as if you probably should not fix it your self yet. Why you ask? Mostly your question is why. Based on that I would guess that you are not that familiar with the heat treat process of springs and other tool steels. SO why risk the lives of others and yourself doing something that you do not know how to do when this part is realatively easy to find and is fairly cheap across the counter?
Basically anything that MAY break and then be flung at a high rate of speed in an unpredictable direction I have fixed by buying the proper part so I am not responsible for the lives or safety of others.

I choose to blacksmith. I accept the dangers associated with it and do so willingly. BUt I will not accept the responsiblity for other peoples safety in certain cercumstances. One of them being fixing or repairing mower blades or blade hardware. The other is I DO NOT EVER LET ANY ONE ENTER SHOP AREA WITH OUT SOME FORM OF EYE PROTECTION.

BUt that is just me....
   Ralph - Sunday, 09/05/04 19:25:26 EDT

I agree with your philosophy completly!
I do not install or repair hitchs, or load bearing equipment. I will build up load chains, but only with the correct parts, installed per the factory, and I won't even build a chain sling for overhead work as I do not have a proof test rig.
   ptree - Sunday, 09/05/04 19:31:04 EDT

Thomas P., You are right. The old books were talking about straight carbon, low carbon steel. A36, an ASTM number, nowadays is often called "mild steel", to further confuse the issue. A36 is termed "mild steel" in my 1988 Jorgensen catalog...in the same heading.
When large crowds gather, as at the state fair, I usually practice avoidism.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 09/05/04 19:38:48 EDT

theres this ad i saw for some cheap h-12 or 13 steel(0.89)is this steel good for anvils?
   - John S - Sunday, 09/05/04 20:24:35 EDT

H-13 John, IF the steel memtioned is SAE or AISI H13 tool steel it is a hot work high carbon tools steel. It is probably overkill for an anvil but it would be very good if tempered properly or spot hardened.

However, AISI H-13 is a usualy an expensive tool steel and is most often sold annealed so that it can be sawed and machined OR heat treated to a condition that is just barely machinable (Viscount 42 - 44). In the mill run condition it would be less expensive but it would also be nearly impossible to do anything other than flame cut and grind it. As an air hardening steel it is expensive and difficult to anneal.

That said the question IS, are you sure it is tool steel? You must always ask what the standard is that the alloy number is taken from. In the UNS system many tool steels are T series. In the ASTM system different letters are used. We had a long discussion one time about an anvil a fellow was making from M-30 steel. We thought he was talking about a molybdenum high speed steel that is even more difficult to heat treat than AISI H-13 but it turned out he had an ASTM medium carbon structural steel of some sort. . . NOT a tool steel.

ASK. If the seller does not know what the controlling standard is then they really don't know what they have. At that point you are dealing with a Junk Yard Steel of unknown properties and should pay accordingly.

   - guru - Sunday, 09/05/04 23:37:36 EDT

Spring Repair: Although this may not be as critical a part as has been refered to there are other problems. Springs are made to a specific length for the purpose. To put a new end on one will shorten the spring and put a higher load on the spring. If everything was done perfectly the life would be mush shorter than originaly.

To bend most coil springs they must be heated to a red heat. This may make the end soft after it cools. But it may also make the end too hard if it cools fast or is an air quench steel. In either case the end of the spring at the bend is likely to fail. To prevent is from failing the entire spring must be heat treated. Since you do not know what the original steel is or the original heat treat then anything would be a quess.

See our FAQ on Junk Yard Steels. It applies to all unknown steels. Then see our Heat Treating FAQ. Once you understand all that, you will know why it was recommended that you just buy an new $2 spring.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/05/04 23:54:09 EDT

Hot work die steels,
In every forge shop I have worked at,the dies are preheated prior to use, as these steels, at least in the heat treat condition for power forging are brittle at room temp. That said, I have an 18' x 6" x 6" press die insert that is a very nice anvil for forging out silver. I suspect that corner chipping would be a problem with the H series hot work steels in a general purpose anvil.At my current job, we buy branded hot work steels that are as the Guru noted, machinable. Very expensive as the chrome and nickel content are high. We scrap tons per year as they wear out, but they are mostly half moon inserts for upsetter dies, or punchs. Not very handy as anvils.
   ptree - Monday, 09/06/04 10:43:48 EDT

here is the ad as Anvil and Die Block material-bulk pricing
Price $0.89/lb
Description I have MANY blocks of tempered tool steel H-13 grade available for your anvil and die needs. Block Sizes from 8" tall x 20 x 20 up to 18 tall x 36 x 40. Some rounds 3-3/4 to 18" dia x 32/34" tall and hex also. Use them for a new base or for special anvil shapes. Can be welded cut or formed to any shape or application.
Location Springfield, MA 01104
Shipping Buyer pays shipping
Comment Buyer pays shipping costs
Payment Money order or cashier's check

printed by seller
   - John S - Monday, 09/06/04 12:08:13 EDT

John, Sounds good. However, see my comments about heat treating and ptree's comments about possibly being too hard.

A lot depends on what you want and expect an anvil "shape" to be. If you try to fabricate or cut out a London or American pattern anvil you will easily waste 50%. Now you are up to $1.80 a pound without labor, fuel or abrasives. You can quickly have more invested than in a NEW Euroanvil.

On the other hand, if you are interested in useing a big block similar to a sawyers or filecutters anvil then it is not a bad deal.

Even in the annealed or tempered condition it is too hard for a power hammer anvil. Remember that you have to drill and tap and possibly weld to that big block.

Yes this steel can be welded (all steels can) but it is an expensive proposition.

Currently the way most of this steel is used in the pre-heattreated shape is for die steels that are machined by EDM. No cutting tools are involved. Huge blocks are sunk for autobody panels and such. . .

Good steel for an anvil has half the carbon of most tool steels. The old welded face anvils were slightly higher than half but they were supported and held together by wrought iron AND were not deep hardening steels. 50 and 60 point carbon or alloy steels are ideal.
   - guru - Monday, 09/06/04 13:11:37 EDT

Spring steel, Well I guess you fellas have set me straight. It's a spring!!! a small spring for the tensoiner. I now realize that it would shorten it up too much, so I just wanted to add to my knowledge. How about if I wanted to make it into a sword?
   smitty7 - Monday, 09/06/04 13:23:02 EDT

Tool Steel: Many moons ago, I had a set of 4x7x2 flat dies machined and hardened from H13 for my 100# Beaudry. They have held up quite well to both open forging and closed die work. A buddy of mine in the tool making business did this for cost of materials but I'm sure it would be several hundred bucks today in labor and materials since tool steel has gone up just like everything else.
   - HWooldridge - Monday, 09/06/04 13:43:12 EDT

Smitty7, well it would work well for a GI Joe action figure.... (grin)
   Ralph - Monday, 09/06/04 14:21:11 EDT

The heat treatment of h-13 determines the hardness and how brittle at room temp. It would make sense that your tool maker buddy did it right. My experience with tool and die makers has been that if you carefully explain the use a tool is to be put to, they will always give you a first class tool. Assume that they know nothing about what you will do with the tool, explain everything, as far as shock, temp, loads etc and They can use their knowledge and experience to fabricate a good tool.
   ptree - Monday, 09/06/04 14:26:10 EDT

Hello everyone. I picked up a power hammer this weekend and need some help finding some parts to get it going. (pics coming soon)

It is a common Sense #2 75lb hammer. It came out of a foundry where it was set up on a belt drive. The previous owner built a nice motor stand for it which I also bought.

What I need is a source to buy belt material. I also need a place to buy a 4" wide pully that will fit on my 3hp motor with a 5/8" shaft.

