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This is an archive of posts from September 9 - 15, 2004 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Bending: Hayes, see our 21st Century 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

Hi, I am a total virgin. I hope this is not a stupid series of questions, wasting your time, but what is the difference between cold roll & hot roll steel? Carbon levels? My desire is to forge swords & knives, and I have seen A36 @ online metals( hot), & 1018(cold). Am I right in assuming this is 10xx where xx equals carbon content? Or on the same thought is the A36 a tool steel? Any help in decifering would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance

   Neil - Thursday, 09/09/04 00:56:04 EDT

I'm aboutto visit glasgow, scotland next week and I wish to visit local blacksmith artists, galleries and stores. I couldn't find proper information on the net. Can you help with some tips?
   opher shapiro - Thursday, 09/09/04 01:34:23 EDT

MR. SHAPIRO; If I remember correctly our own Brother Frank Turley has done that very thing, and fairly recently. too.
   - 3dogs - Thursday, 09/09/04 02:48:07 EDT

I was given a bar of that 6AL4V titanium ( we think) to play with. It's bloody recalcitrant...very stiff, even at yellow.
Then there's the phase change...shockingly abrupt and it sends the hammer right back at your head long before you expect it...hard on the hammer and anvil too....snotty stuff...but kinda neat..very light and stiff.
   - Pete F - Thursday, 09/09/04 04:24:52 EDT


Thanks for the info. The D2 alone has convinced me I'd *like* a power hammer, but getting 3 phase in to run it looks likely to cost twice as much as a new air hammer alone... I do use a 7lb hand hammer for drawing out awkward stock, but that is way over the top for most of what I do (3lb is my norm).

I like the trick with the ITC - sounds similar to the (apocryphal?) coating of tamahagene billets. I wonder if thinned furnace cement would work? Only one way to find out...

Thanks again,

   Peter - Thursday, 09/09/04 04:31:27 EDT

opher shapiro, We breezed through Glasgow on the train, and spent most of our time in Edinburgh, thence west to the isle of Skye. We were typical tourists visiting the "flower clock" in the park, the Edinburgh Castle, and the Scottish National Episcopal Church. In the latter, we saw some forged thistles, the thistle being a national emblem of Scotland. We did get to visit Edward Martin, renowned farrier and blacksmith in Closeburn, the Southern Highlands. However, he is in poor health and his shop is silent. He opened the door for us, anyway.

Neil, A36 is the regular ol' low carbon stock that comes off the racks in 20' lengths at the steel service center. It contains an amount of manganese for strength. Cold rolled and hot rolled are usually the same. After hot rolling at the mill, the bars are pickled and cold rolled or cold drawn. The two x's do indicate carbon as eighteen hundreths of one percent. When you get over 0.30%, you're entering "medium carbon steel". Plain carbon tool steel is can be designated by a letter and number, as W1, usually sold in varying carbon contents from about 0.70% through 1.3%. Locate the FAQs on this site to find out more.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 09/09/04 09:06:51 EDT

Glasgow: Went there several years ago and there is a lot of iron in the downtown shopping and historic district. You have to look around but there are some nice balcony rails, sign frames, etc. Hope the weather cooperates for you. I was there midsummer and it was clear and cool - great trip!
   - HWooldridge - Thursday, 09/09/04 09:59:26 EDT

Steels: Neil, Besides what Frank had to say you REALLY need to get a book that discusses various steels such as Machinery's Handbook or the CoSIRA book on metals. See our book review page for both.

A36 is an ASTM structural grade steel that is being sold as "common" or "mild" steel. Neither ASTM A36 or SAE 1018-20 is suitable for blades or edge tools other than froes and splitting wedges (both splitting tools). These steels are used for almost everything else in the blacksmith shop from building machinery to decorative work.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/09/04 10:25:10 EDT

Neil *RUN* get a copy of "the Complete Bladesmith" by James Hrisoulas it will save you a lot of grief. Also try to get in touch with your local smithing group, a saturday in the shop of someone who knows what they were doing will save you 6 months of institutionalizing your mistakes on your own...

Gomer, you can usually by kaowool by the foot at Quad-State. Shoot everything from coal to Ti, 200 year old anvils to brand spanking new anvils, powerhammers, forges, books, even thingamajigs and watchamacallits!

I have to miss it this year so I thought I would just spend the time in my new shop perfecting cold fusion, squaring the circle, turning lead into gold, finding the lost dutchman mine and BURNING all my notes!

   Thomas P - Thursday, 09/09/04 11:20:40 EDT

Hot and Cold "roll" steel:

Any steel, alloy, low carbon or high that is rolled at the mill and left with the scaled finish and in the "as rolled" condition (not heat treated) is "hot roll steel" OR HR Steel.

The general term for steels that are otherwise finished are "CF" for cold finished. CF steels include cold drawn steels, centerless ground and "pickled and cold rolled steel" and sheared and edge rolled steel. Most steel service centers use the CF as a general indication of the steel's finish as their inventory often varies between different processing methods.

Which cold finish makes a great deal of difference to many end users. The different metheds determine the temper condition and the precisness of the product.

For nearly 100 years (~1880 to ~1975) "cold drawn" was the standard of excellence in precision mild steel, ususaly SAE 1018-1020. Annealed and then drawn through precision dies it was true to square and held a tollerance of +.000/-.005 or better (usualy better). Cold drawn steel was usualy sufficiently precision to make keys for shafts, shims and manufacture all types of items that needed a smooth clean surface and good dimensional control of the raw material. The drawing process requires very good quality steel properly annealed and descaled before drawing. Most small square stock is cold drawn but other types are replacing this under the "CF" designation that does NOT mean the same thing.

"Pickled and cold rolled" is steel that is rolled just a tad oversize, descaled with acid or water blast and cold rolled to the finished dimensions. In the past this was the same grade of SAE steel as cold drawn and the process used on rectangulars and flats that could not be drawn through dies. It started in the annealed condition and the end product was hard to distinguish from cold drawn. Today however this steel is often A36 structural grade that is cold rolled immediately from the hot roll after spray quenching to remove the scale. The quality of the steel is not as good, finish is not as good, and the temper is usualy harder than cold drawn.

Sheared and rolled from plate starts as HR plate that has been rolled to its final thickness dimension at a black heat. This leaves a fine finish and a hard temper. The sheet is then sheared, further work hardening it. The final stage is straightening and edge rolling which work hardens the product more. The shearing does not produce square edges. The edge and corner rolling attempts to correct this but in the process often creates edge folds and cold shuts. This product is MUCH inferior to cold drawn and is often substituted for both cold drawn and hot rolled flats. The squareness and tolerances are not suitable for key stock or precision applications. The hard temper from work hardening has much more spring back than other steels, ESPECIALLY hot roll and requires different bending jigs than other steels.

I had a supplier substitute sheared and edge rolled 3/16" x 2" for hot roll or the same dimensions. I had built bending jigs based on hot roll from the same supplier. The temper of the sheared product was so hard that you could bend a 6" radius and it sprung back to nearly straight. The hot roll only sprung back about 1/4". Just enough to get it off the jig.

Centerless ground is round bar that is sized by grinding on rolls. It is not as striaght or as precision as cold drawn round bar which is often used as-is for small and large shafting. The finish is smooth but produced by grinding so that it is not the same as cold drawn. Most centerless ground stock is too high a carbon material to be cold drawn and the process is usualy applied to tool steels and drill rod. However, there ARE low carbon centerless ground products AND precision centerless ground products such as stainless ball slide ways. In most cases you need to know which product and the tollerances for your application.

Your steel supplier will generally sell you any one of the four under the CF designation. However, to the end user the difference in products MAY be critical. If you are hot forging the entirity of a piece the original condition is not a concern. But if you are forging part of a bar such as for a picket you will want a hot rolled bar that has a similar finish to the hot forged section. If you are cold bending on jigs or in a press the as delivered temper is critical.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/09/04 11:46:29 EDT


Since you can't go to Quad States, and I am going, can I borrow your hat? I'm figuring that if I wore your disreputable red hat, then *I* could get all the great deals! (grin)
   vicopper - Thursday, 09/09/04 11:46:33 EDT

VIc, you might get more then you bargained for. . . ;)
   - guru - Thursday, 09/09/04 12:00:28 EDT

Well, after being stalled several days IVAN is on the move. Cuba and Haiti are going to get clobered if it follows the expected track. Then again it could hit the Yucatan. The recent cold front that passed through may stear it over Florida but I wouldn't put money on ANTHING this one is going to do. Glad it missed the Virgin Islands and VIcopper.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/09/04 12:09:33 EDT

Please, what is the technique for bending angle iron? I have a faint memory of being told that you have to prebend it "the other way" and then bend in the desired arc.
   adam - Thursday, 09/09/04 14:01:45 EDT

vicopper, as much as I would be happy to let you borrow it, I'm afraid them angry fathers with shotguns might catch up with you and mistaking you for me you'd end up married to a dozen wives and that would be hard to explain back in the VI; so in order to ensure domestic tranquility I must regretfully decline.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 09/09/04 16:05:16 EDT

I know this is a noobie question, but here goes: what causes the black oxidized, pitted appearance on steel after annealing or heat treat, and how can I prevent it? It's quite discouraging to spend hours working a blade, only to heat it and see it looks like 5 miles of bad road
   - patrick - Thursday, 09/09/04 16:27:09 EDT

Patrick, that black surface is plain old scale, aka iron oxide. It happens when you heat steel above a low red heat and the surface combines with oxygen in the fire and/or the ambient air. It is a fact of life. To avoid it, you must do one of three things: heat it in a vacuum furnace, which is not practical or cheap; seal it in stainless steel foil before heating, and rip it out and quench immediately upon removing the whole thing from the fire, which is doable but timing is critical; or you can cheat and take the third way out, which is to heat the blade in a pipe closed on one end only (lest you blow yourself up) in which you have put some charcoal, then dump the whole thing in the quench bath when it gets to temperature. This won't completely avoid scaling, but it does help. The blade will still be black, but it'll be smoother and easier to finish. You should not be getting any pitting regardless. Pitting means you got it too hot.
   Alan-L - Thursday, 09/09/04 16:49:42 EDT

Heating Finished Work: Patrick, You answered your own question, oxidation. Heat + air + steel = oxidation and scale. Under certain narrow conditions you can heat steel in a forge without severly oxidizing it but you never retain a bright surface.

There are a number of ways to avoid scale. One is to wrap the work in stainless steel foil. The foil is sold by the roll and as envleopes for heat treating. You seal the part in the foil, heat it then strip off the foil to quench. There is only a brief moment of oxidation. If you are annealing you would leave the foil on.

Some bladesmiths such as Don Fogg use salt baths for heating. The salt provides an even heat and excludes oxygen. Salt baths can be used for heating to harden, quenching to harden and to temper. Removing the salt is sometimes an issue but the metal remains unoxidized. See Don'w web site (link on our links page).

Another method is to use a case hardening box for heating. The box is clay, steel or graphite and is filled with powdered charcoal and sealed. When quenching the entire contents can be dumped into the quench OR the piece can be lifted out and quenched. This method also case hardens the piece so it should not be soaked at temperature unless the goal is to case harden.

Then there are vacuume and hydrogen atmosphere furnaces. . .

   - guru - Thursday, 09/09/04 17:01:26 EDT

Howdy to all you guys out there. I'm working on a propane burner and am building the design that uses the mig tip. Will it work to take a piece of 1/2" square, bend it 9o degrees, drill a hole in for 1/8" pipe, and just screw the bracket onto the intake pipe? If not i'll just probably weld on a bracket, or maybe go with ron reil's design.
Thanks for any help,
Ian Wille
   Ian Wille - Thursday, 09/09/04 17:10:06 EDT

Hurricane Ivan gave us a pass here in the Virgin Islands, but that monster is going to hammer the bejabbers out of Jamaica and probably Grand Cayman. Even worse than it already hammered Barbados and Grenada. Having endured the aftermath of a category 5 hurricane (Hugo in '89), I can attest to the horrendous damage from a storm of that magnitude, or anywhere near it. Water traveling at over 160 mph is unbelievably destructive.

I've seen cast concrete building leveled, full 100,000 gallon steel storage tanks crumpled like empty beer cans and 1000-ton ships tossed up on shore like toys. Ironically, the same storm may leave untouched a tarpaper shack just fifty feet from the concrete-roofed house it destroyed next door.

Big hurricanes, and the tornadoes they spawn off are awesome forces of nature. No one in his right mind stays around for one if he can leave. Unless, of course, he's in emergency services and then you just hunker down and wait it out, hoping for the best.

My hopes are with those in the path of Ivan. I know all too intimately the dread they are feeling right now, with everything on the line and nowhere to go. Please keep those folks in your prayers.
   vicopper - Thursday, 09/09/04 17:13:07 EDT

Adam, here is a link to a jig design as well as an explaination of technique for the bending of angle iron:
Good name U got there BTW

Hope this helps
   lazarus - Thursday, 09/09/04 17:28:03 EDT

Ian. 1/2" sq is a bit large - the width (and the square corners) will obstruct the air flow into the intake bell. But I imagine it will work ok
   adam - Thursday, 09/09/04 17:32:20 EDT

Lazarus - thanks! It's not the technique that I had in mind but I think it will do the job for me. Whitaker's technique involved some funky prebend that compensated for the angle iron's tendency to bow out of line when bent. Gunter's method is more straightforward and probably a better choice for some one like me who does this infrequently.
   adam - Thursday, 09/09/04 17:37:32 EDT

The ebay debacle continues: Both Quenchcrack and myself have written to the infringer frankie8acres several times. He is totaly unapologetic and recalcitrant, claiming he did nothing wrong. When confronted about the images he said "prove it" and "YOU stole those images from some other website", I responded that I have the originals with the backgrounds before editing, the full size edited images and the photographer's sworn statement of ownership. There was no response or action to that.

He has also been insulting in his mails to both Quenchcrack and myself and has wanted to know what "a little anvil site like anvilfire has to do with ebay" and says "all you guys sound alike". Yeah, I guess all honest victims of a theft do sound alike when they ask for their property back.

Imagine doing business with someone like this!

He missrepresents the anvils as forged, as high carbon steel and claims HE was the one that dressed up the anvil in the photo (that is not his). He also claims it is made for "professional use" in his ad and then says in his mail "I'm selling to johnny homeowners, not professional blacksmiths". . . In other words he is taking advantage of the uninformed with his lies.

We and several others have submitted complaints to ebay through their "system". I sent notice of the infringment and that the seller had been contacted and I sent notice that the seller had refused to cease and desist. We do not expect a response from ebay. If there is a response I expect it to be the company line (a form letter) and no action of consquence will be taken.

On the advice of others, I have prepared a document with copies of frankie8acres ad, our article and prints of the original and edited photos next to the stolen images. A cover letter and a statement from Quenchcrack will be included. This will be mailed as soon as I recieve QC's signed statement.

If there is no response to that then we may have to fall back to taking legal action. Most copyright infringers "all sound alike" (to quote frankie8acres) when confronted. They are indignant and trite. But most have enough sense to back off when confronted.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/09/04 17:55:32 EDT

Burner Question: Ian, I'm sorry I missed your question.

The 1/2" bar is bent to make an "L" of about 2=1/2" by 1-1'2". It can be welded OR screwed OR clamped with a hose clamp to the intake tube. It is high enough above the intake to create no obstruction.

The hole for the 1/8" NPT gas pipe must be laid out and drilled so that it aligns with the center of the intake tube. If it is clamped on you can shim and adjust to center. If welded then you should drill after it is welded on. A small #10-32 drilled and taped hole in the end of the bar takes a set screw to hold the gas pipe in place.

The advantages of this option are; 1) It can be made with no welding. 2) the engagement of the injection tip can be adjusted. The prefered method of attachment is screws requiring a couple holes drilled through the bracket and taped in the side of the tube.

Note that this is a quick and dirty burner without an air adjustment. I have made several and they work perfectly with a forge volume of a cubic foot or less. But I am not picky about forge atmosphere or efficiency on this small a forge. They work. But are not the best.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/09/04 18:10:31 EDT

Guru, Thanks so much for the words of advice, you have been a big help. maybe I will send you some pictures when I am done. Thanks again
   - Jeff - Thursday, 09/09/04 18:23:15 EDT

Guru gave you a very good answer with a caveat about the quality of design at the end. If you would like to see how I built my burners and have access to the yahoo AnvilFire galleries I have just uploaded some exploded views of the burners built from off the shelf plumbing parts and utillizing a mig tip. no welding but I did have to tap the inside of one fitting to accept the mig tip threads.
These burners ( I use 2 ) have adjustable atmospheres and achieve welding heats in a pipe forge of 18" x 9" inside dimensions. If you have any questions after studying pics feel free to ask.

From one Adam to another, your very welcome. Glad you found the info useful as did I.

   lazarus - Thursday, 09/09/04 18:30:44 EDT

Pics are in the folder labeled Lazarus's

proof then post ;-)

   lazarus - Thursday, 09/09/04 18:40:59 EDT

More on Frankie8acres: I got another email from Frankie this afternoon. He said he was going to change his ad, for the better, but not because of us! He shared a pearl of wisdom that "we should all shut our pie hole and get a life". I told him we had a life, thank you, but it did not include lying and cheating to make a buck. His email address is fm900@aol.com if anyone wants to send him warm personal greetings. As for registering complaints with eBay, forget it. I actually registered just so I could send Frankie a message but this feature was conveniently not available to me. I tried to send them a complaint but the email somehow did not go through. I think they are bigger crooks than Frankie. In the words of John Ruskin: "there is nothing that an uscrupulous man cannot make a bit more shabby, and sell a bit more cheaply, and those who buy on price alone are this man's legal prey".
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 09/09/04 19:35:59 EDT

Copy of an email to frankie8acres.

Frankie boy,

Has anybody told you lately what a slimeball you are?

Your behavior with reference to the anvil pictures you stole from Anvilfire.com (in complete and total violation of the copyright laws) is being widely disseminated, with documentation, through out the blacksmith world.

Happy sales, Anus!
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 09/09/04 20:47:46 EDT


Bring a complete set of the documentation referencing frankie boys stupidity to Quad State with you. I want to post it on my table for all the tailgater's to see.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 09/09/04 20:48:56 EDT

Welding cast iron is like welding air-dried dog poop to ice cream, and just about every bit as solid when it's done, buried in ashes and all annealed and all, the newly conjoined molecules as happy as can be expected. It can be done if you hold your mouth right. But why bother?
   Goods Inward - Thursday, 09/09/04 20:51:15 EDT

It's a good thing Franklin is my middle name. At first, I thought PawPaw was hollerin' at ME. I agree that the existence of Frankie Boy is one reason there are more horse's asses than there are horses.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 09/09/04 21:00:43 EDT

Goods Inward,

To answer your question for the benefit of those who might not already know:

There ARE good reasons for welding cast iron. I have welded cast iron items that were broken and unuseable, but could not be replaced due to age. I have also welded cast iron where it was appropriate for cosmetic reasons, again where replacement was not reasonable. Sometimes, welding cast iron is perfectly reasonable, as in the case of large pieces with fairly uniform sectional densities and shrink rates. We used to do it regularly on broken valve wheels, various mounts, brackets and the like. Properly done, cast iron welds can be very satisfactory, quite unlike what you so unflatteringly describe. It does require skill and luck, both.
   vicopper - Thursday, 09/09/04 21:07:22 EDT

Lead Fumes Dangerous??

I have recently started using lead as a backing medium for repousse. Lead is melted and a small amount of smoke can be seen in the process and I am wondering what type of health hazard this might create.
   Louis - Thursday, 09/09/04 21:28:46 EDT

We often welded cast iron, ductile iron, cast semi-steel, and once in a while mehanite. All were machine parts, from orphaned machines from a different age. All ireplacable. Most held together, but as Vicopper notes, takes the right technique, experience, and sometimes a little luck.
These machines were often real money makers that had produced for 60 + years.

Ever wonder how to weld a cast steel machine frame that has cracked? One that weighs 250,000#+ and the crack goes thru a 2' thick section? and it has to hold maybe 1800 tons? happens every day in the forging industry. Most of the upsetters in our shop are 60+ years old. Still making money, but if you look close you may detect a weld repair or three.
   ptree - Thursday, 09/09/04 21:34:03 EDT

Re: cast iron welding. I stand corrected. Welding cast iron is an enormous benefit to mankind. Re: lead, true story: acquaintance in college became military affairs writer, cast lead soldiers on the dining room table as a hobby. Died of brain damage from lead fumes. Type of health hazard: grave.
   Goods Inward - Thursday, 09/09/04 22:01:32 EDT

Just got a note from frankie boy. Here's what he had to say, and my response. The mis-spellings and poor grammar and punctuation are his.

frankie boy,

> I have no idea how my ads on ebay...can hurt a bunch of hobby
> blacksmiths like you guys.
> what does it have to do with you guys.
> you guys know what good anvils are, why are you worried.
> you can report back to your cronies I will most likely totally change my
> ad, just so you all can shut your pie holes.

I'd suggest that once again, you are letting your anus do your talking. There are more professional blacksmiths on Anvilfire.com than you have the intellectual ability to count.

Frankly, frankie, you need to go off in a quiet corner and perform an act of self intercourse.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 09/09/04 22:19:01 EDT

There is more correspondence with frankie boy. I won't use up Jock's bandwidth, but if anybody is interested, I'll be glad to forward his messages and my responses to you.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 09/09/04 22:30:15 EDT

Lead: Louis, Lead is highly chemicaly active and is disolved by the oils on your skin and absorbed. Lead is cumulative in your body. It cannot be removed naturaly or medicaly. In children it causes brain damage and reduced inteligence. In adults it can cause heavy metal poisioning which usualy leads to liver and other vital organ damage. Lead workers often brought home the lead dust on their clothes and poised their wives and children. When handling lead it is always recommeded to wash before eating or handliing food.

Unless you are overheating the lead the fumes are probably oil or impurities. However, when molten lead is spilled the droplets splatter into fine dust and eventually get tracked everywhere. Keeping a clean lead foundry is a tough job.

That said, lead is still used for many things. Among the dumbest are fishing weights of all kinds. They make big trolling balls that weigh as much as 30 pounds. . . They all end up in our lakes and streams. Where weight is needed almost any other metal will do. Even where radiation shielding is needed steel is better than lead. Steel of equivilent mass shields radiation the same as lead. But the steel is self supporting and can be welded, machined and is non-toxic.

Your application is one where lead is still used. When a soft metal backing is needed lead is about it. However, repousse' artists can use heavy pitch in place of lead. Heavy repousse' pitch can be made by adding hard wax and coarse sand to a softer pitch. Pitch suppliers often sell grades at different stiffnesses. The biggest difference is the weight. The lead makes a nice heavy piece to back up the work like an anvil. However a good heavy bench with a steel plate top or a piece of heavy plate as an anvil can replace that mass.

There are alternatives. Like many alternatives to the "good stuff" like asbestoes, leaded gas, DDT, the alternatives may not be quite as good, but in the long run they are better for you and the environment.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/09/04 22:48:51 EDT

Louis, One of the jobs as a field engineer for an industrial gas company was supporting oxygen enhanced combustion in industrial settings. (Think welding torch with a 2" orifice) One of the sites was a secondary lead smelter - they had sophisticated pollution controls, all employees had to wear appropriate respirators. They also had to have the level of lead in their blood tested monthly. Damages start in the ppm range, and would require chelation therapy to reduce it to safe levels. Long term it's not good for you - it's not as bad as some other elements (beryllium comes to mind) but you want to minimize your long term exposure to it.
   - Gavainh - Thursday, 09/09/04 22:57:15 EDT


Was just admiring your workmanship on the Anvilfire Foto's site.

I was wondering how thick that piece of plate is that you made an anvil from. It's a nice looking piece of work that should be very useful.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 09/09/04 23:46:19 EDT

ebay Jim G. got a response, probably because he sells on ebay. It was pretty much the company line but polite. Said that the copyright owner had to file the complaint. Makes sense. I had. Before Jim G. (I think) and a follow up. So either it is under investigation, burried in many other complaints, or my complaint is being ignored.

I got a similar trite letter as Quenchcrack from Frankie8acres claiming he was going to change his ads. I suspect he was just going to let them run until they were finished, continuing to make a profit from them. This is not appropriate behavior in the the world of copyright infringement. When you are caught, you are humble, appologise, quit immediately and hope that is the end.

So far my letters to him have been short and terse. My final letter informed him he had his chance and that the "legal wheels are already turning." In response to his trite "how does it hurt us" I responded at length, this being my last corespondance with him.
How it (copyright infringment and his lies) hurts us:

It hurts the profession in general to have inferior tools of our trade sold with misrepresentations and deceit. It hurts the profession to have missinformation about the trade published. It hurts the uninformed new smith trying to get started. It hurts anvilfire because we DO sell anvils. Every major manufacturer and blacksmiths supplier in North America are advertisers on anvilfire. Which by the way is not a "little anvil site". anvilfire.com is a full time business. It has tens of thousands of pages and we have hundreds of thousands of visitors monthly. Tens of thousands are regulars and staunch supporters.

The images, articles and information WE create generate traffic that generates millions of dollars in sales for those advertisers. Stealing our copyrighted information to compete with the honest legitimate dealers who advertise on anvifire takes money directly out of their and my pocket. Stealing our copyrighted material that we spent many hours creating dilutes their value and thus the value of our time. Stealing from the author of the article (who happens to be a highly paid engineer) is also stealing HIS time. And for all of us time equals money.

Copyright infringment is a serious violation of the law. Copyright infringment to make a profit is even more serious and monetary awards are granted by the courts, not just simple cease and desist orders.
Should he be scared? Yes. But I think he will never get it. Those that have never created anything often have no respect for the value of the creations of others.

Bruce Blackistone had a similar problem with an article he wrote that ended up word for word in a book on weapons. The author was like frankie8acres, unapologetic and recalcitrant. But when the publisher was shown the evidence THEY understood the mess they were in. They then explained the facts of life to the author and there was a tremondous change in demenor. Bruce will get a (hopefully) prominant credit in the new edition AND several free copies of the book. He could have gotten more.

   - guru - Friday, 09/10/04 00:41:30 EDT

Paw Paw,
I have passed on my feelings to Frankie8acres just to give my support and let him know how I feel about bottom feeding scum such as himself. I think it would be nice if EVERYONE else here at anvilfire do the same .
   Harley - Friday, 09/10/04 04:06:13 EDT

Do you have instructions for making a cheese cutter?
   George - Friday, 09/10/04 06:20:54 EDT

Howdy guys. First of all, i want to say thanks to Lazarus and Jock for giving me help with mounting the bracket on a propane burner. I was able to finish it and it burns with a good flame, i think. By the way, i checked out Ron Reil's flame images on his site. Which brings me to my question: is a flare on the end required? i did not put one on my burner, and it has no roaring as a result, or at least i assume. I have a feeling i may need to put on a flare, but i thought i would ask you guys, cause you know a lot more about it than me. Also, how do you go about mounting a burner with a flare on it? I mean, i have an idea how to, but im not sure. Again, thanks for all the help youve given me!
Thanks abunch,
Ian Wille
   Ian Wille - Friday, 09/10/04 07:22:14 EDT

Were can i buy a forge blower, electic or hand crank New or used,in Europe? I live in switzerland so any were in that area would be the best. I am having a very hard time findidng anything. Thank you for you time. Erik
   Erik Dewey - Friday, 09/10/04 07:38:37 EDT

Blowers: Erik, There is a big difference in hand crank and motorized blowers. There are all types of small industrial blowers that can be used with a forge. Hand crank blowers are quite specialized. They are used for two purposes, forges and bomb shelter ventilation.