I also need to learn about babbit bearings. I've read a little about them, but any reccomendations on books and sources would be appreciated. I eventually plan to restor this beauty to its origional luster.
   FredlyFX - Monday, 09/06/04 14:32:42 EDT

if your going to be running your PH from the motor (no jack shaft) why not just use a couple vee belts?
Also make sure your hammer is running slow enough.
Kerns book on rebuilding a Little Giant (which I can't find a reveiw for!) has a chapter on pouring babbit bearings.
Also I'd suggest you get Manzers video "How to cure the tap mis bang blues" although it is specificaly for Little Giant and clones the timing etc is aplicable for almost any PH. Infact I think Manzers video is so useful if you get it and don't like it if you personaly bring it over I'll buy it from you, and buy you a beer!
And even though it's been said here before, remember "Oil is cheaper than parts"
   JimG - Monday, 09/06/04 15:21:49 EDT

I'm not sure that would work on this setup. The way this hammer is designed the flat belt is left somwhat loose, and when you step on the actuator bar it pivots an idler against the belt to tighten it and make the hammer run.
   FredlyFX - Monday, 09/06/04 15:57:37 EDT

Ive posted some pics of the hammer in the anvilfire yahoo group foto page. It's under FredlyFX
   FredlyFX - Monday, 09/06/04 17:35:22 EDT

Power Hammer: Fredly, That 75# hammer will probably run well on a 2 HP. ?? 3 HP with 5/8 shaft. . . Awful small shaft for that HP. Are you sure about the HP? At that HP and shaft size it is probably a 3600 RPM motor. You will not be able to step down slow enough in one step from that speed. Dropping from 1800 is usualy the limit and requires a very small pulley. Check the Power Hammer Page specs for the average speed for a hammer this size.

A 75# Fairbanks which had a high top speed due the stroke adjustment ran 325 RPM and had a 1.5 HP motor. Short stroke means you can run faster. Half way between a 50 and 100 lb. LG would be 300 RPM.

If you have a high speed motor you are going to need a jack shaft. Even with an 1800 RPM motor you are going to need 6:1 reduction to get to 300 PRM. 3:1 is the most practical reduction. When many of these manchines were built and used motors they had low RPM motors. A 900 RPM motor at 3:1 reduction is just right. But low RPM motors are both rare and expensive. In fact most are specialy manufactured.

I also question the 4" wide belt. That is enough to run a lot bigger hamer (150 - 200 pound). A 2" or 2.5" is probably satisfactory. Your slack belt pulley and idler usualy had rims on them to keep the belt from falling off when lose.

A bunch to think about.
   - guru - Monday, 09/06/04 17:49:09 EDT

Hey guru, I gotta quick question. I just now am getting into the blacksmithing, I have read some books on technique and what not, and I have also made myself a chainmail shirt (that took time). the question is tho, (back ground) I am 15, and I live in OHIO. so I was going through an antique mall earlyer today, I think there fasinating. but I was about 1/2 way through, they has a box on the floor with about 8 different iron tongs. all different shapes, all about 1 and 1/2 feet long. so I picked those up. I don't have a forge yet and I am working on that. but as I was walking to the front counter to pay for it. I noticed they had the front door held open by a little 100 pound anvil.

I bought the anvil and the tongs and it rung up to about $210. the anvil was like $159, and the tongs were somthing like $7 or $8 a peice.

was that a good deal? I have never bought an anvil, but this it the first anvil I had ever seen. they also had a blacksmith's vice, but it was $85 and I am not made of money, and it didn't work.

   cwr89 - Monday, 09/06/04 18:02:34 EDT

I have gone to the web sites of advertisers on this site : Kayne and Sons , Centaur Forge , Pieh Tool Company. I have seen at least one of these Companies offer to make touch stamps. These were offered in their paper catalogs. I cannot seem to find the information for this on their web sites. Can you give me information as to who I should contact in regard to this matter
Thank You ,
P.S. Join CSI. Best bet for your hard earned Dollar.
   Harley - Monday, 09/06/04 18:50:40 EDT

I'd like to make a 1.5" or 2" belt sander. Does anyone know of a source for the rollers (drive and idlers)?

   djhammerd - Monday, 09/06/04 19:32:40 EDT

Harley, I had Kayne & Sons make a stamp for me.
   dief - Monday, 09/06/04 20:07:20 EDT

Djhammerd,If you have to buy rollers, buy motor then make the frame you might be better off buying a Grizzly 2" x 72"
belt grinder. It comes complete with 1 hp motor ready to use for less than $300. Grizzly 1-800-523-4777
   - ptpiddler - Monday, 09/06/04 20:12:36 EDT

Harley, Look in the classifieds of blade magazine for stamp makers. I had my stamp made (to mark my knives)
6 letters, sent them a computer print of the fonts I wanted
with the size I wanted. Harper Mfg 1-800-776-8407
   - ptpiddler - Monday, 09/06/04 20:20:28 EDT


Thanks for the answer. I am looking at that sander/polisher. If I buy one, that will be the one. However, I already have a motor and scrap steel to make one. What I do will depend upon the cost of rollers. I have some wheels I could use, but I want to price rollers that a made for the purpose.

Thanks again...
   djhammerd - Monday, 09/06/04 21:15:09 EDT

I bought a box type, two burners gas forge on ebay. (This man sell`s alot of them)..anyway it sure got hot under the forge. I have it sitting on a heavy gage tool cart with two levels. Would there be an adverse effect setting the forge on some red walkway brick? There is about an inch clearence from the bottom of the forge to the brick. The brick would be sitting on top of the push cart, and the forge on top of it. Thanks!
   stan - Monday, 09/06/04 21:30:13 EDT

djhammerd, look in a Blade magazine, there are all types of grinders advertised and parts to build grinders as knife making has become a big business. You can order all sorts of wheels from the grinder manufacturers. suppliers such as Stephen Bader co, Koval knife supplies etc.
   - ptpiddler - Monday, 09/06/04 21:32:32 EDT

We need more info on the anvil to tell if that was a good deal, such as any markings that may help identify it.
   Shack - Monday, 09/06/04 21:56:10 EDT

Unfortunatly, the former owner has painted the sides and bottom black. but the horn and top are not painted. it has a standard anvil shape and it is about 9 inches tall. the top is aprox. 3 inch wide. the horn is about 4 inchs long. the top is about 8 inchesl long.

I have not found any markings of any kind on it. although it seems to have been used at one time. there are a few minor scrathes on the top. but nothing that can't be filed out quiuckly.

I would put some pictures up but I don't have a commera, that is working.

   cwr89 - Monday, 09/06/04 22:11:46 EDT

it was very similar to this:
   cwr89 - Monday, 09/06/04 22:13:40 EDT


The guy to deal with on pulleys, rollers, drive and idler wheels is Rob Frink at Beaumont Metalworks. He sells everything you could possibly want to make a knife grinder equal to or better than any commercial machine. Check out his website:

   vicopper - Monday, 09/06/04 23:10:41 EDT

Tongs and Anvil: Cwr90, There are tongs and there are tongs. That was a good price if the tongs are usable. However, a vast majority of the old tongs you find these days are what I call "farmer tongs". They were either made by farmers who were not smiths OR technical school students who were not smiths, and on the whole LOOK sort of like tongs but are nearly unusable.

Tongs must have springy reins so that you can grip the work tightly and the tongs take the shock load that tries to open them. Reins that are too heavy or too short can make tongs worthless. I recently had the oportunity to use a bunch of imported tongs that were entirely to stiff and short. So even manufacturers can make bad tongs.

General tong rules:

1) They must fit and grip the work snuggly. Today the majority of tongs are made to fit around the work.

2) The reins must be springy enough to spring by hand when closed on the work.

Rule number 1 can be met by reworking the tongs IF there is enough jaw to rework. Farmer tongs often have wedge shaped jaws that do not have enough material to rework.

Rule number 2 can also be cured by drawing out the reins. But this is a ton of work by hand and you quickly find out that good tongs are well worth the price.

As to the anvil that is another matter as mentioned above. Junker anvils LOOK just like the real thing. See our anvil series article on testing rebound. If you get a nice bounce and a ring it is probably good. If you get a dull thunk AND no rebound then it is a cast iron junker.