I am not familiar with many European suppliers except for those that sell tools in the US. OF those the only ones that I know that manufacture a hand crank blower is Vaughan's of England. The only other place I know of that makes hand crank blowers is in India.

An electric blower for a forge needs to have a 50 to 75mm diameter discharge and produce about 140 to 300 CFM (4 to 10 m³m - 4000 to 10,000 l/m). I'm not sure which metric unit is used for fans in Europe. Blowers also need a certain amount of "head" or pressure but most centrifugal blowers are sufficient. Specialized forge blowers have large diameter impellers to produce this pressure.

Forges have been built using everything from home furnace blowers to blow hair driers. Hair driers have sufficient volume but lack enough pressure for a large forge. However, they DO work for a small forge and often the heating elements burn out but the fan still operates. The only thing you have to be careful about using these is that the plastic housing may melt if too close to the forge. Place it several feet away from the forge on a piece of pipe about the same diameter of the discharge. Most of these devices have a switch that shuts off the fan if they overheat. If the heating element still works, disconect it.

Once you know what to look for you will find all types of blowers that will work.
   - guru - Friday, 09/10/04 09:09:07 EDT

Burner Flare: Ian, I have built burners with flares and with reduction nozzels. There is a place for both. The biggest advantage I have found to the flares is that it is easier to light and keep the burner lit. Once a forge is hot this is rarely a problem. However, if you want to use the burner hand held for large area heating the flares help a lot.

The Anti Flare: It turns out that the function of keeping the flame burning is a result of the step caused by attaching an external slip fit flare over a pipe burner. In most forges you get this effect by having the buuner pipe pushed into the hole in the insulation which is usualy the OD of the pipe. If you go to a great deal of trouble to form a flare that blends with the pipe and has no step it does not work the same. . . So you will see many of the new burner designs that use a straight pipe over the burner pipe as the "flare" or nozzle.

When I make Kaowool lined forges I gently shape the hole in the lining to a gentle flare with my fingers before applying the ITC-100. I have also buit cast refractory forges that had a flare molded into the refractory. Both of these also have the "step" because there is no shoulder for the end of the pipe.

A small industry has been built on making nice stainless flares and I have bought them and used them but they are a convienience to me more than a necessity. The most popular commercial gas forge on the market does not have a flare, it has thick wall burner tubes and a big step that is recessed in the refractory insulation.
   - guru - Friday, 09/10/04 09:23:40 EDT

Copyright: I had to deal with design copyright infringement some years ago in a large company that I worked for. I think it is one of the worst areas to try and get any real results. The lawyers will usually tell you that it's not worth pursuing BUT if you do not pursue, it's considered abandoned and then really is fair game. As in most cases, our lawyers talked to their lawyers, a settlement was reached and both sides agreed to play nice in the future. The sad fact is this guy on Ebay just doesn't care unless you can hit him in the pocketbook and that's not much if Ebay won't enforce their own rules.
Blowers: I have been encouraging crafty people interested in building a forge to make a bellows if they can't find a mechanical blower. A small two chamber bellows is a good exercise for most wood workers and they work quite well. I have some very simple plans that I drew up years ago and provide a copy when someone acts interested enough to pursue it.
   - HWooldridge - Friday, 09/10/04 09:35:38 EDT


Good show!
   Paw Paw - Friday, 09/10/04 09:35:57 EDT

Cheese Cutter: George, No. If you are talking about the wire type the frame is simply springy in order to keep tension on the wire. The trick is terminating and fixing the wire. Cheap ones just crimp the frame onto the wire. A good one would have a clamp like a jeweler's saw or a set screw. The wire is most commonly available as musical instrument wire. You can get both stainless and nickle plated B strings for a guitar. Either will work. The larger the cutter the heavier the wire.

I slice cheese with my trusty little Buck folder. . .
   - guru - Friday, 09/10/04 09:42:51 EDT


I think he was talking about a cheese grater. One of those sheets of metal that you rub a piece of cheese up and down on to scrape off tiny pieces of cheese.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 09/10/04 09:55:31 EDT

Paw Paw,
thank you for your gracious choice of words to describe my work, coming from you that is a great complement.

That piece of plate which I've been using for my anvil has a 3" face and is 18" long by 12" high. It also has a tenon centered in the end which is ~4" long which I have ground to a radius as a substitute for a horn. Since that picture was taken I have finished grinding a 45 degree notch at the opposite end from the "horn" and now have a pritchel hole drilled through to it. I have also drilled and chiseled a 1" wide by 2.5" deep hardy hole in the face about 6" in from the back where the pritchel hole is. It weighs approximately 175#. I believe it is just CF structural steel, something like A36, but it has a decent rebound and my inexperienced flailng with a 2.5# cross peen hasn't left too many dings in the face of it.

I found that piece of plate just lying on the ground half buried in dirt at the site of a building which had been torn down, while I was out walking my dog. Had been considering using a piece of RR track up till then as I had been having no luck obtaining an anvil locally. I give this site and the Guru's the credit for giving me the inspiration as well as the foresight too see that rusty piece of junk on the ground was actually an anvil ;-)

   lazarus - Friday, 09/10/04 10:27:58 EDT

I am looking for someone in the Cleveland Ohio area who can babbit four (4) rod bearings from my 1922 Oldsmobile.CAN YOU HELP?
   Chuck - Friday, 09/10/04 10:57:31 EDT


On the weekend of the 24th, the Quad States gathering of blacksmiths will be held at the Miami County fairgrounds in Troy, OH. There will certainly be guys there who can help you out. For more details on the meet, check out www.sofasounds.com
   vicopper - Friday, 09/10/04 11:17:21 EDT

Chuck, I would check with the local antique auto crowd, they are sure to have a local source of this esoteric skill.

   Thomas P - Friday, 09/10/04 11:41:20 EDT

Please help avert a metal crisis.
I read a neat trick on iforgeiron for drawing an arch over
a square or rectangle. how can I find it?
   Lsundstrom - Friday, 09/10/04 12:29:44 EDT

I just got a call from Dennis Coal Co., and they said they're planning on coming to Quad State with some of that yummy, tasty W VA Sewell Seam coal.
   - 3dogs - Friday, 09/10/04 13:05:38 EDT

Never mind. I found it. very cool.
sorry to bother you.
   Lsundstrom - Friday, 09/10/04 13:17:00 EDT

Adam (Lazarus),

I rarely give compliments that are not deserved. You earned that compliment.

And your use of that piece of plate, MAY have been inspired by what you read here, but you had to have the vision to see it that way. Very well done, indeed.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 09/10/04 13:31:25 EDT

Blowers and Bellows: I love a bellows and it beats the heck out of wrist and elbow grinding hand crank blowers. But if you want productivity you can't beat a small electric blower. I built the big bellows on my trailer to do demonstrations and ended up using it full time to produce product. It was not a smart thing to do. I wasted a LOT of time with it and would have been much more productive with another forge and electric blower.

If you get to the point that you have a power hammer then all of a sudden your forge needs change even more. One person can feed hundreds of pounds of steel through a small power hammer in a day depending on what they are doing. Gas or oil forges with an endless supply of fuel and no need to be constantly tending and rebuilding the fire become a necessity.

But a bellows is good low tech and a joy to use for small projects. And like everything else there is an art to using them. And this is a place where bigger is better
   - guru - Friday, 09/10/04 13:53:32 EDT

IMO the real problem is ebay. If you nail Frankie another maggot will just take his place. There is an inexhaustible supply. (Idiots are a renewable resource). It seems to me that ebay has a legal responsibility not to participate in fraud and copyright infringement. Furthermore, if threatened with a suit, their legal team is likely smart enough to appreciate the merits of the case and try to settle rather than going to court.

Meanwhile Frankie should use his ill gotten gains to enroll in night school and finish up 6th grade

"My feedback speaks for it's self" sic.

My speling speeks for its elf - LOL

   adam - Friday, 09/10/04 13:54:00 EDT

All who are registered at eBay COULD find one of these anvils for sale and "ask the seller a question"!
   - Tom H - Friday, 09/10/04 14:10:56 EDT

I think frankie8arseholes changed his ads on ebay to bakos58
and is selling them as ones he found in his garage says they are hardened and tempered.
   Chris Makin - Friday, 09/10/04 14:23:35 EDT

Things have been hectic here and at home, so I'm in the skimming/catchup mode. Actual answers and comments tonight or this weekend.

However, in a piece of good news, my wif called and said the latest report on the Genesis project has two of the three canisters intact and uncontaminated!


(Hey, I know that gentleman in the hair net!)

Sunny and summery 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) - Friday, 09/10/04 15:28:03 EDT

ebay I would swear that frankie8acres is also bakos58, but it is hard to prove. My letter to ebay notes the "coincidence" that the same quantity of the exact same product being sold from the same location showed up moments after frankie8acres rmoved his infringing ads.

Having many multiple ebay ids is a flim flam mans trick. Things get too hot, move on. It also lets him bid on his auctions. I noted on the first bakos48 ad that ballpeen# was the first bidder on the first frankie8acres auction and is also (within seconds of posting) the first bidder on bakos48. Not only is this against the law in every state in the US it is against the ebay policy. Buying from yourself also lets you post good feed back.

Although bakos48 may go to a seperate e-mail address his DNS on his mail would be very similar. However frankie8acres is on AOL who automaticaly assigns thousands of random DNS adresses. . . Want to hide? This is right from the book.

Like ebay, AOL is so swamped with various complaints that they are impossible to get response to complaints.
   - guru - Friday, 09/10/04 16:03:01 EDT

Uri Hofi School Israel Trip: Check our schedule page or go directly to BigBLUhammer.com. The first 10 to sign up and pay the deposit go. A real adventure!
   - guru - Friday, 09/10/04 16:24:20 EDT

Can you clarify the weight numbering system used on anvils?
   Alan - Friday, 09/10/04 16:40:57 EDT

Weight Numbering System, Adam.
THis has been answered before and might even be in the FAQ's. But its simple enough to explain. I'm assuming your asking about the old english system. I think most american anvils were marked directly with pounds and continental european anvils were marked in KG.
Now the english system used 3 numbers on anvils, hundredweights, quarterweights and pounds. Now a hundredweight is 8 stone or 112 pounds, quarterweights are 2 stone or 28 pounds, and a pound is well..... a pound,(or 1/14th of a stone) So if your anvil is marked 2 3 10 it would weigh 318 pounds. And then there is the long ton which is 20 hundredweights, Simple!
   JimG - Friday, 09/10/04 17:04:49 EDT

thanks Jim
   Alan - Friday, 09/10/04 17:49:39 EDT

I bought a 50# Novelty Iron Works trip hammer, in fair condition. I can't find any info about it. I would like to know what it's worth(if I got took) and where to get info
   - flash - Friday, 09/10/04 18:37:33 EDT

Re: frankie8aches

I know that several of us here wrote complaining letters to eBay's fraud department. I haven't gotten a reply myself, but i am only a buyer on eBay, not a seller. I was pleased to note that all the offending ads with stolen material werrepulled, in spite of frankie's bluff and bravado. Obviously, the power of the pen has worked some magic here. Now, if eBay would unregister and ban the guy, I would feel even better. Given that he has sold a couple thousand things on eBay, paying them a commission on each sale, I doubt they'll give him the bum's rush that he richly deserves. The almighty dollar will win out in the end, I'm afraid.
   vicopper - Friday, 09/10/04 18:48:14 EDT

Blacksmith tools in Europe-
Erik- a couple of companies you could try would be Glaser and Hebo, in Germany. Probably neither one sell hand crank blowers- but both do sell small gas forges. The blacksmith industry in Europe is much higher tech than here, and both companies sell CNC blacksmithing tools, but they do get into smaller items like forges as well. Heboe.com, and glaser.de
You also could try to contact Angele maschinenbau, also in Germany- www.angele.de- actually, they might be even better, as they seem to be a full line supplier of blacksmith tools, and I know they have distributors in France, they might even have someone in Switzerland. And then you could try vaughns- www.anvils.co.uk
   - Ries - Friday, 09/10/04 19:12:58 EDT

Well, I just downloaded the Angele catalog- 10 minutes or so on my dialup, and they are, as my kids would say, "the schiznitz". That means good, by the way. In fact, aside from the fact that they dont sell Grant Sarver tools, I would say they are probably as good if not better than any blacksmith supply company here in the US. They do indeed sell both hand crank and electric forge blowers, along with bellows, coal and gas forges, high quality coal, hammers, tongs, kuhn air hammers, and gold plated anvils- I kid you not- Gold Plated Anvils!
So if anyone in Europe is looking for blacksmithing equipment, this is the place. I would recommend the guru add this site to his appropriate resource list.
   - Ries - Friday, 09/10/04 19:44:06 EDT


Might be easier to find if we had the URL. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Friday, 09/10/04 19:47:21 EDT

I went to eBay and checked up on our boy Frankie. Looks like he finally got the message and got rid of the stolen images and bogus storyline on the anvils. It would have been nice to get an apology but I guess we can settle for the satisfaction of forcing him to change his auctions. As far as I am concerned, if he will continue to represent the anvils fairly, he can make as much money as the traffic will bear. Maybe I should put my Ruskie up for auction on eBay. I got some great photos of how I cleaned it up and tested it............
   quenchcrack - Friday, 09/10/04 20:09:11 EDT

Paw Paw- its there- in the first post- www.angele.de
   - Ries - Friday, 09/10/04 21:48:16 EDT


Ach! So tis. thank you.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 09/10/04 21:50:39 EDT

Paw Paw

Thank you sir, I appreciate and value your opinion.

I know just enough to know I've got a lot left to learn.

   lazarus - Saturday, 09/11/04 00:04:34 EDT

ive been thinking about smithing for a long time, but ive done very little actual smithing as such.
my question is in regards to a forge- specifically, would an old water heater be a good base structure for a forge?
its basically a cylinder about 2feet in diametre, and about 5'5" in height, coming to a rounded top with a chimney of sorts about 4 inches in dia.
the metal it is made of is about 1.5mm thick.
would this be a suitable base structure for a propane gas forge? would it be better to section it off to make more efficient? would i need to use kaowool or could i just slap some itc-100 on the insides and hope it works?
if the question isnt clear enough, please email me back with any queries on my question-
   ping- noob - Saturday, 09/11/04 00:33:26 EDT

ping: IMO the water tank is way way too big. A typical burn chamber is about 5" dia x 10" approx= 200 cu in. This is a useful size that can do a lot of work - you can get it to welding heat with one burner and it will eat a 20lb tank of propane in about 8 hours.You need a shell thats about 12" dia.

   adam - Saturday, 09/11/04 00:53:40 EDT

ping: Also you must have a couple , three inches of kaowool to between the burn chamber and the shell - you cant maintain a 2400F burn chamber with steel walls no matter how thick. Check out Ron Reils page and look at the gas forge designs there.
   adam - Saturday, 09/11/04 00:57:55 EDT


We all do, man. We all do. No one has EVER known everything.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 09/11/04 01:03:42 EDT

I am totally unfamiliar with the workings of ebay and will probably stay that way. My Master Card and I can get into enough trouble at the tool stores in my own neck of the woods, thank you very much. However, I was wondering if there was a minimum bid required. I remembered reading of the dustbowl days, and how, when some poor farmer was faced with foreclosure, all his friends and neighbors would go to the bank auction and start the bid at a penny and progress veeerrrry slowly in penny increments. Maybe we could hold such a fundraiser for Frankie, or his current nom du jour, right there on ebay. (Probably not, but it's fun to fantasize.)
   - 3dogs - Saturday, 09/11/04 02:10:57 EDT


The seller sets the opening bid, as well as electing whether or not there is a "reserve" amount that must be met in order to effect a transaction. Many sellers proudly announce that they are selling with "no reserve", but then you notice that the starting bid is so high as to effectively constitute a reserve amount. More hype from the folks who learned at the feet of Madison Avenue hucksters.

On the whole, eBay is populated by honest sellers and buyers. But on eBay, just as in real life, there is a small percentage of users who are either blatantly dishonest or who "push the envelope" more than is reasonable. The crass actions of a few taint the experience for many. Unfortunately, the operation has become so large that policing it is practically impossible.

The system of buyer feedback that eBay uses is fairly effective a means of policing a group that large. It would take a staff of thousands of investigators to truly police eBay, and in the end those investigators would probably not be any more effective than the simple peer pressure and public exposure of eBay's feedback system. Just imagine how it would be if you walked into Home Depot and every item for sale there had a feedback from those who had bought/used it. Feedback that Home Depot had NO control over and was powerless to change or remove. It might alter the sales figures of some of the schlock being sold, though probably not. P.T. Barnum WAS right about the alarming birthrate of suckers.
   vicopper - Saturday, 09/11/04 07:34:31 EDT

Frankie et al: This guy is not the first nor will he be the last of eBay hucksters. As Vicopper said, and he certainly should know, these people we will have with us always. He has abandoned the use of Anvilfire material and we cannot appoint ourselves as the official blacksmith equipment police. Lets blow him off and move on.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 09/11/04 08:46:54 EDT

A place in Tacoma, Washington is selling Utah bituminous coal at a good price (11 cents/ lb.). Do you know anything about the quality of Utah bituminous coal and its use for blacksmithing? Thanks, Dave
I did blacksmithing in the seventies and am just getting going again.
   dave gause - Saturday, 09/11/04 09:30:46 EDT

Dave Gause, The real test is to spend a few bucks and try it. I'm currently using Utah coal, and it works OK, although it appears to be "heavy". By that, I mean a 3" cube of Utah coal would weigh more than a like cube of Pocahontas coal. It tends to settle over the tuyere. If the blast gets obstructed, I use a straight poker to lift, shake, and break up the coke bed. Your experience may be different than mine, as there are probably several bituminous mines in Utah.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 09/11/04 10:10:23 EDT

Howdy again. This is Ian. First off, thanks for the help with the flare. I made one and put it on my burner, and it really helped out a lot when i used it. I had something interesting happen yesterday when i was using my new propane burner. I had ice form on the outside of the tank. I found that a little strange, and i have no idea what caused it. So what makes a tank freeze up? i was using a bbq grill tank, if it makes any difference. I may have had the gas opened up too much, i dont know. Thanks for any help with my question.
Ian Wille
   Ian Wille - Saturday, 09/11/04 10:19:58 EDT


for a single 20# BBQ tank this is almost unavoidable, you are on the right track with the idea that there is a relationship between amount of gas used per unit of time ( valve open too wide ). The way I understand it is that the conversion of propane from a liquid form to a gaseous form ( when you open the valve and allow the pressure inside the cylinder to drop ) requires a certain amount of heat/unit of time or btu/hr and it takes this heat from the surface area of the BBQ tank cylinder. The remedy is to either get a larger tank to allow for more surface area from which the heat can be extracted or to reduce the amount of liquid to gas conversion by not releasing as much pressure ( don't open the valve as wide ). I ganged 2 BBQ tanks together until I was able to purchase a 40# tank.

Hope this helps
   lazarus - Saturday, 09/11/04 10:45:55 EDT

Ian, some of the smiths I know set the tank in a tub full of water to keep the tank from freezing up when they are forging. They say it works good. I also ganged up 2 tanks but got tired of changing and when I forged for a long period I would have 2 tanks frozen up so I purchased a 100 lb tank, now longer have a freeze up problem, just a problem transporting the tank to get it filled. I weighs 180 lb filled.
   - ptpiddler - Saturday, 09/11/04 12:42:26 EDT

Ian Wille,
This is an effect of the gas law. That is the pressure times the volume devided by the temp before any change equals the pressure times the volume devided by temp after. So, change the pressure, and the temp drops, as the volume inside the tank is basicly unchanged.
There is another way to explain this also. Anytime a liquid evaporates, heat is absorbed, this explains how sweating cools the body. When drawing a lot of gas from a propane bottle, a lot of liquid is being evaporated. The cooling effect can get severe enough to reduce the liquid temp. enough to reduce the rate of evaporation, reducing the flow of gas available.
An apropiate size of bottle will practicly elimanate this issue. Several bottles in parralel, or one big bottle will do the trick. I use a 100# bottle, and sometimes see a bit of frost, but no effect on the flow. I am running 9# thru a 0.060 orifice in a large blown forge.
   ptree - Saturday, 09/11/04 13:14:01 EDT

I bought some coal from an ice and fuel place in Tacoma about 4 years ago. Very nice people but the coal was of poor quality and just didn't work for forging. What I bought, in despiration, was dirty, high in sulfur and smoked a lot. The lack of good quality coal in the greater Tacoma area convinced me to switch to propane - even though I had coal forges. You may want to try the ABANA pages for a list of coal suppliers in the area. I seem to recall there is one in Black Diamond, another in Everett and another somewhere near Portland.
Regards, H. Bowles
   Howard - Saturday, 09/11/04 13:27:22 EDT

Auctions: In the world of auctions someone called a "shill" hired by the auctioner would carefully bid on an item to help push up the price. If the other bidder had auction fever the price could go out of site. The art of the shill was to know when to stop. Shills are illegal in all states.

To prevent giving things away on ebay you set a "reserve". Bidding MAY start below the reserve but if the reserve is not met the item does not sell. However, the seller does have the option of selling to the high bidder even if the reserve is not met.

It may be a coincidence that both frankie8acres and bakos58 set no reserve on anything they sell. However, ballpien## (not sure of ID) has come in on both sellers items and bid what would be a good reserve on these anvils ($99) but never bids a dollar more.

Is ballpien a shill or another frankie8acres ID?
   - guru - Saturday, 09/11/04 13:56:33 EDT

3 dogs, you might be missing some good deals by not checking out ebay. I just picked up a good valve for an air hammer and a cylinder. Not long ago I picked up a
flypress approx- 2 ton capacity Ebay is not all bad
   - ptpiddler - Saturday, 09/11/04 15:34:27 EDT

One of those ebay maggots who auctioned a bunch of stuff but never sent the goods listed a customer service number which happened to be my cell phone! I had a really hard time convincing PO'ed customers that I had nothing to do with it - they were convinced I was just being evasive.

If are knowledgeable about the item and careful and are prepared to play the odds you can get a lot of good deals on ebay. I have bought and sold a bunch of stuff there, and while I occasionally get ripped off, it averages out to a good deal.
   adam - Saturday, 09/11/04 16:10:05 EDT

So far all my deals have been good, maybe I have just been lucky. Bought an engravers block (vise) out of Florida, seller said if I could get the money there overnight they would pay shipping-block weighed 40 # ($350) said they were going out of the country--had me worried, thought they would renig--got bock in mail following week. that is the only one that worried me-one of my most expensive purchases
   - ptpiddler - Saturday, 09/11/04 16:46:04 EDT

Hello folks:
I have been watching the message board for a while, but not posted until now. It's a great forum.

I recently picked up a #6 rosebud tip for my oxy/acet. unit, thinking it would help with bending. I am presently bending 3/4" round stock for door knocker rings. I learned pretty quickly that this tool does not seem to be practical for that purpose, as the fuel consumption would be enormous to work with stock that large. I'm sure, however, the tip will come in handy for other things, including hardening blades, bending smaller stock, etc. I'd be interested in hearing some of the uses you folks have found for a rosebud, and also an opinion of the largest stock that can be worked effectively with the #6 rosebud.

Rob Miller
LionGate Arms & Armour
   Rob Miller - Saturday, 09/11/04 16:52:51 EDT

I've had pretty good luck on eBay, that is, when I've taken the time to ask the right questions. I don't bid if the photos are too poor to see details, and I don't bid if the seller has inadequate feedback. I found a lobstertail helmet that belongs to me posted for sale on eBay once, with MY photos and MY descriptions, stolen from my website. the FBI refused to take action, although eBay did pull the item.

Rob Miller
LionGate Arms & Armour
   Rob Miller - Saturday, 09/11/04 16:57:10 EDT

Just got a Smithin' Magician a few weeks ago. What a great little tool. I'm thinking about making a set of dies to punch holes or do slitting. Has anybody tried this?

Rob Miller
LionGate Arms & Armour
   Rob Miller - Saturday, 09/11/04 17:07:41 EDT

Rob Miller, I needed a rosebud more than once. On one occasion, I made a gothic candle stand about 5' tall with tripod, scrolled legs/feet. After tenoning the vertical to the legs, I fine tuned the legs, checking for twists and making sure the tenoned bar WAS vertical. It would've been difficult to heat them any other way in my shop. Another time I had to bend a foot bridge brace to a certain angle. The material was 3/4" x 6" flat. The rosebud was a big help.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 09/11/04 18:43:48 EDT

Rose Buds: Rob, The number tells us little as each manufacturer uses their own system of sizes. I think the smallest that Victor makes and is standard with their sets like the "Journeyman" set is good for the size work you are doing. For triangles from 1/2" (13mm) and 5/8" (16mm) stock I always use my cutting torch. The four preheat flames are equivalent to a smaller "rosebud"

Oxy-acetylene is expensive to use for general heating. To use a rosebud for bending I make a corner of a couple fire bricks. Then I heat the bricks to a red along the corner and then lay the piece to be heated on the bricks and begin heating it. I play the flame along the bricks keeping them hot and reflecting the heat and flame back on the work to help keep the piece evenly heated.

All but the smallest oxy-acetylene rosebud will draw more acetylene than a standard cylinder can produce. For the larger rosebuds you have to get the larger bulk acetylene cylinders or manifold several together.

Oxy-propane is less expensive to use and the cylinder draw down problem is not quite as bad as aceytlene. At least it is easier to get large propane cylinders. Oxy-propane is not as good for welding as oxy-acetylene but it is fine for general heating.

For the size stock you are heating the most economical thing to do is use a propane gas forge. The heating is more even and the lack of using pure oxygen makes the operation much more economical. Even a large air-propane torch (forge burner) used with a stack of firebricks is more economical than any oxy-fuel torch. You also get less scaling and burning. Oxy-acetylene heat is far above the melting point of steel while propane burns just below the melting point of steel.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/11/04 18:45:26 EDT

My thoughts, of course, were that the bending would be easier with local heating because I could clamp the end of the bar securely prior to getting it hot. The last one I did was in the forge, and I managed it, but I was looking for an easier method. The rosebud is a Victor 6-MFA-1 for the 100C series handle. I've only got the small tanks, though, so I'm sure I'm very limited as to what I can do with it. I'm sure I'll find a use for it at some point, so I don't mind having bought it in any case.