If you are in Ohio and you want tools then you want to go to SOFA Quad State at the end of this month in Troy. See our Calendar page for specifics.
   - guru - Monday, 09/06/04 23:44:22 EDT

Touch Marks: Kayne and Son recently stopped handling the touch marks made by Grant Sarver. I do not know why, Grant may have quit. Centaur Forge used to have them made by a custom maker. They just acted as middle man. Don't know if they still do. Call them.
   - guru - Monday, 09/06/04 23:48:41 EDT

Belt Grinder: We have some photographs of a very nice design in our NC-ABANA NEWS. #32 p.8. I think ptpiddler had something to do with it. . ;) (grin and a wink)

See also the book Wayne Goddard's $50 Knife Shop. Wayne uses a lot of wooden parts to make his grinders cheaply. It all depends on how much you want to spend.

And as VIc pointed out, beaumont metalworks specializes in parts, plans and kits for belt grinders.

When you start building these things make several. Make one, use it, make a better one. You cannot have enough of them. Make them different sizes and differnt speeds. See Machinery's Handbook for sanding, grinding and buffing speeds.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/07/04 00:06:57 EDT

The pully and idler pully both have lips on them about 1/2". I just went out and measured the old worn out belt that came with it, and it is 4". I also measured the inside of the pullys they are 4 1/4". The main pully has a 12" diameter, and the idler has 5". Since the main pully is 4" wide I should probably just stay with that shouldn't I? If I try to run a smaller belt won't it give me trouble?

The motor I was refering to is a harbor freight pos, so it may be out of the norm. I remember it being 3hp when I bought it, and I am almost sure the shaft was no larger than 5/8". I have some time befor I will get to the point where I need the motor, so I will probably end up getting a different one.

Do you have any reccomended supliers for drive belts? I think I may have found one online that is the local goodyear dealer. I'll have to call tomorrow and find out.
   FredlyFX - Tuesday, 09/07/04 00:42:10 EDT

I watched a Japanese "Master Blacksmith" at a demo this weekend. He did something I had never seen before and was wondering if anyone else had. While working on a plane blade he would dip the head of his hammer in water prior to striking. The result was a loud "POP" and a splatter of hot water kinda like forge welding. He said, through an interpreter, that the mini explosion blew off the scale resulting in a much smoother surface. It looks like it worked.
Anyone see this done before?
   Steve L. - Tuesday, 09/07/04 01:30:51 EDT

The common Sense hammers were made in San Francisco..at least untill the great San Francisco earthquake...only west coast hammers that I know of....quite robust except for the Dupont linkage arms ( cast iron?) I brazed the ram guide mount back together on a similar sized one ( The gunner model, no less) and had a heck of a time with it. That stuff was HARD and bloody recalcitrant!
The belt is a slip clutch drive...simple and smooth...so the belting should be of a material that can slip when slack and gradually grab as you tension the pulley with the treadle. Leather is traditional for that, though some industrial fabric belting might do.
The H Fright motor is good for something else...you want to slow that old puppy way down to perhaps 200 BPM and it will be a stretch to do it without a jack shaft with a 1750 motor. Sometimes you can find an old 6 pole motor that runs about 1000 rpm, but they're wildly expensive new.
Steve L...Have seen it done, worked well and was dramatic besides.
Too hot to do much heavy forging today on the far left coast
   - Pete F - Tuesday, 09/07/04 02:34:25 EDT

Thanks Pete. I origionally bought the motor to build a belt sander and havn't got to it yet. I will probably stay with it for that, and look around for another motor for the hammer.

It's funny you mention the ram guide. Mine is broken as well, but it looks like someone did a repair on the actual ram that keeps it in the groove. It looks well worn, so I am assuming it worked ok.
   FredlyFX - Tuesday, 09/07/04 02:39:57 EDT

G'day Guru,
I have aquired a Buffalo Rivet Forge with 625 cast in the outer fan housing whuch I assume is a model number. It belonged to my wife's grandfather and has not been used since the 1960's. I also have all his smith tools except his anvil. The gearbox sits vertical and is a triple reduction. The fan blade diameter is 9 & 3/4". The internal fan housing is 12" diameter. The gear drive is siezed and from what I have been able to dismantle so far, it is the output shaft to the fan that is siezed. What I'd like is any information on the assembly of the gear box so I can dismantle it with out damaging it. From what I can see so far the gears are all in good condition.

I'm in Sydney, Australia so I expect there aren't too many of these forges that have survived down under and I'd like to get this one back to work.

I'm a fitter & machinist by trade but no longer work on the tools but do have a good home workshop. I've always had an interest in blacksmithing and currently work the odd weekend alongside a 74 year old traditional smith who is willing to share his craft with a few interested folk. At 50 I'm probably the worlds oldest apprentice and feel priviliged to have someone show me the basics of what he has spent a life time at.

Anyway, if you can assist with any information or advice on getting my forge going I'd be mighty gratefull.

BTY, I also have a small gearbox from Champion Forge & Blower Co with patent dates of 1901 & 1902 cast on it. This one needs new bearings that are odd sizes and I'll have to make those and I'd need to build the entire forge so my preference is to restore the Buffalo.

Warren Buffett
   Warren Buffett - Tuesday, 09/07/04 08:06:32 EDT

Slip Belt Pullies: Fredly, If the space between the side rims of the slip belt pullies is 4" then the belt wants to be at LEAST 1" narrower (3"max on 4" space). These pullies have crown to keep the belt running in the middle. However, if the belt is too wide and rubs against the rims it will try to climb them as it is higher than the crown. This causes the belt to do all kinds of strange things.

Slip belts are best made of leather or cotton. Rubber grabs too well. All types of belts are available from the closest "power transmission" supplier or industrial belt supplier. If need be you can order belts with Clipper lacing from McMaster Carr.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/07/04 09:18:01 EDT

I've got a question for group. A bit off the topic of blacksmithing, but close. Sort of.

I have a job to do for the university here, a strange and wonderful thing they want built. It is a machine to grate cassava roots; more of a rasper than a grater, actually, due to some technical considerations about rupturing cell walls, extracting starch, etc. Stuff I don't even pretend to understand, in other words. (grin)

It isn't any big deal to cut/paste a hopper, frame and motor arrangement. Where the catch comes is in making the "rasper" drum. In the course of a day's work, this thing is going to take a few tons of hard root veggies that are freshly dug from the ground and sandpaper them into mush. In Africa, they make the drums from SS sheet that they punch a bunch of nail holes in, or they use a wooden drum with old hacksaw blades jammed into slots. The drums are mostly about 4-6" in diameter by a foot or so long. I was contemplating taking a piece of sch 40 steel pipe and brazing a whole heap of carbide grains onto the surface, but I can't find a source of supply for cracked carbide grains. Does anyone know where to look for them, short of swiping the teeth off of old saw blades? I know I sure don't have that many old blades nor the time to take all the teeth off of them.

Or does anyone have a better idea how to make a rasper drum that will hold up to that sort of abuse? I'm open to any and all suggestions.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 09/07/04 10:24:58 EDT

Belt Grinder: Check out the article at www.balconesforge.org for information about building a belt grinder from scrap.
   - HWooldridge - Tuesday, 09/07/04 10:26:32 EDT

Blower Gear Boxes: Warren, Buffalo made dozens of styles of gear boxes over the years they were in business. Many had different assembly methods.

The one I know a little about is the Champion. All the bearings and gear allignment is adjustable via the nuts on the ends of the shafts. These are in pairs with one locking the other. Having adjustment is great but you can also missalign the worn and worm wheel or over tension the bearings.

Most of these use bearings with loose balls or balls in a retainer that can be removed. In either case the balls can be replaced if the races are good. In the Champion blowers the bearings were made by Champion and there is no standard replacements. It would be possible to make new races from tool steel like AISI/SAE A2 if you have a lathe and are good at reproducing picky parts. Standard bearing balls are readily available in fractional sizes if needed.

I would take a lot of time soaking the parts in kerosene or your favorite Aussie penetrating oil. Watch out for Woodruff keys under the fan. There are no parts for these things so breaking anything is a serious setback.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/07/04 10:38:49 EDT

Carbide Grains VIc, Talk to our farrier friends about what they call "borium". It is coarse ground up carbide (I'm pettty sure) that they braze onto horse shoes for friction material for pavement and ice.