Rob Miller
LionGate Arms & Armour
   Rob Miller - Saturday, 09/11/04 19:21:08 EDT

ebay in general: I have bought many things on e-bay and bid on many more. It is an AUCTION and you shouldn't expect to get everything you bid on.

ebay is a great service and a great place to market anything. HOWEVER, its anonymity has attracted a huge number of con-men and crooks and ebay does a poor job of policing itself. ebay even makes it hard to report ilegal activity. To make matters worse there is a large industry of folks teaching methods to make money on ebay using less than honest methods and some downright illegal. frankie8acres is one of these.

The scam of selling cheap with a high non-refundable shipping cost it one method. Having multiple ebay and paypal ID's is another. These are used to bid on ones own auctions and to quickly change to is things get too hot. The first method is unethical but not illegal. Bidding on your own auction is illegal and against ebay's rules.

The anonymity of the Internet and ease of setting up alternate identities with multiple e-mail addresses and the privacy rules that apply to them has made tracking down the crooks on ebay a huge if not nearly impossible task.

My general advise is to never buy anything from a "power seller" that does not give a real business name and address. Power sellers that make a point to remain entirely anonymous are hiding for many reasons. There ARE many legitimate shops and busineses on ebay that are safe to deal with.

The best people to deal with on ebay are "real" people. Someone that is disposing of extra "stuff" from a lifetime of collecting or just plain living. These folks are not trying to get rich on ebay. These are the same folks that have yard sales once or twice in a lifetime or are avoiding a big estate auction. For a few it is just a hobby and others a one time thing. If this is the type of person you find that has something you want it is probably going to be an OK deal as long as you and someone else do not get auction fever. Set a price and stick to it!

But the dealers selling multiple import items anonymously should be avoided at all costs. You will have better luck at the local flea market or buying from the legitimate folks like Harbor Freight and others.

Sadly the dealers of junk anvils on ebay using misleading descriptions is rampant. Although most of us know better there are many unsuspecting new smiths being taken by these guys. THAT fact makes it an important issue to blacksmiths everywhere.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/11/04 19:23:32 EDT

I'm running a gas forge I built using 10" well casing lined with 2" Kaowool and coated with ITC-100. The blower is rated at something like 300cfm, and is a Dayton I got from Grainger, using a speed controller from Centaur. The burner is a 2" pipe with 1 1/4" and 1/2" pipe welded concentrically inside it per the plans I found here: http://home.flash.net/~dwwilson/forge/fgpl.html.

The problem is that the forge does not seem to be getting hot enough to forge-weld. The static pressure should be high enough, I think, but the blower doesn't have quite the same umph as the leaf blower I was using before the motor burned out. Can I safely remove the concentric pipes from the inside of the burner and just run an open 2" pipe for better airflow? How important is this flame holder? Is there a better burner design I should be using?

Rob Miller
LionGate Arms & Armour
   Rob Miller - Saturday, 09/11/04 19:43:30 EDT


Many smiths are using atmospheric burners to good effect as opposed to blown air gas burners. They use a venturi (sp?) effect to suck in the air that they need to achieve welding heat. If you are willing to redisgn your burner you might just want to give this a try. Then you will no longer need to worry about blower pressure.
Check out Ron Reils site for the basics on how to construct , you may also want to take a look at the burners I constructed which you can view at the Anvilfire Foto's site. There are other blown burner designs as well I just cannot at the moment remember where I saw them.
Ron's burner site can be found by clicking on the navigation bar at the top right of this screen and going to links

hope this helps
   lazarus - Saturday, 09/11/04 20:06:49 EDT


One blown air design I can remember off the top of my head was a 1 1/2" pipe from the blower to an elbow with the gas inlet in thru a 1/8" pipe drilled thru the elbow in line with the 1 1/2" pipe going to the forge. Then a 1 1/2" to 2" fitting, a 2" short nipple, back down to 1 1/2" fitting, then a short 1 1/2" nipple with a 1 1/2" to 3/4" fitting as the burner end. I remember something about the size increase just before the burner end was supposed to introduce turbulence and mix the fuel/air . I have no personal experiance with this design but it may stir the memory of someone else with more info. I think there may have been a flare cast into the refractory lining of the forge as well.

again HTH
   lazarus - Saturday, 09/11/04 20:23:00 EDT

I've acquired a number of things on eBay, among them a 7" Peter Wright leg vise with an super-fine box and screw. It was crated carefully and sent across country. My one burn was a cassette tape of Stevie Ray Vaughan. The tape had poor quality sound and was kind of shreddy. I shed a little tear.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 09/11/04 21:10:12 EDT

Rob-- Rosebuds are great for patinating. The makers of welding equipment all put out detailed catalogs and also have service departments at 800 numbers to help with questions re: rosebud fuel consumption, etc.
   Goods Inward - Saturday, 09/11/04 21:59:43 EDT

Coal-- how about around Eugene, Corvallis? Available there?
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 09/11/04 22:06:35 EDT

Forge Heat: Rob, Sounds like you have too much burner for the forge. When the burner is way over rated a great deal of the combustion goes on outside the forge. When you try to turn down a highly overrated burner you get flashback in the burner.

The second thing that forges need is some containment to cause some back pressure. The very small amount of back pressure held in the forge increases the fuel/air density and thus the temperature of combustion.

The two blown forges I have built will glaze refractories and melt steel. Neither was a great design but they both worked. They used a little 140 CFM blower designed to go on small circulating air heaters and had about a 1/30 HP motor. The problem with both is that they would consumer 30 pounds of fuel in a day. Two full 30 pound cylinders would freeze up in about 4 hours. When half full they would freeze up faster. High fuel consumption but burned HOT! I tried firing a few ceramic tiles in the second forge and found out that you could melt and BOIL common white slip ceramic clay. Made an interesting glassy white foam.

The theory of my second forge was that with a stacked brick design I could vary the combustion chamber for large and small work and just adjust the burner by adjusting the blower speed and fuel valve. While this is partialy true there is only ONE forge capacity that works optimaly with a given burner. Large changes of volume of say 2:1 are beyond the adjustment range.

This burner to volume ratio is how NC-Tool pioneered the modular burner forge design. One burner on a little forge, two on one slightly bigger, three on the next up to the big twelve burner model they built. They have one casting and parts set for one burner to fit a wide range of forges.

On the other hand. I have seen blower type burners no bigger then the ones I use on a forge with about a 12 cubit foot capacity. The difference being that you CAN rev up a blower burner over a minimum capacity to many times that. But below the minium they fire back and are inefficient.

It is common in large furnaces to have a "burner block" with a flare where the fuel/air enters and ignites. The reason this is a seperate block on large furnaces is that they commonly burn out.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/11/04 23:45:44 EDT

A professional knifemaker I know uses blown burners on his forges. The general design is a 2" air pipe fed by a small blower, with a 1/8" needle valve metering propane into the pipe about six inches from the forge body at a pressure of under one PSI. The blowers are often throttled back with tape over the intakes. These forges are big, usually about 10-12" inside diameter and 14-20" long (or tall). The stock doors are about 4" x 4" on the big ones, and maybe 2" x 3" on the little ones. He uses them for forging, welding, and crucible melting, running off either a 100 lb or a gigantic tank whose size escapes me. There is no flame holder as such in these forges, just a pipe with the air/gas mix coming in. I have also seen hardware cloth screening used as a flame holder in this sort of forge.
   Alan-L - Sunday, 09/12/04 08:49:42 EDT

Miles (Away) Inward, Re coal in western Oregon, check with Larry Bewley, farrier instructor at Linn-Benton Community College. They are about 10 miles east of Corvallis and may still use coal [?].
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 09/12/04 09:39:53 EDT

I have an ABANA, pipe forge. These were the plans sold some years ago. About 90 CFM blower, feeding into an 1 1/2"ELL. the ell has been drilled to fit a 1/4" nipple for the gas feed. The nipple is capped with a 1/16" drilled orifice pipe cap. Down stream is a flam holder mad from several smaller nipples and a piece of 1/2" bar, all held concentric with small struts. Works. Never flashes back. Burns somewhere around 4 to 6 # of propane/hour. The forge body is a 10" od pipe, with kaowool lining, and stacked firebricks to make doors at each end.
   ptree - Sunday, 09/12/04 10:14:21 EDT

well ive had 0 luck with finding an anvil so how would this one be for just to learn on?http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=42028
   - John S - Sunday, 09/12/04 11:38:18 EDT

John S: This is getting pretty close to the bottom of the barrel. At the very bottom is the cast iron anvil also sold by HF. I can see a beginner using this to forge nothing larger than 3/8" round with a 1-1/2 lb. hammer. Maybe. By the time you add freight, you will have about $100-$135 in anvil and when you finally find a good one, you will really wish you had that money back. Try to be patient and go for something 100 lbs or more. Contact a local ABANA club and I can almost guarantee someone will have an anvil for sale.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 09/12/04 12:55:42 EDT

John S.; I'd say it's about the best a learner can do if you want to get up and running in a hurry. Otherwise, any chunk of steel with a good flat spot and a few interesting contours here and there, weighing say, 100 lb or so will suffice. Patience and scrounging will take you a long way in this craft. Don't think you have to have the latest and best equipment to function. To the contrary; the more primitive the equipment, the more resourceful you'll have to be to get results, and if you're paying attention you'll learn more about what happens when the hammer meets the iron. Too many people think that all they have to do is throw money at the object of their interest, and it'll come to them almost immediately. We, as a group, are the most notorious scroungers and packrats you'll ever see. every piece of steel we see is considered to be a potential tool or raw material. (That can be a curse sometimes when your "Raw Materials" start to breed and multiply and eat up space.) No time spent in research is wasted. Go up to this site's navigation bar at the upper right of your screen. Look at EVERYTHING this site has to offer, whether or not you think that it feeds your needs of the moment. Visit the links of this and all the other smithing sites. Look up info on smithing in 3rd world countries, and find out just how much equipment you really DON'T need. Learning begets more learning. End of sermon. Amen
   - 3dogs - Sunday, 09/12/04 13:00:23 EDT

Has anybody ever tried mixing ITC-100 with Mizzou to get a higher insulation rating with enhanced durability? At the face, it would seem that this, coated with another layer of ITC-100 after molding, would help the Mizzou to insulate, and provide a better resistance to melted flux.
   Rob Miller - Sunday, 09/12/04 13:01:26 EDT

This is the forge design I used, with some modification. I did away with the 1/16" drilled brass pipe cap and inserted a needle valve between the hose and the gas feed nipple. You should do this also, as it permits you to turn off the gas without running to the bottle. It also permits more control over the gas in general. I think I'll try removing the 1/2" center core of the burner and see if it becomes more efficient. I don't think I'm getting the full advantage of the forced air. It gets pretty hot inside, but not white hot.

Rob Miller
LionGate Arms & Armour
   Rob Miller - Sunday, 09/12/04 13:06:53 EDT

Harbor Freight Anvil 42028: John, First, any time folks come here and say they have had no luck finding an anvil all I can say is that they have not looked OR asked here where to look. Or what you really mean is that you have not found a FREE anvil without looking

Places you WILL NOT find an anvil new or used:

1) Your local hardware store, Walmart or other chain stores ect.
2) Antique shops with high class furniture.
3) Local small flea market
4) 99.9% of yard sales

Places you MAY find a new or used anvil:

1) Country Antique/Junk shop that has LOTS of iron implements and few classy antiques.
2) Large regional flea market or trade lots
3) Farm supply which carries farrier supplies. Note that some of these carry CAST IRON ASO's
4) Farm, machinery or estate auctions (low probability, possibly high price if you are not an experianced bidder).
5) Result of running an add in a local paper (blacksmith tools wanted). This has had HUGE results for some people.
6) Result of telling EVERYONE you know including EVERY distant relative that you NEED an anvil. This has resulted in many FREE anvils.
7) .01% of yard sales and ocassionaly in the local paper.

Before buying an anvil I recommend you read our FAQ on Selecting an anvil and our Anvil Series.

Places you WILL find new and used anvils:

1) Almost all our advertisers sell anvils. None sell junk.
2) Almost every meeting of your closest blacksmith group.
3) Every major regional blacksmith meet.
4) 100's at SOFA/QuadState in Troy OH (see our NEWS coverage). Quad State is later this month (September).
5) On-Line cheap/discount tool dealers like Harbor Freight.
6) ebay, which is a snake pit that the new buyer or anyone that does not know a lot about the product they are buying is best to stay out of.

Now, back to that HF anvil #42028. First, I am not sure what they are trying to hide by darkening the image so much that you cannot see that it is painted an nice blue color and has INDIA 55 lbs. cast into the side. I had to copy the image and process it to see the product. Maybe they wanted to hide their source from the competition.

Second, like many of the cheap anvils that HF has sold they don't know much about the product and don't say much about the product and probably didn't ask. "Heat Treated Carbon Steel" means VERY VERY little. Steel, that is good (IF it is steel). But you can heat treat ANY kind of steel. Low carbon steel does not harden enough for most tool making purposes and certainly not an anvil. High carbon steel is usualy too difficult to heat treat. Good cast anvils are made of steel in the high end of the medium carbon range (55 to 70 point carbon) and the best are deep hardening alloy steels.

SO, we can tell very little about the quality of this anvil from what Harbor Freight's ad and I doubt that they can tell you more. Once the image was lightened you can see that it is a good clean casting (at least the one photographed was). Its shape is not the best, the pattern apparently made with little knowledge of good anvil design. It is missing a very standard feature, the round pritichel hole. However, the shape and missing pritichel hole are things that you would not miss if you have never used a good anvil.

Judging from the quality of the products currently coming out of India I would say that this anvil is PROBABLY similar in quality to the Russian Anvil in our review or a little better (MAYBE).

55 pounds (25kg) is a little small for a blacksmith's anvil. They are good for very light forging and are imminently portable but for serious work the small size will force YOU to work harder and tire you quicker. The general rule is to start with a 100-125 pound anvil. These are still portable, generaly affordable, usable for all but heavy professional work and hold their resale value if of good quality.

If the $90 price is your limit then it may be the best you can get. Used anvil prices are much higher than they were were just a few years ago but ocassionaly there are bargians. ESPECIALY if you do your own finding such as running an ad, searching the countryside and following the leads.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/12/04 13:14:28 EDT

John S,

This is an example of scrounging, can be viewed at AnvilFire Fotos site in folder named lazarus's by following the link, User Gallery (yahoo!), from the navigation bar at top right of this page.

Quoted from previous post:
That piece of plate which I've been using for my anvil has a 3" face and is 18" long by 12" high. It also has a tenon centered in the end which is ~4" long which I have ground to a radius as a substitute for a horn. Since that picture was taken I have finished grinding a 45 degree notch at the opposite end from the "horn" and now have a pritchel hole drilled through to it. I have also drilled and chiseled a 1" wide by 2.5" deep hardy hole in the face about 6" in from the back where the pritchel hole is. It weighs approximately 175#. I believe it is just CF structural steel, something like A36, but it has a decent rebound and my inexperienced flailng with a 2.5# cross peen hasn't left too many dings in the face of it.

I found that piece of plate just lying on the ground half buried in dirt at the site of a building which had been torn down, while I was out walking my dog. Had been considering using a piece of RR track up till then as I had been having no luck obtaining an anvil locally. I give this site and the Guru's the credit for giving me the inspiration as well as the foresight too see that rusty piece of junk on the ground was actually an anvil ;-)

I have seen similar sized and larger pieces of plate at the scrap yard for 25 cents a pound. thats only $50 for a 200 lb "anvil" with no shipping costs. Have been using this improvised anvil since Jan this year and am quite happy with it.

Hope this helps
   lazarus - Sunday, 09/12/04 13:31:09 EDT

thanks for all the help guys i have done everything on that list of your guru but run an ad thats a great idea.i'l try it.i was having some luck with my family and neibors but it all fell though.and because i dont have a job yet yes my price of a new 1 is above me.
   - John S - Sunday, 09/12/04 13:50:58 EDT

thanks to u too lazarus but the only junkyard near me counldnt even call me back when they got a peice of rr track
   - John S - Sunday, 09/12/04 13:51:58 EDT

John S,

Perhaps if you told us where you live, one of us might have a lead in your area. Thousands of people read this site, so the more information you give us, the better your chances of getting a good referral. If you enter your email address in the box with your post, it will be encrypted so that spammers can't harvest it. Thoroughly safe, and it enables folks to email you directly.
   vicopper - Sunday, 09/12/04 14:28:59 EDT

Hello, Does anyone know were I can get a nice big, good cond. Anvil? at a good price? I don't want to pay any more than $2 dollers per pond though...It would really help if you know were.... Thanks!
   - Marcus - Sunday, 09/12/04 14:32:01 EDT

I forgot to add in my email....this one has it..
   Marcus - Sunday, 09/12/04 14:33:12 EDT

Jock, I have a question for you. I was looking at the ten minute gas forge you built, and I really like the design. I did something like it with some red brick I had lying around the house, but it just doesnt hold the heat. I have a good feeling thats because of the red brick, but I was still able to make a really nice lamp stand with it out of angle iron. Anyway, could you maybe provide me with a few extra details on how you piled up the bricks? I can kinda go off the pictures and drawings, but I'm not completely sure if I'll do it right. And I'll probably do some modification to suit what I do, but any extra help I will definately appreciate.Oh, would one of the mig tip burners work on that forge, or do i need a double burner configuration for it? Thats all for now.
Thanks, Ian Wille
   Ian Wille - Sunday, 09/12/04 14:38:01 EDT

John, No scrap yard "calls back" unless you are an international bulk buyer (ship loads). Even "free" anvils usualy cost something, transportation, abrasives for cleanup or the tools to use them with. Step one is to get a job or boostrap your way up.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/12/04 14:42:04 EDT

Jock, sorry, but i forgot to add to my previous post that I will use firebrick from my local masonry supply center. Red brick definately does not work for forges. I'm just glad what i used was scrap.
   Ian Wille - Sunday, 09/12/04 14:43:04 EDT

ps. it would help if it was kinda on the east cost...
   Marcus - Sunday, 09/12/04 14:45:56 EDT

ITC Products Rob, I am not familiar with Mizzou, looked it up know a little. First, it is a high aluminia refractory, probably from Mizzou and sold by Haberson Walker (the refractory conglomerate). Second, all refractory products use a bonding agent. These agents vary according to the chemical nature of the product and MAY NOT be compatible.

The insulation rating of most refractories is based on the mineral they are made of. I suspect that whatever the lowest temperature ingrediant is the weak link. Products like castable Mizzou are MUCH weaker than their fired versions. Most furnaces do not get hot enough to fire castable to the strength of similar brick products.

Then there is also the problem of the fact that all these materials are proprietary and that manufacturers are not a lot of help disclosing what is IN their products. MSDS often contain things that MAY be there but are often a red herring.

To make matters worse, refractory chemistry is almost a black art and a very rare specialty. Feriz Delkic at ITC is one of those rare refractory scientists who actualy knows the details of these things and he is rather tight liped about these things except the performance of his products.

Alumina has a melting point of 3700°F at 2500°F it has only 10% of its room temperature strength.

Zirconia (the unofficial ingrediant in ITC products) has a melting point of 5000°F and holds its strength well.

Zirconia is made into high temperature refractory bricks good for 4700°F and also made into light weight foam insulating bricks.

ITC makes a series of products including ITC-200 and ITC-148 that are used for repair and thick coatings on surfaces. Since the immediate surface of a furnace lining sees the highest temperature and oxidation conditions you would be better off to coat the inside of a furnace with the higest temperture product to protect a lower temperature product rather than mixing them together. ITC-100 is used both as a primer and top coat for the other ITC products. For the most critical applications high purity ITC-296A is used as a top coat.

For details and applications of ITC products see our on-line catalog (link at the beginning of this post). We are the only site on the Internet to have all the ITC literature as well as our own version of the ITC Problem Solving and Application Chart.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/12/04 14:52:11 EDT

guru, do you know were to get a good cheap anvil?
   Marcus - Sunday, 09/12/04 15:02:29 EDT

Euroanvils.NET Has the best of the low cost high quality anvils. Their new anvils are selling for what used anvils are going for. Otherwise good and cheap do not go together in the description of any tool. See my long post (and others) an hour ago about where to find anvils.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/12/04 15:08:03 EDT

10 Minute Forge: Ian, red brick would "hold heat" just as well as refractory brick, there is no magic to them. However, most gas forges reach temperatures that will melt the surface or crack common red bricks.

Hard refractory bricks are not particularly good insulation. Forges and furnaces built from them take longer to heat up than those built with lightweight refractory materials like Kaowool blanket or board. However, hard refractory bricks are more durable and in some cases there is some advantage to having some thermal mass to absorb and radiate heat.

The first time you fire any forge or furnace built from hard refractory there is a time period where the absorbed water in the refractory is being driven off. Making all this steam takes a lot of energy and cools the furnace. When used daily the refractory stays dry and the furnace is much more efficient. However, let a period of a few weeks pass and the refractory will absorb that water from the air again.

The 10 minute forge as shown is a LARGE forge for heating 10 to 15 1-1/2" pavement breakers at a time. It had a large blower and was fed from a large propane cylinder. It was NOT intended to be a small efficient blacksmiths forge. This forge fed work to a 300 pound power hammer at a rate that earned over $200/hour. Note that this forge design was for forging tool steels and did not need to reach mild steel welding temperatures.

Although the 10 minute forge was large and relatively inefficent it was no more inefficient than the Johnson Trough (or slot) forges found in so many schools.

If it is not getting hot then you probably are not throwing enough fuel (money) at it.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/12/04 15:27:31 EDT


If you read this forum thoroughly, you would have seen a posting on the Hammer-in last week about a 300# Fisher anvil for sale in PA. At that time, it could have been had for $1/lb. Terrific price, for that anvil. It is now on ebay and still available. Item #6117681263. It may be worth checking out.
   vicopper - Sunday, 09/12/04 15:30:03 EDT

More RE finding anvils: I've told some of these stories before, but I will tell them again.

In 1985 I was helping a young lady in Sacremento, CA setup a little blacksmith shop and we were searching for an anvil. Since I was not familiar with the area I asked if she knew of any scrap yards that had lots of bit rusty junk. There was one down along the river in an old section of town, so we went for a look. SERIOUS junk! Rail cars, machine tools, you name it. Talked to an employee as they were closing up, yeah we had one around here somewhere. . . Had to go back three times to hit them when they were open. We bought a nice little 100 pound anvil for $65. The next weekend we were testing it out and her next door neighbor walked over and asked if we could use "another one of those things". A minute later he drives up with a sweet 150 pound Peter Wright in the bucket of his tractor. Refused to take a dime and we didn't have to lift a finger.

About 1978 I was working at my outdoor forge when one of my neighbors drives up and asks if I needed an anvil. I didn't REALLY NEED another anvil but I took a look. He had a nice 128 pound M&H Armitage Mouse Hole anvil in the trunk of his car. It had been laying next to a barn and had moss growing on it. He gladly took $50, which was all I had.

Several years later a fellow drives up (might have been the same guy as above) and says he's looking for an anvil for a friend. I had been using the 128 pound Mousehole because that 28 pounds made a big difference over my 100 pound Kohlswa. I was broke and a little desperate, so I sold the Kohlswa (my first anvil) for $50.

When my grandmother and her husband had to move out of their big old home into an assisted care facility they gave me his old Peter Wright. I was a nice old anvil but the face had a weld seperation on one side and the other was rounded over because it was soft. It had not been a family heirloom, just an anivl he had piccked up somewhere. I was in a spot for money and sold it for $125 a few years ago. At the time I had 8 anvils and it was just one of a bunch I didn't need.

Last summer I stopped by a truck wrecking yard looking for parts for my old Ford F-600. The guy had mountains of tools and junk so I asked about blacksmithing tools. I bought a small beat up 30 pound Fisher anvil from him for $15 and pices of a Hossfeld bender for another $20. The Hossfeld parts had been a more recent acquisition for the fellow so I suspect he remembered what he had invested in it. . .

Now, I AM NOT a finder. Real finders like Thomas who posts here and my friend Josh are a completely different breed. They have eagle eyes, ask finder questions of everyone they meet everywhere they go, including just going into any old service station, hardware store or farm supply and asking anyone there. They make it a point to stop at these places and then they obsesivly FOLLOW those leads. When they find what they are looking for they a hard bargainers and usualy pay WAY below market price.

I tell folks that these guys could fall down in a manure pile and come out with anvils stuck to them. But in reality these folks WORK at it.

Josh is in Costa Rica now living there half the year and half in the US. It is not the poorest country in the world but there are few resources not in use. It has also not had a lot of industry. He had not been down there but a few months when he saw a little antique shop that had that "look". He bought a very nice 150 pound anvil for $50US (12,000 CRC) or less. Last time I spoke to him he was chasing another. He also bought his 450 pound German anvil while on a trip in Germany. . .

I know folks through anvilfire that have collections of hundreds of anvils. Although this sounds greedy it is a good investment. Used anvil prices have been steadier than gold and have never gone down. In fact they have gone UP a lot in the past 10 years. There were also MILLIONS of anvils in use at one time in the US and new anvils are now being sold at a brisk rate. If everyone in the US that was seriously interested in smithing had their "share" of all the (good old) anvils in circulation we could all have a hundred or so. So a few collectors that have worked hard a building collections are not greedy, they are just smart (and maybe a little obsesive).

Anvils are out there, you just have to look for them. And they are not just out in the country, you can find them in inner cities. They are in machine shops, garages, basements, store rooms. . . NOW. . good old swage blocks are a different matter. But the finders seem to have collections of them too.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/12/04 16:31:45 EDT

i live near the shore in New Jersey but thats all im saying
   John S - Sunday, 09/12/04 16:33:55 EDT

There are just as many if not more anvils in the Pine Barrens than anywhere else in North America. Fisher anvils were manufacturered in NJ. Lots of OLD industry going back to colonial times, lots of anvils.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/12/04 16:54:48 EDT

John S.,

Let me make something clear. Nobody here at anvilfire is trying to find out where you live. We are trying to help. For example, I live in Winston-Salem, NC. Knowing no more than that, if I was asking for help finding an anvil, folks could at least steer me in the right direction.

"Near the shore in New Jersey" is so indefinite that it's really useless, in spite of the guru's attempt to help. You could be any where from Sussex to Hunterdon. (I went to high school in Red Bank)
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 09/12/04 17:27:56 EDT

As far as that goes, the fisher 300 lb anvil is still on ebay 1 day left, its at $222 still, which is one helluva price.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 09/12/04 17:30:45 EDT

Prepare for another sermon:

Part of the price of admission for getting into smithing is learning how to haunt the scrapyards and generally talk to folks who may know about something you are interested in. This means you also listen to what they tell you, even if it's a long rambling story about things you couldn't possibly care less about. There's knowledge to be had everywhere.

There is no free lunch. Some folks get lucky with anvils, some don't. You have to learn to make your own luck. Being young and eager can help with this, if you make sure that you come across as a serious and respectful person rather than as someone who only asks but never gives in return. That giving in return can be money, or it can be an ear to listen with. Someone who demonstrates an ability to hear what is said, remember it, and most importantly who CARES what is said, will come out ahead every time.