I personally kind of like the hacksaw blade idea. They are commonly available and very standard in size. It would be best if they were mechanicaly attached so that they could be installed and replaced easily. The ideal arrangement would be a drum with machined groves for the blades and bar holders that when their screws were tightened they would cock against the blade clamping it tight. The 1/2" width of standard saw blades (they come in 12" AND 10" lengths) would be a perfect depth for slightly shorter clamping bars with countersunk 1/4" Socket Head Cap Screws.

Both the drum and the clamping bars could be easily machined using a little Bridgeport sized milling machine. But the bars and all those holes to drill and tap are a lot of parts. Relatively high tech but maintainable. You can also change the coarseness. . .

Years ago I bought machinery out of an old cellophane plant. They had a HUGE machine shop used mostly for making all kinds of drums and rolls.

VIc, Watch out for Ivan! It doesn't look good for you guys.

NOAA IR Huricane Loop
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/07/04 11:20:45 EDT

Frank Turley, sure wish we had some handouts on you school; we had a number of folks wanting to know where they could go to learn to smith and nobody seemed to have your contact info.

Working the fair was interesting, I did two on-the-spot commissions, and the folks that had stock already made did very well on the $50 and under stuff---day 3 of the 2 week + fair and they had just about sold out!

Had several folks stop by wanting to give smithing equipment to deserving new smiths---I dropped my billet behind the anvil and opined that I was a deserving new smith. I will not sully this forum with what some of my colleagues said I was deserving of! I brought in a big can of the coal from SOFA to do the final welding of my billet, 641 layers with the "one" being a chunk of file for the edge. Boy that coal is sweet...some folks finally were able to see the knife get pounded out from the billet. Now to clean it up and finish it off for the October SWABA meeting.

Heard about a "Best in the US" source of BS coal here in NM, only I think the mine in Madrid NM is closed...I didn't even have but a couple of hecklers; perhaps the bib overalls, the braided beard with anvils hanging off the braids and the hat with horns and a tail scared them off

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 09/07/04 13:07:32 EDT

Thank you all for the information on belt grinders parts/information sources.
   djhammerd - Tuesday, 09/07/04 13:49:02 EDT

Steve L. Yes, the Japanese call it "washing the blade". It doesn't need to explode. The smiths will often have a whisk with which to sprinkle water on the anvil and as you say, they dip their hammers in the water. Good old American boys do this sometimes in another way. To flatter finish, The flatter is dipped in water, and water is put on the anvil. All the above is done at the darker heats.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 09/07/04 14:33:45 EDT

Oh great guru, this helps alot. firstly, the anvil:

I still do not know of the maker, but it a nice ring, like I pluck my higher guitar strings. the ring last about 5 seconds if not dampened. and the ring is somewere around the (bass cleff) high F.

as for the tongs, every pair has a unlique shape. I feel absolutly NO shock in my arm while using any of the pairs. when I close the jaws the close with a nice closer, there are no gaps in between the jaws. the jaws on all the flat one extend about 2 inches.

   cwr89 - Tuesday, 09/07/04 15:14:16 EDT

I saw Don Fogg do this at a Terry Ellerby Hammer In. His demo was forging a knive to shape with enough hand finishing (stones and draw file) to decarb and finish. The water was mopped onto the anvil and the hammer dipped in water to blow off the scale, only three hits per heat. interesting demo.
   Tone - Tuesday, 09/07/04 15:15:32 EDT

THOMAS; Are you speaking of the Poco from Denniss Coal of Wauseon, Ohio? If so, I must wholeheartedly concur. I'm going to find out if he's going to be there this year, and let you all know.
   - 3dogs - Tuesday, 09/07/04 15:31:24 EDT

Thomas, Frank has a brand new web site that has an easy to remember URL TurleyForge.com. The contact form even works (unlike hiw MSN mail). If you send him your snail mail address and tell him what you want them for I am sure he will send a few brochures.

Wetting the Anvil: This causes little steam explosions that help blow off the scale from the work and the anvil. Hammering scale into a piece makes hard to remove texture that makes more scale and pits even more. When you have modern machinery, sanders and grinders, or a power hammer so you work in less heats it is an unnecessary and noisy technique.

On some power hammer setups some of the exhust air is blown across the dies to blow out scale that tends to collect in the bottom of depresions. Similar purpose.

   - guru - Tuesday, 09/07/04 15:34:38 EDT

ADDENDUM: That's W.VA Sewell seam coal.
   - 3dogs - Tuesday, 09/07/04 15:42:15 EDT

Stan /brick for a forge stand. Brick (most any kind) old tiles, paving stones, cement board all make statisfactory surfaces to set a gas forge upon. Dont use wood or any thing flammable - hot iron landing on wood causes instant flames - there is no intermediate stage of smouldering and charring.

Where can I find a couple of solid steel balls about 1.5" to 2" dia? Or better yet, where can I find solid trailer hitch balls without a flat land on the top?

Also, What's a fast cutting stone for hardened steel to go in my 7" Milwaukee grinder?

Thanks, Adam
   adam - Tuesday, 09/07/04 16:04:15 EDT

Adam; are you talking about one of those nasty ol' leg eatin' cup stones, or a flat or semi-cupped 7 or 9 inch disc ? Regarding the hitch balls, I have seen the full spherical balls at RV dealers as opposed to Wal Mart or the auto parts stores.
   - 3dogs - Tuesday, 09/07/04 16:38:19 EDT

Hi, I am trying to build a JYH. I've narrowed the design down to one of two types. You have a picture of one with the driveaxle on top and one with it on the bottom (the australian). are there any benefits to either way, or is it the builder's preference? Thank you For your time.
   John Loker - Tuesday, 09/07/04 17:20:21 EDT

John the axel on top is top heavy and takes up a LOT of room. The best two of the JYH's are the Green NC Hammer and the Little Rusty. The best performing DIY linkage is the bow spring type like the South African hammer. The best machine would be one with the NC drive and the SA bow spring.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/07/04 18:32:05 EDT

Grind Stone: I dont care, so long as it fits my grinder, is rated for the speed and cuts hardened steel effectively. I need to take about 3/32" off parts of the plate on my anvil near the heal. I keep working at it using the stone that came with the grinder but at this rate, by the time I get done I'll be using a walker and and no longer able to chew solid food.

Thanks for the tip on the RV dealers
   adam - Tuesday, 09/07/04 18:32:22 EDT

Gosh - I am starting to spell like a certain guru at this site - errm... that's "heel" - :)
   adam - Tuesday, 09/07/04 18:35:03 EDT

Grinding and Wheels: These grinders come in different speed ratings and if you want to move metal fast you get a fast grinder. MY B&D Wildcats are the 6,500 RPM variety that take 7,000 RPM rated wheels. EATS STEEL. But the wheel type makes a big difference.

You want a soft friable wheel to cut hard material and to cut fast. They do not last long but if your time is worth ANYTHING they are worth it. Good welding suppliers will be able to tell you which wheels they have that cut fast.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/07/04 18:38:59 EDT


Check out this eBay listing. Aside from the fact some Bozo is peddling a Russian Harbor Freight anvil for $349 (a tidy profit for an anvil I bought for $70, shipping included), those pictures he uses are Quenchcrack's, from our review. Something doesn't smell right.

You're jet-lagged pal,
   eander4 - Tuesday, 09/07/04 19:18:40 EDT

hey guys i got a question for ya.now i dont want to spend the money right now because i have no job so i was wondering if i could use the clay thats in my backyard to keep the heat in my forge?I know its not great but will it hold enfe heat to get metal to red heat or hoter?thanks for the help and will try to upgrade to kaowoal asap.
   - John S - Tuesday, 09/07/04 19:18:47 EDT

Told ya I was lagging. The listing is Item number: 6117612992.

   eander4 - Tuesday, 09/07/04 19:19:18 EDT


I checked out the photos and you're absolutely irght. It is obvious that Quenchcrack must have swiped those pics from that guy a couple of years ago. For shame! (grin)

Seriously, I think Jock, who owns the copyright on those photos ( I assume), should contact eBay and demand that they be removed and the seller barred from further trading. The guy is plain out lying when he says the photos represent "his" efforts. ANd then he has the unmitigated gall to watermark them with his name, as though that will forestall a copyright infringement. I'm sorely tempted to email everyone who bids on them.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 09/07/04 19:40:47 EDT

eBay Ruskie Anvil: Caveate Emptor! This man represents all that is wrong with eBay. If anyone has registered on eBay, you are missing a great opportunity to catch this reprobate in a flat out lie. Yep, he stole the photos and some of the details in our review, which Jock owns. The only thing Jock doesn't own are the lies this creep made up about the "forged" anvil. We really need to swarm this clown and shut him down.
   Quenchcrack - Tuesday, 09/07/04 20:25:23 EDT

Thank you for the notice. Yes those are stolen images AND he stole text from the article. The following message has been sent via the Ebay feedback system:
Dear frankie8acres,

This is an immediate cease and desist notice.