As has been pointed out repeatedly, don't get hung up on a certain idea of what an anvil looks like. The U.K. and its former colonies, including the U.S., use one style of anvil that most of us think is the only right one. The rest of europe uses a few slightly different styles, ones that are quickly becoming the norm in this country as well since that's where the latest wave of good quality anvils are coming from. Don't expect this to last, by the way. Asia in general uses plain blocks of steel for anvils. Don't think you can do good work on a simple block of steel? What do you think Japanese bladesmiths have used for the last two thousand years? An anvil is simply a large chunk of steel upon which you can pound hot metal without severe damage to the surface you are pounding. Laws of physics do come into play, as the bigger the anvil-object, the better it works. Cast iron does not work well, as it will crumble if you beat on it long enough.

Any chunk of steel with a relatively flat surface and a large mass will do the job if you are truly desperate. For that matter, in the US bladesmithing community one sought-after anvil is just a hunk of 8" square 4140 axle stock.

This brings up the other part of the cost of admission: Think hard about what everything can be used for. Don't get hung up on "correct" tools, provided you learn the abilities of what tools you have. If you don't think creatively, you will not be a good smith.

Sermon over! Have fun, and go forth and start thinking. This act alone will set you apart from the masses of humanity (no grin!).
   Alan-L - Sunday, 09/12/04 18:00:17 EDT

ok well im in bayville its right across the bay from seaside hights.then theres toms river and lakhurst that arent far away from me.hope this helps
   John S - Sunday, 09/12/04 18:11:38 EDT

Alan, well said.

As Alan mentioned anvil shape is what you make of it. You will never hear me criticize a good classic anvil design or a new well thought out design. However, since almost all of todays anvils are cast from a relatively easy to make wood pattern they can be ANY shape. That includes good copies of classic designs and bad made by people that have never seen a good anvil. The current crop of ASO's from China, the Harbor Freight anvils and some of the Czech anvils are ugly poorly concieved wasted effort. I don't care about the ASO's but the Czech foundries have let bad patternmakers dictate anvil shapes. This is sad because they are using good steel, heat treating and machining it and the result is a ugly anvil.

The fellows at Rat Hole Forge who I reported on in our NEWS coverage of the ABANA conference showed what can be done when someone that KNOWS what an anvil looks like makes an anvil. Its exact opposite is the "Austrian Style" anvil made by the Czechs. They took one of the all time classic shapes that was also excellent anvil design and botched it. The old anvils were FORGED with great difficulty and the folks that made those anvils did not shirk on style or design.

Time for dinner. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 09/12/04 18:44:05 EDT

Anvils: I watched the Brazeal brothers demo recently and they did everything on a block of steel that's about 10 inches tall by 12 inches wide by 2 inches thick. They had four shapes ground into the top of the block (narrow edge faced up to the smith). One surface was flat, the second was a butcher and the last two were differently radiused fullers. Since it was a total of 12 inches, each surface was about 3x2 inches of usable area. With one guy striking and the other holding a top fuller, they could really move metal and easily switch to a flatter to smooth the work quickly. This block sat in a simple three legged stand with tool holders around the outside edge. The block was not hardened but bounced a hammer quite well due to the mass distribution plus could easily be repaired by welding and grinding if it was ever damaged. If I was just getting started, I'd be sorely tempted to find a block of steel in the scrap yard and make an "anvil" similar to this one.
   - HWooldridge - Sunday, 09/12/04 18:45:18 EDT

I still have a block of 4130 plate, 4x6x12", right at 100 lbs that I planned on using for an anvil. I bought the Russian anvil before I had a chance to really use it. I still have it, waiting for a good home. If there is anyone in the Dyersburg, TN area just getting started, contact me.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 09/12/04 18:47:30 EDT

I too saw the Brazeal brothers demo on the homemade plate anvil. I was impressed enough that I made one like it. Works well, although I miss a hardy hole.
I have a lovely little 125# Trenton, and a 70# Vanadium that I set up for my son. The plate anvil is very handy for the butcher and sharp corners when those feactures are needed as my Trenton is very rounded. Also the very steep fuller seems to be more effective than a bottom fuller in the anvil. Brian Brazeal claimed that hardy tools bounce and loose energy. I do see more movement with the plate fuller. Brian advocates a top fuller to match the radius of the two different fullers. Watching those two forge, with a hand hammer and a striker is awsome!
   ptree - Sunday, 09/12/04 19:19:38 EDT

I got so wrapped up in my pontificating I forgot the most important part!

If you really are interested in smithing, go to a meeting of your local smithing group. They may be listed here at abana-chapter.org, or they may not. Contact whoever you can find on that list who is closest to where you are and ask if there is anyone closer. Call them. Go to their meetings. You simply cannot teach yourself how to be a smith without wasting ten to twenty years reinventing the wheel, so to speak. On the other hand, you can learn more of the practice of smithing in an hour watching and asking questions than you can in a year of solid book study of smithing.

Then, there's always the option of taking a class. I went this route, after years of accumulating books and equipment. There was no internet as such at the time (I'm not THAT old, really) and I didn't know about my local club, who had been meeting for years just an hour north of me. I went to John C. Campbell in North Carolina for a five-day intro class and never looked back. They told me about the local guys to me, in Knoxville, TN at the time.

John S., I'm not singling you out except by convenience, since you were the last post, but there is a smithing school in New Jersey too. Did you know that? It's called Peters Valley. The internet is a wonderful thing, isn't it?

HW and QC, good posts, guys. Guru, have a good supper!
   Alan-L - Sunday, 09/12/04 19:23:36 EDT

Concerning the Harbor Freight Anvil 42028,

Actually I own one of those 55lb carbon steel India anvils. Its decent for the money and I don't regret it.

However, I should warn everyone that the face does *NOT* look as nice as the picture on the harbor freight website.

When I got it, it had some ugly swirls cut into it. If you buy one, be prepared to spend time cleaning this mess up.
   - taylor - Sunday, 09/12/04 19:37:07 EDT

Miles about the only coal I know if in the Portland/Eugene area of Oregon is in BeaverCreek, Oregon. Valley Farrier Supply. Last time I checked a 40 lb sack was about 20 some odd dollars.
   Ralph - Sunday, 09/12/04 20:28:51 EDT

Copper finish!
I wish to take on an outdoor copper project(handrail) but I am unsure as to whether or not a finish is required. Does it need a protective coating or should I expect to buff it once a year or more/less???
   Louis - Sunday, 09/12/04 20:31:46 EDT


Yes, and yes. Copper is a very chemically active metal and will oxidize if not protected from the air. The speed with which it oxidizes will vary depending on your environment. Anywhere from two days to two months. Any water, water vapor or salts (such as sweat) will markedly speed up the process. Air pollution will do the same thing. If you want it to stay copper-colored, you'll have to clear coat it.

The best clear coat I've found has been the automotive polyisocyanurate finishes such as DuPont's Imron™. Anything less durable doesn't do the job well enough to be worth the trouble and expense. I should note here that the copper must be absolutely clean before applying any finish if you want it to work. When applying Imron™, or any othe rsolven-bsed automotive finish, you MUST wear an approved respirator, unless you truly hate your lungs and liver.

Polished metal really has too little "tooth" for coatings to adhere as well as the might, so some slight chemical etching is recommended. DuPont's MetalPrep™, a phosphoric acid solution, works very well and leaves the metal still looking shiny, but with enough tooth to make a big difference in adhesion.

Even with good prep work, proper application and good luck, no clear coat will last forever on polished metal exposed to the elements. Five or more years woul dbe about all you could hope for in a moderate environment, less where the elements are harsher. Salt air, high UV levels, wind-blown sand all degrade a finish. Periodic waxing with a high quality car wax will double the life of any finish. Good car waxes contain UV inhibitors and long-chain polymer sealants that do wonders toward sealing out Mother Nature.

So, yes and yes. You need to coat it, and you need to polish/wax it.
   vicopper - Sunday, 09/12/04 21:07:06 EDT


I forgot to mention that the oxides of copper are black, and a handrailing my very well leave marks on clothing if rubbed against. If the railing is going to be used hundreds of times a day, there wouldn't be too much problem as it will get "hand polished" by traffic. It will still tarnish, but the tarnish may be continuously rubbed off, except in areas like the underside and around brackets and returns, where it doesn't get handled. Personally, I would clearcoat it as detailed above.
   vicopper - Sunday, 09/12/04 21:10:38 EDT

Wax and Copper Absolutely DO NOT try to protect copper or brass with wax alone. The copper reacts chemicaly with the wax and makes nice green wax. . . The copper continues to oxidize through the wax.

The top rail of brass and copper railings are traditionaly left uncoated and then cleaned and polished weekly. Brass holds up much better than polished copper but given a weekly polish it will look pretty good. The problem comes when the maintenance bills pile up or the polisher takes a vacation or there's a combination of scratching, corrosion from street salt and lack of maintenance and it becomes a big job to get back to a clean finish. . . Then out comes the paint.

Polishing usualy leaves a fine waxy finish. This is not a problem as long as there is regular maintenance. In the short run of a week or two the wax protects from other chemicals.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/12/04 23:26:53 EDT

Harbor Freight Anvil 42028: Taylor, How does the hardness seem on the face? The top of the horn looks to be almost flat in photo too. . .

I noticed that the top was machined on a lathe and had a circular cutter patteren in the (enhanced) photo. This is a good inexpensive way to finish a block of metal but care must be taken not to feed too fast or to drag the cutter off the work rapidly. Some anvils are cleaned up on planers which leave long straight cuts and others on horizontal mills or planner mills. These leave a straight path with cutter chatter marks (see before photos of the Russian). All quality anvils are ground from the factory and have been since the first commecialy manufactered anvils were made. Not doing so is a HUGE step backwards technologicaly.

In the past ALL quality anvils had the horns ground at the factory as well. Sadly the Peddinghaus, the priciest anvil on the market (due to being forged) does not have a finished horn. Worse, this design and that of the Euroanvil can both have the horn machine ground. That is the only advantage to the straight conical horns. It is a trade off against the better usability of eliptical or slightly triangular horns. But when they are not finished the trade off is wasted. All other horn types must be hand ground. Many of the American farriers anvils and the Nimba have hand dressed horns.

Yes, I've studied anvil design and manufacturing more than a little.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/12/04 23:40:37 EDT

Ralph-- Many thanks!
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 09/13/04 01:03:19 EDT

JOCK; I was looking at the swirly patterm on the Russkie, and was thinking along the lines of a flycutter on a vertical mill. Whaddaya think?
   - 3dogs - Monday, 09/13/04 03:52:25 EDT

I am trying to construct a self closing hinge for a 16 foot farm gate made out of 1 1/4 inch square tubing. The gate weighs about 75lbs. I saw the diagram for the simple pintle hinge, but didn't really understand the workings of it. Could you go into a little more detail. Thanks, Paul Harris
   Paul Harris - Monday, 09/13/04 09:27:39 EDT


We often build farm gates here in Texas to be bumped open and self shut by a truck. We use large pipe for the uprights and whatever the next diameter is to slip over that to act as the hinge. The upright support will be 8 feet or so tall. The gate is welded to the hinges and a piece of chain is stretched from the top of the support to the end of the gate. When you bump the gate it swings open and winds up the support pipe due to the chain's tension then swings back and forth until it settles in the original position. You can use any hinge style you want.

Another method is to cut the hinge pieces on a bevel so they will self center in a certain spot. One piece slips over the support and it welded to it and the matching piece is welded to the gate. The gate pivots up when pushed and eventually swings back into place. I hope this all makes sense...Hollis
   - HWooldridge - Monday, 09/13/04 10:27:31 EDT

Cut Patterns: 3dogs, it is a concentric centered pattern. A flycutter makes sweeping cuts the radius dependent on the size of the cutter, just like a big end mill. This anvil was machined on a lathe or a big vertical turret lathe (AKA boring mill).

Now. . On a really big machine it is possible to setup a bunch of parts and sweep them all. This results in different arcs on all the parts and only one with the center spot IF there is a piece centered. But this is a slow ineficient way to clean up anvils as there would be so much unproductive time. Most gang machining of large parts like this is done on big planers where dozens of parts are clamped in multiple rows. If there is a gap in the rows as there would be with anvils, the operator would fast feed between rows rather than have the machine slowly feed across a big air gap. In fully automated modern plants this is now done on automatic machining centers where the only work done by the operator is load the parts on the "pallet" and clamp them down. The machine does everything from loading the pallet to multiple machining operations and unloading the pallet.

My bet is that the facing cut on those little anvils is being done manually on about a 24 to 30" lathe in the foundry.
   - guru - Monday, 09/13/04 11:34:53 EDT

Paul, I think Hollis explained it. However, our iForge article covers several self closers.

In the compact type the two halves of the hinge ride on sloped surfaces. When the gate or door is opened it is raised. Then it wants to slide back down hill, closing it self.

There all all kinds of self closers. The simple act of putting the axis of the hinge out of plumb works well. This is what has created "haunted houses" where the doors shut on ther own. Old buildings settle out of level and all of the doors want to go swing down hill. The slightest vibration and some will open (if not latched) and others close. A door slambing shut in an empty house with still air will scare the bejabbers out of you and make you believe in ghosts. But it is just gravity. . .
   - guru - Monday, 09/13/04 11:49:58 EDT

Machining Centers: Ah. . I forgot to note. In high production the pallets are loaded by robot (or robotic arm).
For those of you unfamiliar with machining centers the "pallets" are actually an interchangable part that looks like a machine table with T-slots and drilled and taped holes for fixturing and clamping parts with exact positioning. Parts are loaded onto these, checked for position then automaticaly loaded onto the machining center via conveyor. Often pallets have more than one part.