You are using stolen copyrighted images on this page. You are also using stolen copyrighted text on this page. Both were taken from anvilfire.com without permission.

If these items are not removed within 24 hours we will be forced to to take legal action.

I have also notified ebay. I will keep you informed of what transpires.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/07/04 20:30:12 EDT

I don't know if this will help, but I had to run a 1944 model potato peeler in ARMY basic in the 70s. This machine had a fixed, vertical drum lined with a black grit and did not rotate. The bottom of the drum rotated at a high rate, and as I remember, had a couple of bumps and was covered with the same grit. The spuds were dropped in, a little water was sprayed in, and the spuds bounced and spun, and abraded the skins off. The old mess Sgt was on us to not leave the spuds in till the eyes were gone as too much spud was ground off. This thing would grind the peels off 100# of spuds in a few minutes. Took us a lot longer to cut the eyes out and slice them up. I suspect that the grit was silicon carbide and was glued on. This stuff looked like large sandblast grit.
   ptree - Tuesday, 09/07/04 21:01:26 EDT

The ebay low life has 5 FIVE of the same listings!

   - guru - Tuesday, 09/07/04 21:17:33 EDT


Thanks, I'll look into that.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 09/07/04 21:54:52 EDT

Thank you Adam !!
   stan - Tuesday, 09/07/04 22:40:32 EDT

I am planing to build a grand Brick coal forge in my new shop. Is there a place to get some plans of different styles of brick forges? I see a lot of plans for quick easy ones but not many on large brick ones. I have a large shop so size is not a consern.
   - Jeff - Tuesday, 09/07/04 22:47:21 EDT

Jeff, The best brick forges I have seen were at Colonial Williamsburg. Basicaly they were a large brick table with a side draft flue at the back. The work surcase was about three feet by four feet. The side draft was high over the table (about a foot) and sloped back into the collection cone of the brick flue. Air from the bellows entered from the back, level with the floor of the forge. Some had a brick ledge to keep the charcoal in. They were using coal in these charcoal forges and it worked fine.

Brasing Bell in Colonial Forge, TRB

The flues were at least 14" square.

Brick forges with cast iron firepots are a hybrid. The cast iron forepots were designed to go into a cast iron forge to replace the old brick forge entirely. However, some folks have built them. A good firepot makes an exceptionaly hot controllable fire so folks liked to used them. When a fire pot is put into a forge you have to build an arch for access underneith to the tuyere and ash dump, and to get air into the tuyere. If a side draft flue is used the firepot should be close to the flue with only a few inches behind it.

Hybrid forges vary greatly. Many modern ones replace legs with stone, use a steel plate with a cast firepot and then a masonry flue. Those from the late 1800's and early 1900's had single brick thick "hoods" and flues that looked like our "Super Sucker" steel hood on the plans page. See the full image on the iForge page (click on the Blacksmith) for one of these.

MT Richardson's Practical blacksmithing has numerous forge designes from the 1800's.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/08/04 01:01:53 EDT

John S.,

That depends.

If you're talking about lining a gas forge this way, I seriuosly doubt it would ever work. The "yard clay" wouldn't be stable enough to hold form unless fired, and the insulating properties would likely be very poor.

If you're talking coal forge, it would be just fine. The primitive forge was little more than a hole in the dirt with a pipe to feed air into it. In this case, the claying is mainly to protect the forge and/or modify a flat forge base to create a pseudo-firepot or "duck's nest", thus concentrating the fire.

Let us know what type of forge you're talking about and I'm sure we can provide more info.

   eander4 - Wednesday, 09/08/04 01:30:12 EDT

ebay infringer: Mr. "I tested the anvil" responded,
Hello there, terribly sorry if I offended anyone at anvilfire.

Can I offer you anything in exchange for your anger? :0)

thank you sir, can we work something out?

This trite response is what I have come to expect from blatent copyright infringers. Many are indignant when they are caught and don't get the point.

I replied,
You did not offend anyone. You stole private property. The author of the article is upset as are many of our regulars. You used our property in a blantantly misleading advertisment.

There is nothing to work out. Remove the ads with our property in them immediately and there will be no reason for legal action

We shall see what daylight brings. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/08/04 03:14:23 EDT

I need to renew my membership in CSI . I only do this once a year , please instruct me as to which button to click to be able to do so .
Thanks ,
   Harley - Wednesday, 09/08/04 03:48:43 EDT

OK, I got it done . Went to the store and renewed my CSI membership for another year. That was painless. All of you out there who haven't joined yet I urge you to do so now. It's a great way to keep this wealth of information about blacksmithing alive .
   Harley - Wednesday, 09/08/04 03:58:04 EDT

Adam, If you need a rounded stake, assuming the trailer ball would be one, I have a cast iron window sash weight I'll give you. Polish the end and it works fairly well.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 09/08/04 05:56:37 EDT

Special Announcement---

Brother's-In-Law Spacecraft Due Back Today:

The Genesis Project spacecraft, after a couple of years orbiting the "L" point and collecting solar wind particles, will be snagged by helicopter on its way in sometime today, if all goes well. My brother-in-law, Don Burnett has been principle investigator (and instigator) for this project, and now he can get started in checking out just what in the universe things were originally made of. NASA is doing a live-stream computer broadcast of the capture ( http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html ). In the meantime, check out the primary site at: http://www.genesismission.org/ .

Forgive me for hitting y'all scattershot, but we're rather proud of all that has been accomplished, and I figured that most of you would be interested.

Smithing content (just to justify putting it on this page): some of the collector cells are made of titanium and gold, as well as sapphire, silicon, and diamond, each designed to capture various particles of solar wind.

We will now return to our usual Y1K blacksmithing technology. ;-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 09/08/04 09:06:34 EDT

I heard a rumor that Centaur is opening a distribution center in New Braunfels Texas (which is where I live). Anyone know if this is true - I checked the website and didn't see anything listed. In addition, Guru, I emailed a membership form to you - check will go in the mail later today. Thanks, Hollis
   - HWooldridge - Wednesday, 09/08/04 09:37:48 EDT

Hollis, I communicate very little with Centaur these days. Back when Bill Pieh was alive I would talk to him for an hour every couple months. Well. . with Bill, you mostly listened. . . Now, Amy Pieh had some dealings in Texas with "S" somebody. . Triple S or something like that. They are the major Indital component importer/representive and a steel service center. Various folks have been trying to partner with them.

WEATHER: North Carolina got hit hard last night. Many folks are without power or phone or connections. . . I think that includes Paw-Paw. He got bumped during the board meeting last night. We have been on the fringe of the storm here in Central Virgina. The storm is moving this way but is considerably broken up. I cannot afford a flood at this point.

The next big storm, Ivan, is slowly moving and building up in the Caribbean off the coast of Venezuela. Its track is far South having been affected by the current storm. There is no predictiong where it is going. It could be one of those rare storms that hits Central America or the Yucatan or it could track North and make landfall anywhere along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida. It looks like it is South enough that VIcopper will not get hit.

Japan has also has also gotten hit by repeat storms. Its a bad year all around for tropical storms.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/08/04 10:16:20 EDT

If you want a "traditional" brick forge there is an example in Moxon's "Mechanicks Exercises" published in 1703 and currently available in facsimilie reprint.

Really you need to design these things to suit your type of work. I will say having a sizable table is handy for stacking tools on and is usefull when you have a big piece that needs to be spot heated and you're not using a torch...

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 09/08/04 11:20:39 EDT

3dogs, I agree with your W.VA Sewell seam coal! We bought a truck load of the stuff and it is great (we did have about 100# as a sample before the buy)
   - Wayne Parris - Wednesday, 09/08/04 12:07:03 EDT

I've only just started tinkering with forging non-ferrous alloys (bronze at the moment), and I've just been offered some blocks of 6AL4V titanium. The preamble I've been given on them is less than inspiring regarding cutting feeds & speeds, so they are seemingly of little use in the sizes they are right now. I've done searches of the archives, but I can't find much on actually forging the stuff. How well - or badly - does it handle? What temp ranges? Am I likely to enjoy working with it? )By way of comparison, I've been working down 1" dia D2 by hand, which is about the upper limit on my tolerance.)


   Peter - Wednesday, 09/08/04 12:10:54 EDT

Steel Balls for a Stake or hammer: As mentioned there are various options.

Even the good forged trailer balls have a flat on them now. It is usualy where the size is marked. However a stake does not need to be perfectly spherical. A little time with a grinder could take care of the flat. The chrome is going to come off anyway. Note that hitch balls are tough but not very hard.

Numerous folks with access to used ball mill balls are showing up at tailgate sales. These balls are made of various cast materials but most are a hard cast steel. With care they can be welded to a heavy shank. I have seen them from 1" to 8". They are not precision but they are the right price. Big ones are set in a ring or short section of pipe to keep them from rolling off the bench.

Big hardware suppliers like McMaster Carr sell steel balls of all sizes. However, you could pay a machinist to make you one from tool steel WITH a shank for what large precision steel bearing balls cost. Up to about 1" they are reasonable but over that they are quite pricey. But if money is no object they sure are beautiful AND hard. Most folks using them got them from scrap machinery.

Many truck axels have a hemispherical end that would make a good stake with the flange torched off and the center drilled spot welded up. They are good steel and the extra half can be made into a bent stake. At the Flagstaff ABANA conference the stake the Mexican coppersmiths had was a bent section of truck axel set in a stump. The end was torch cut and rough fround to shape. The finish looed like wear and tear.

Frank's idea of a sash weight is a good one. I also considered forging balls. At the B² Design Power Hammer School Zeevik Gotlieb demonstrated forging about a 4" diameter ball on a Big BLU from a piece of 3-1/2" round. This was THE LIMIT for the hammer as the diagonal distance on the billet was about 6". It was not efficient forging but it DID get done.

THEN. . You can always buy a new mushroom stake from Pieh Tool or Centaur Forge. Yeah, BUY a NEW tool!

When my apprentice was here I started collecting armouring tools. At SOFA Quad State last year I bought a 6" diameter ball joint forging with a heavy shank designed to be threaded. It was some kind of SAE 8x6x series steel of some type. Great armouring stake. Then I bought a big 8" ball at the WV Armour-In last spring. It has about a 3" hollow so it weighs about 70 pounds. At the ABANA conference there was a tailgater selling as cast stakes and holders that I had seen several times. So I got a 2" and 4" stake and holder. The stake holder also fits 2 other stakes I had collected. I got distracted at a CVBG meet and missed a bunch of smaller mill balls that quite inexpensive (pennies). So now I have 2", 4", 6" and 8" spherical surfaces. The collection cost about $150 (not including the travel) and took 6 months to put together. Several pieces need to be ground and polished but that is the fun and easy part. I am still looking for 1-1/2" to 2-1/2" bearing balls to make an Allan Beaudry style dishing hammer.

The point is that like anvils, many of these things are where you find them. Attending as many chapter and conference meetings as you can helps. Having a good relationship with a big scrap yard could result in nifty finds. Our friend ptree also has access to big upset pieces that would make great stakes.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/08/04 12:21:29 EDT

I am sure that this has been asked millions of times and is prolly the number one nooby question but I want to know what I should make a forge out of.
This is what I have so far.

1. I have several square feet of 11 gauge (I assume mild) steel
2. A electric squirrel cage heater fan that I am thinking of converting to manual (don’t want to blow the coals out of the fire)

Now that you know where I am at right now I have 2 major questions.
1. I assume that forges aren’t just made out of metal, I need some type of coating, fire rock something to line the actually furnace, I need to know what I should use, apprx. How much it cost, and a gentle shove in the right direction on accuring the materials. And where I can acquire coal in the Oklahoma City area of central Oklahoma

2. I would appreciate any advice you people can give me, something to save me lots of headache that you had to find out the hard way.

i appreciate all the help and if this is coverd on another page i appoligize and like i said just gently shove me in the right direction
   gomer pyle - Wednesday, 09/08/04 12:51:24 EDT


It would appear that the copyright thief of eBay is not heeding good advice. Still several for sale, same ripped-off photos and text.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 09/08/04 13:00:11 EDT


I suggest you check out the "Getting Started" page. On the pull-down menu at the top right of this screen, scroll down and click on "21st Century". On that page, look on the pull-down FAQ's menu for Getting Started and other pertinent articles. After perusing all of that, check back with specific questions that still need answwers. And welcome to Anvilfire!
   vicopper - Wednesday, 09/08/04 13:04:03 EDT

the genisis probe it appears was a faliure the parachutes failed to open, and it made a rather dig creator as it impacted the earth.
i hope all the hard work was not lost.
   gomer pyle - Wednesday, 09/08/04 13:31:24 EDT

Gomer, Modern forges are made of cast iron or steel. 11 ga is a little light but will do for quite a while. I've seen very nice forges built from old hot water heater tanks and they are about that thick.

Forges get hot enough to melt both metals but the heat is blown UP by the blast. The air blast also helps cool the tuyere (where the air comes in). AND the fuel bed itself helps to insulate the metal.

As VIc noted you should spend some time exploring anvilfire starting with the Getting Started article and the FAQs that link form it. We have plans for started forges that you can modify to your materials and ability.

Gas and oil forges are made from refractory materials (which we sell). Light weight insulating blanket is the most efficient and is covered with ITC-100 coating. About $90 worth of refractory materials (plus shipping) will make two forges.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/08/04 13:41:06 EDT

Space exploration is still risky business. However, I have read that among the folks qualified to go to Mars there are many that would volunteer for a ONE WAY trip. Go, explore, do everything they could, report on it and then perish. Imortality in the history books in exchange for advancing science and the GREAT ADVENTURE. At this point in my life I would consider such an adventure. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/08/04 13:45:00 EDT

Speaking of THE GREAT ADVENTURE. . . The Israel, Uri Hofi school trip is taking shape. It is planed for mid January 2005 and will last a week. Cost will be under $3000 everything included (air fare, accommodations, materials). Exact dates and cost will be posted on the Big BLU site and our Calendar of events in a few days. If you are interested then see our TRAVEL FAQ about getting a passport.

Big T-storm and lightening on the trailing edge of the storm. . I'm gone!
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/08/04 13:51:23 EDT

Frank: Thanks very much for the offer - I will stop by with some scrap and we'll trade.

Guru: Thanks for the info on steel balls - I do have a 3" mill ball onto which someone welded a hardy shank for me. Unfortunately, at that time, we didn't understand the problems that occur when welding cast iron and the weld has cracked apart - I may try brazing the stem on. For smaller sizes - I guess I will just forge them out of truck axles - like you say they dont have to be perfectly round.

One way trip to Mars: I too have list of people I would like to volounteer for this expedition

Gomer: Leave the blower electric and make a blast gate or a butterfly valve instead. It will take less time than converting to hand cranked. It's always good to have spare capacity in your blower. You dont yet know how much air your are going to need.
   adam - Wednesday, 09/08/04 14:52:15 EDT

PS Where can I get more info on the Hofi trip?
   adam - Wednesday, 09/08/04 14:56:04 EDT

Adam, its not posted yet. Will be here and on the Big BLU page in a couple days.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/08/04 15:01:37 EDT

The ebay low life says "prove it".

There is nothing misleading about it at all, I beg your pardon!!!
And I don't appreciate you saying so.

As far as the pictures go, you'll have to prove they are original, I've seen very similar ones on the net, and you people at anvilfire could have very easily used those, and changed them.

I'd like to know where the problem lies, and how is it harming anything??? or anyone??

I think your overreacting here, a lot. I mean your running a little info site, not trying to even sell a similar anvil, that would be different.

I checked with my close friend who is an attorney, I had him look at what I wrote etc, he said you'd have a very hard time proving your case.
. . . .

Also tell me which EXACT part of my ad you don't like? forget the pictures, cause they are generic. I
did the drop test, and this can vary with the hardness of the ball you use. I did have one tested by a friend, and what he told me matched what you all might have said. Come on here, get real!

You want to pursue legal action, that will be up to you.

good day.

   - guru - Wednesday, 09/08/04 15:07:34 EDT

Dam, Frank! I never thought of them, and I've got a stack of them out in the shop!

Thanks for the idea!
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 09/08/04 15:51:51 EDT

Genesis Salvage Efforts:

At least it's all in BIG pieces, and not little fragments scattered about the desert. Maybe the terminal velocity was low enough that some of the specimen capsules or media survived intact. The idea behind the parachute snag was developed after they had kicked some prototypes off the back of a truck at 90 mph and observed the damage done to the more delicate media like saphire and diamond. Given a finite limitation by what the launch vehicle could lift, everything else is a tradeoff.

Gory Details at 11:00! ;-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 09/08/04 15:54:52 EDT

Balls: the armourer trick is to buy a trailer hitch ball and weld the *flat* spot to a stake and then cut off the other end a bit proud and grind it round.

My biggest ball stake was a headache ball from a crane; my smallest was from some sort of balljoint. My main reason for buying an ancient stick welder was to be able to make my own tooling from all those balls I have collected over the years at fleamarkets, junkstores, yard sales etc., shoot I was even down in shipping once and spoted a large ball bearing that had be ground flat on one edge and etched---the fellow was using it as a paper weight and just gave it to me...*Constance* *Vigilance*!

The big thing seems to be to take old ball mill balls and trying to sell them as "cannon balls" at grossly inflated prices---sort of like those "fake" prison chains that are supposed to be *old* but have arc welded chain...

The goal of all armouresrs is to have a complete set of balls from 1/8" to 1' by 64ths and mirrored polished...

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 09/08/04 15:56:04 EDT

Back on line, finally.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 09/08/04 16:07:40 EDT

King Architectural metals sells hot stamped steel balls in various sizes up to 3-15/16, quite reasonably priced.
   aaron - Wednesday, 09/08/04 16:09:58 EDT

Guru, my name is Jose Antonio and I am posting from São Paulo, Brazil. I am a mining engineer and a custom blades collector.I have no experience in blacksmithing but I´m trying to help a friend that is a bladesmith and have a large experience in forging damascus steel:
He found an old bearing, Bower trademark, and forged this bearing to a knife, without folding it. The forging temperature was around 850 C. It resulted in a tight damascus pattern in the surface that appeared after etching the blade. We suppose the steel is 52100.
We would like to know: why did this pattern appeared? Is it possible to forge/fold 52100 steel to produce folded damascus to large blades/swords? There is any disvantage in use this folded steel for this purpose?
   Tortorelli, José Antonio - Wednesday, 09/08/04 16:29:18 EDT

Yes boys and girls, Ptree has access to some wonderful upset forged shapes, in some useful alloys. Been looking at the wornout die inserts, that are half moon on the outside and varous curves on the inside, and made from wonderfull hot work die steel! I suspect that I can buy these for scrap steel prices as that is what we sell them for!
Need a hammer-in in Louisville, and I would just set up a scale and cash register:) We scrap about 5,000,0003/year.
   ptree - Wednesday, 09/08/04 17:02:24 EDT

"...buy a trailer hitch ball and weld the *flat* spot to a stake and then cut off the other end a bit proud and grind it round" Good idea. I must give this a try.

"The goal of all armouresrs is to have a complete set of balls..." Together with half the human race!

Aaron Thanks! Will check them out

   adam - Wednesday, 09/08/04 17:05:33 EDT

Hello, I have an old Buffalo forge # 65 that I have inherited from my uncle. He has been able to tell me something about it but not all. I am trying to restore it. The crank still works and blows air. The "pan" had rusted out and seems to be the only thing missing. However, I don't know what it looked like before. I have been searching the net for resources. Do you know where I can get a pan or how to make one or find a copy of the manual? I am not a blacksmith so I don't know how to restore this completely. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you Al Turner
   Al Turner - Wednesday, 09/08/04 17:07:02 EDT

Big Balls,
For those with ball envy, and a lack of their own, try a valve repair shop if in oil field country. Ball check valves start at about 5/8" and run to about 8". Typical alloys may be surmised if the valve nameplate is readable. Look for the part of the nameplate that lists "TRIM"
if 13Cr then expect 440C
if 18-8 then expect 316SS
if NACE expect inconel, or a solution anealed 316(useless)
if Ni-Cu expect monel
All but the 316SS solution annealed will be hard enough to use, although the regular 316 will be the softest.
To weld on a shank, use a 309SS rod, and it should stick, and if you are quick to cool in water after the red is gone from the weld, the working surface will remain hard.
Luckly, the most common will be the 440C followed by the inconel. In ball valves, most of the cheap valves have brass with a thin plate, andwill not be too usefull.
In ball valves, look for steel or stainless bodies and the balls will usually be decent stuff.

We made lapping tools for the seats of these valves in this manner for about 60 years.

   ptree - Wednesday, 09/08/04 17:14:37 EDT

Buffalo Forge: Al, See our book review page and the Buffalo Forge CD. There are also forge images on the Champion Forge CD review and the 21st Century Page.

Small rivet forges had a steel pan that looked a lot like a round charcoal grill but a little heavier. Round, 18 to 24" (450 to 610mm) in diameter, about 3" (75mm) deep. Some had a wind shield on one side that made a gentle arc and was about 8" (200mm) high.

Coal ash is highly corrosive and sheet metal forges have a short life unless kept clean, indoors and dry. Most smiths like to use heavier plate for this reason. Rivet forges were round but it is easier to built a square or rectangular forge.

Be sure to OIL that blower. They have no seals and all leak so they must be oiled regularly.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/08/04 17:39:48 EDT

Thanks for the info, what I realy want to build is a brick structure with a side draft brick flue, steel harth and cast iron firepot. I have some brick that I salvaged from a school that was torn down, about 600 or so and a piece of 1/2" thick plate steet that mesures 3' x 4' for the harth. I will probobly place a piece of blue stone overlaping the harth for the base of my flue. I also want to build a small slab of steel at the end of the harth raised up about one corse for a cooling surface. the total lenth of the forge will be aprox 8' long and 3' wide. My chimany will have to extend at least 4' above my roof line so will be about 9' off the face of the harth. How many bricks do you think this will take to build? I'm sure more than 600, and can I make the flue 12"12" or do you recomend 14"x14"?
   - Jeff - Wednesday, 09/08/04 19:23:22 EDT

Guru, I have a question regarding the mig tip burner that you have in the gas forges section of the Faqs. I plan on using the 1/2" block of steel for the mounting bracket. Where do you mount that at? Do you mount it on the outside of the pipe or inside? Is there anything else i need to know about this design? I do appreciate any feedback.
Ian Wille
   Ian Wille - Wednesday, 09/08/04 19:40:32 EDT

Jock, would the lying scumbag at eBay be convinced if you told him you had a sworn statement from the author/photographer that the text and images were given ONLY to anvilfire as exclusive property and are protected by copyright? I still have the original digital photos on my hard drive. Ask him if he has found my encoded signature in the photos! Frankly, he doesn't sound smart enough to be afraid of the threat of legal action. I wonder if his friend the LAWYER is the same friend that works in METALLUGICAL SHOP? What a joke. I guess you need to go to the webmaster at eBay.
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 09/08/04 19:44:27 EDT

Any tips on bending a 3.5" radius curve with length 1/4 of the circumfrence. The stock to be used is 3/16 x 1" bent along 1" side. I dont have a metal bender or press or any really expensive equipment. But it needs to be pretty accurate ( within about + or - 1/8" ).

   - Hayes - Wednesday, 09/08/04 19:50:12 EDT


Take your pages and his pages and highlight all of the duplications and send to e-bay along with the notice of copyright. That's what brought our English author who used portions of my sword article around, that and copies directly to the publishers. Even if he SAID he did the tests, the duplication or paraphrasing of the copyrighted work does catch their attention.

Failing that, we will be more than pleased to inform every blacksmithing, armoring and medievalist forum of this dubous behavior; the net is GOOD for getting word around-

So what's he going to do, sue you? For telling the truth? Let's see if HIS lawyer can actually say something; he's small pickings, but so are you, AND you're an educational resource which gives you the high ground! You could even set up a sample EXPOSE' PAGE, which we would be glad to refer everybody too.

On the other hand, if the games not worth the candle, no problem; but we stand ready to pass the word if you wish it.

[It's the Viking in me!]
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 09/08/04 20:29:21 EDT

Hays, The hand-forging way might be to bend with fork and wrench on the FLAT the inside radius in order to make a form for bending around. Use suitably thick stock. I tack weld mine on the concave side to my layout table, grind/remove later. Since you're bending on edge, you might need to weld a smallish flat flange to the bending form a scant 1/4" above the table to help prevent excessive warping. You need the extra, because the inside of the curve will naturally upset a little. Using heat, to start the bend, you'll need to leave room to clamp it tightly with visegrips, toggle, or dog of some kind. I wouldn't make the flange too wide, or you'll be working blind. You'll probably need to give the piece a slight level-up after each heat. Use wood or rawhide, if you don't want hammer marks. All of this is assuming you're making multiples. If it's one of a kind, just use you're fork and scroll wrench, and get it done.

Thomas P. Us fogies call the forge "table" a hearth.

   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 09/08/04 21:05:23 EDT

Hello, I just recently read your articles about sword making, and do not worry, I'm not complaining about your answers, I only wish to say that I am quite interested in military history and ancient weapons, I have researched the subject quite a bit, and then began designing weapons of my own, I am working on a javelin, throwing axe and a sword. Just recently I have been looking into steelcrafting for weapons, I will ask you to please tell me what books are good sources to learn about this.
   - Ludovic - Wednesday, 09/08/04 21:57:41 EDT


I suppose that may be why the charlatan is no longer a "SquareTrade" member on eBay. A notice to eBay is definitely in order, as they are the webmasters who are ultimately responsible; if they continue to allow him to use plagiarized material, after having been notified. At that point, I would think that eBay themselves become actionable, and they have very deep pockets.

Of course, my free "legal" advise is worth just exactly as much as that other guy's. (grin)
   vicopper - Wednesday, 09/08/04 22:08:56 EDT

Brick Forge: Jeff, Brick count is the world of a mason, not a blacksmith. For me to figure it out I would have to make a scale drawing and count every brick. . . I've done it before. If you can build it, I'm sure you can figure it out too.

One thing to consider is using cheap concrete block for fill in the more massive parts. I am partial to the style of masonry that uses stone corners and brick fill. Looks nice.

Be sure to use something compressable around the steel plate. It will expand much more from the heat than the brick and wreck the masonry work. Strips of sheet rock are sometimes used, soft wood is also used. Better yet, be sure the plate is removable.

The flue needs to be as large as reasonably possible. The 14x14 inches I mentioned was based on a flue I saw that worked VERY well. Local building codes may require a terracota liner.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/08/04 22:27:04 EDT

Weaponry: Ludovic, There is a link to Atli's Sword's article from the Sword Making FAQ. It includes many references that are available for the historical weapons maker. Almost every time I see him he has another relatively rare new book on historical weapons. This type of research is often quite specific as to location and time period. Atli is into everything Norman and Viking and thus has a very specific library.

Archeological researchers publish their works usualy ONCE and the majority of the printings go to university libraries world wide. They are usualy available to the public until the printing runs out. Very rarely do these books see a second printing in the author's or OUR lifetime. Serious students of the arts such as Atli and Thomas collect and study these references. They find out about these things by being members of various groups and being vigilant about new publication announcements.

IF you cannot afford to build a library then you rely on public and University libraries. These vary greatly in quality and focus. University libraries collect books to support their programs. Some have vast engineering, medical, law or history collections. Seek out those places.

I live in Central Virginia USA. That puts me within a few hours drive of the University of Virginia where there is a WONDERFUL library system. A little farther is Washington DC with the Library of Congress and the US patent Office. To the East we have Richmond and the Medical College of Virginia and VCU which has a satelite patent office collection. The point is, to do serious research you must often be williing to travel. I have known friends to sleep on park benches (not recommended) while they spent days doing research at the LOC. Research is serious work but it can also be fun.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/08/04 22:55:53 EDT

Forging Tool Steels and Titanium: The problem with Ti is oxygen absorption. To keep its high performance properties it must be heated in a vacuume furnace or protected from atmospheric gasses. However, blacksmiths often forge it using coal or gas forges. They lose some of the critical properties but then they are usualy not making parts for the aerospace industry is their small shops.

To avoid excessive oxidation and problems with soak times when working tool steels and Ti it is VERY benificial to use as few heats as possible. This means a striker or swinging an 8 pound hammer OR better yet, using a power hammer. Many things that would take you all day to forge by hand can be forged in minutes in just a couple heats with a power hammer. The result is metalurgicaly better with better surface finish and much less wear and tear on your joints.

One trick some plants are using to prevent oxygen absorption of Ti is to coat the billets with ITC-213. This protects the billets while heating and handling and any unforged sections are protected. The forged areas usualy cool so fast in the dies that gas absorption is not a problem. High tech materials combined to use low tech equipment and get high tech results. . . I have not tried it yet but I am going to give it a shot with common steel billets some time. Just to find how well it works.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/08/04 23:07:37 EDT

Bending: Hayes, see our 21st Cetury Page and the article on benders. Inexpensive simple jigs can produce thousands of parts to exacting tolerances.

NOTE that springback varies with temper. Be carefull when purchasing materials for production bending that they are all the same condition. It is common today to shear plate into bar then run through straightening and edging rolls. The result is material that is work hardened and springier than cold drawn steel. And both are springier than hot roll.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/08/04 23:31:50 EDT

Well, I did read the getting started and did not find what i was looking for, but you hit the nail on the head.

and i did hear one thing i was hoping i would not, the cost of the blanket is $90, thats a little steep for me being a poor welding student right now.lol mabee i might have to wait. almost done woohoo

and i do remember reading someone talking about having problems welding cast iron, i have done some my self and it was not all that hard with stick. it took some tinkering but i used a oxy tourch to preheat to almost red, if you get to hot just let it cool for a second. i then used a 6010 rod for the root pass, and a 7018 for the cover (i also use 7024 my favorite, but as you know can only be used in flat and horizontal positions)as soon as i break arc with the rod i put the tourch back on the piece (cant let it cool or it will crack) when you finish i had a hole dig in a sand box bigg enough to fit the pice in and, i threw it in and burried it. a coupple hours later it was cool to the touch and there was no cracking.
but of course i dont think you can consider my ways blacksmithing and most people here prolly already know a better way to weld castiorn
i hope that helps
   gomer pyle - Wednesday, 09/08/04 23:32:43 EDT

The Getting Started article has dozens of links that are part of it. All the books have reviews and most of the images have links. Follow the links and all will be revealed.

The $90 includes a $32 jar of ITC-100, highly recommended. You can buy less blanket but the price per unit goes up. $21 worth and a fire brick will make a small forge.

There is cast iron and there is cast iron. Many castings that you might identify as CI are in fact ductile iron. Ductile can be welded by common methods.

THEN there is the shape to consider. Brackets and simple shaped CI parts can be welded with a torch. However, pump housings, engine blocks, transmission cases and such complicated shapes have HUGE problems with shrinkage cracking. Welding an ear on a flange is no problem but repairing a crack in a scroll housing sucessfully is nearly impossible. These things are not preheated where they are welded, they are preheated where the cooling creates a symetrical shinking that avoids stress. I've done it back when I was too cheap to know better.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/09/04 00:41:25 EDT

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