Machining centers commonly have four stations. One to load the pallet and three more for various machining operations as the pallet column rotates in 90 degree steps. Three stages of machining can be done as pallets with finished and unfinished parts are loaded and unloaded.

These are one of the modern manufacturing plant's tools that have no resembalance to what we think of as machine tools. They are not designed for any manual operations. There are no hand wheels for a human to operate. It is all fully automatic including replacing of dull and broken cutter bits as well as rejecting parts if need be.

Many of these systems are so cleverly automated that often the change from one design part to another is done with no delay between parts. Production continues 24 hours a day. Even the waste chips are conveyed out of the plant under the floor to recycling bins.

In the most automated of these plants the machines run in the dark as they have no need to "see" using visible light. There is no reason for light unless a human needs to check on the machines. We all imagine these fully automated and robotic plants as being like in the movies or television ads a brightly lit. But it is much more ominous, the robots and intelegent machine tools working tirelessly in the dark with mimimum human "supervision". We are only a generation or two of software away from the machines doing it all. . .
   - guru - Monday, 09/13/04 13:10:51 EDT

You know it would probaly cost a junkyard more in lost time to call someone that it will make in profit selling a single item. What you want to do is to cultivate a fiendship with the folks at the junkyard; a cold sixpack of coke on a hot day, fresh doughnuts every once in a while. Talk with them if they have the time; get out of their way if they're busy; shoot you may end up burried in good stuff! A "finder's fee" can help out too. Getting in good with an auctioneer can make for a more productive use of your time---"Jake, I see they have some smithing stuff in the sale Saturday..." "It's all beat to pieces and it's just a farm anvil" can save you a day at an auction.

I helped mount the two roll up doors for my new shop over the weekend; hope they will start the walls today or tomorrow.

   Thomas P - Monday, 09/13/04 13:20:34 EDT

The "darkest" part of the scenerio above (before Thomas' post) is the machines are doing what used to be considered the highest skilled jobs or the good paying factory jobs. More workers are now involved mining and processing ores and driving trucks to and from the factory and loading and unlaoding the trucks than any other. So where will WE be when the mining equipment is automated, the fork lifts run by computer (they already are in many places) and the trucks replaced by automated cargo systems similar to railroads. . .

The ONLY real jobs that create real wealth (in a broad economic snese) are extraction of natural resources such as mining and the production of goods (manufacturing). Where will human kind be when all or most of this is done by machine?

Of course there must be consumers to purchase the goods from these fully automated systems so there must be jobs of SOME kind. Or are we on the verge of a Star Trek like future where there is no money and everyone is simply part of the system. . .

Dramatic economic shifts are afoot as a result of technology. Where it will all lead is anyone's guess.
   - guru - Monday, 09/13/04 13:29:23 EDT

Great advice Thomas! This method has paid off well for me. I might add that it's the guys working the yard who know what comes and goes. The folks in the office only know tonage and truck loads. Chat these guys up, learn when they take breaks.

Lunch is over,time to go eat some more coal smoke
   - Flash - Monday, 09/13/04 14:56:41 EDT

guru, would you, at your leisure, look @ ebay item # 6118634854. i cant figure out what it is, or what it was used for. most confusing piece of machinery.

   - rugg - Monday, 09/13/04 15:15:08 EDT

Looking for a quick response.
Is this set up worth getting?
And if so what would you pay for it?
   Thud - Monday, 09/13/04 15:33:07 EDT


The setup is nice, but the tight-wad in me tells me I could assemble something similar for less money. In fact, I've acquired a similar set of toys, on several occassions, for under $200 (The anvil is always the hardest part). It takes some patience, and some scrounging skills, but it is very do-able.

I suppose the real issue would be whether I would need to ship it or not. If it was local, I might be slightly tempted, but shipping, for even a short distance, would make this 500lb package way too pricey for what you get.


   eander4 - Monday, 09/13/04 16:42:28 EDT

Rugg, it appears to be a power rivet setting hammer for rivetting leather or thin sheet metal. Might make a handy planishing hammer for very small jewelry-type sheet, though.

Thud, it's a cute little setup. I like heavier anvil stands, but that looks goo for portable demo work.
   Alan-L - Monday, 09/13/04 17:12:05 EDT

Having started in a manual machine shop employing 500 machinists, tool and die makers, die sinkers etc, I watched the change from handwheels to CNC.
Where I work now, we have many robots. We feed the billets from the induction heaters to the man running the porterbars by robot, and then take the finished parts back out by robot. Robots feed parts through cells for finished parts to come out.
The highest skilled men in the shop are now the electronics tech's and the mechanics that repair this stuff. We still have tool and Die makers to repair the dies with manual machines but most of the new stuff comes off CNC.
I watched as automated equipement replaced machinists at the old plant. Many we retrained to be programers for the CNC machines. Its much easier to teach a machinist how to run the machine with a CNC then it it is to train a computer science guy how to machine. Once we converted to machinist/programers, we never again had cases of trying to drill a hole three inches deep with a center drill, or trying to get a thread close to the bottom of a blind hole by tapping the entire hole with a short lead plug tap.
Its not all gloom and doom. We are keeping jobs here by automating. If you pay a living wage in the USA, you can't throw labor at a job. We have to work with our superior education and skills to but out more product for the $ or that production is gone to somewhere they talk different!
Remember, the American worker is still the most productive in the world, but the gap narrows every year.
   ptree - Monday, 09/13/04 18:00:31 EDT

Guru, maybe an old 'Bullard' or vertical lathe allowing the anvil to simply be set down on the face plate. Years ago, (how time slips away) even flat plates were economically "planed" down on old Bullards that had lost some of their accuracy.
   - Tom H - Monday, 09/13/04 18:00:45 EDT

alan, thanks for looking. it uses a hammer handle (wood); strange looking piece. the seller should probably describe it differently, being listed in "black smithing".
   rugg - Monday, 09/13/04 18:59:53 EDT

6118634854 Some kind of power punch, or a rivet setting hammer?

6117567760 I would cerainly ask for some decent pictures of the anvil face and the firebox. If everything looked kosher, and I needed it, I'd probably be willing to go to at least $250 - $300 for it. Other folks may not agree, but that's my opinion.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 09/13/04 19:16:58 EDT


That little riveting machine is, just as the seller said, like a baby helve hammer. Look at photos of old Bradley helve hammers or even old water-powered helve hammers. The concept is the same, an eccentric crank driving a pitman arm that moves the helve (haft) up and down. About as simple as it gets in the powerhammer game. Bradley and others made helve hammers with DuPont type linkages in them, springs, rubber cushions, air springs, all manner of "improvements" until we got to where we are today.

I've seen those little machines in production jewelry factories and in assembly operations setting rivets. One summer, I had a job running one to rivet together backpack frames, until the guy running the grommeter put one through his thumb and I got his job. I'm not sure that was a promotion...
   vicopper - Monday, 09/13/04 19:37:25 EDT

The seller of that anvil/forge/vise setup is none other than Stephen Feinstein of Euroanvil fame. The anvil is one of the Czech made European patterns that Euroanvils no longer carries. My guess is that Stephen built the setup himself to do demos. I like the concept of using the mass of the anvil and stand to secure the vise. For demos of small stuff, it makes good sense.
   vicopper - Monday, 09/13/04 19:40:28 EDT

If someone is still looking for a large block of steel for a make_shift anvil, and lives on the East Coast, you can check at "Steel and Metal Liquidators, LLC in New Castle, DE. (just south of Wilimgton), off I95. Their phone number is (302) 322-9960.

I was there today and saw a 4" thick piece of steel that was probably 12" by 18" or so. They may not have a full inventory of scrap steel they have, so a phone call may not answer some questions (but that piece is in their yard. I think the price for that piece would either be 25 or 30 cents a pound.

They have lots of other steel, at new and scrap (discounted) prices. I also found out they have an even larger surplus lot about an hour North in New Jersey.

It's a place worth visiting if you live nearby, or are passing near...

Good Luck.

   djhammerd - Monday, 09/13/04 21:25:14 EDT

Frank-- Many thanks! Just peeked at the Valley Farrier Supply website: $14.50 for 40 pounds. That's $725 a ton by my math.
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 09/14/04 00:32:45 EDT

Where can I order a good full lenght leather apron? Can`t seem to find one that is worth a damn so far on the net, and I`m sure trying...Thanks
   Stan - Tuesday, 09/14/04 02:00:59 EDT

During heattreatament for steelpieces,the zyrconia carbon/oxigen sensor is cover by a unknow materie.The control sistem is throuble. The steel pieces is ,for small area,protected whit paste compound boron and aromatics hidrocarbures. What is these materie? Can you clean senzor?
   - dan danut - Tuesday, 09/14/04 02:41:36 EDT

If you have been blessed with scrap yard prowling priveleges, you are fortunate indeed. Protect those priveleges like your baby sister's virtue. In this litigious minded society in which we now live, you're lucky to make it past the weighmaster's window. If there ever was an OSHA bust in the making, it would be when some citizen wanders around a scrap yard, climbing ten feet up a scrap pile after that perfect piece of metal that just caught his eye. Let the man who has allowed you out in his yard know that you are not going to become a liability. Make him a gift every now and then out of the metal from his yard to show your gratitude. Better yet, make something his wife can use. When you go out into the yard, make sure you're wearing the same safety gear his employees do; i.e., hard hat, safety glasses, safety boots, leather palm gloves, etc. You know what you're supposed to be wearing, don't try to cut corners. If the OSHA man shows up while you're there, HE sure as hell won't be cutting any corners. This is a very valuable, and rapidly disappearing, resource that must be cultivated. I was a self employed welding and millwright contractor for 15 years, and developed some friendships that have endured to this day among the scrap yard folk, and I still have my yard priveleges, over 20 years later. You might even find yourself attending funerals and weddings. I still have the yarmulke I was given at the first wedding I attended. The groom, who was the owner's son, invited me because I had watched him grow up in the business. Maybe if you do business at Fred 'n' Ed's Recycling, 'way out in the boonies, it doesn't work quite this way, but if you're near a large city, this is pretty much how it's done. End of ramble.
   - 3dogs - Tuesday, 09/14/04 03:39:47 EDT

Stan, For an apron go to your welding supply store. They have what you want.
   Jim Curtis - Tuesday, 09/14/04 09:10:12 EDT

I am looking for blacksmiths capable of forging (and annealing) Grade 5 titanium (5Al-4V) to approx. 15/16" to 1.25" octagon with large fork on end - one piece construction. Total lengths 30" to 36" finished. Quanitity in hundreds. Square bar would be provided; drawings available to those capable.

   John A. Mountford Jr. - Tuesday, 09/14/04 09:24:57 EDT

C/O Sensor: Dan, This is technology that only the manufacturer can give you the right answer. These sensors often rely on a delicate electrical balance and any change can have unpredictable results.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/14/04 09:35:41 EDT

Bullard: Tom, Sorry I left out the "vertical" where I said turret lathe. The correct technical term for most Bullard type machines is a "vertical turret lathe". Yes, much more convienient that a horizontal axis lathe for heavy parts. Put for a 55 lb anvil either would do.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/14/04 09:40:47 EDT

Aprons: Stan, As Jim pointed out a welding supply store is your best bet. That is where I have gotten mine. I do not like the full length and cut them off just below the knee but that is my preference.

Now if you want a heavy leather farrier's spron that is a different thing. Both Centaur Forge and Pieh Tools carry a variety.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/14/04 09:58:57 EDT

The last scrapyard I was granted prowling priviledges in was because I made the yardmaster a railroad spike knife. He spent the hour I was there happily plunging it into car doors ala Buford Pusser...
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 09/14/04 10:17:06 EDT

Miles, while I am not Frank I will respond...(smile)
that price is one reason why I am transitioning to propane and I am also considering charcoal. ( if I can find it at a lower cost that is)
   Ralph - Tuesday, 09/14/04 10:25:15 EDT

Riveting Machine: I've seen several of these. This one does not appear to have the original helve. The helves on these things we made of very fine grained rock maple and were quite slender and "whippy". These machine run VERY fast and the whippyness of the helve is important.

A "BLACKSMITH Helve Power Hammer" it IS NOT and the seller knows it. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/14/04 10:52:52 EDT

A too long apron can be as big a hazzard as none at all. The late Charlie Sutton has a story in his book "Under a Spreading Chestnut Tree" about wearing too long an apron when he was aprenticing. He was kneeling on the floor fitting something hot and stepped on the apron edge getting up, fell forward, put his hands out to stop his fall, plams down on the hot iron........
   JimG - Tuesday, 09/14/04 11:14:25 EDT

guru and vic', thanks for the comments. being described as "blacksmith tool", i looked for the anvil and ram. the wood helve was interesting. mini power hammer?

now a real question: need recommendation for garden gate fastener for hinge (non weight bearing) bracket in concrete block.

   rugg - Tuesday, 09/14/04 11:18:26 EDT

Czech Forge Setup: Thud, It is a shame Steve did not provide closer photos but it is what it is and Stever is as honest as they come. As VIc noted he owns or owned Euroanvils, an advertiser here. The anvil will be in as close to new or better condition as any you will find and the rest will be exactly as described.

What you pay for something like this depends on what you need it for and how much you want it. I have no need for it and although I have a collection of tools that I am always adding to, I cannot afford to be a "collector".

The anvil alone is worth about $300 to $375 but it has also been hand dressed by an expert which is worth something. The stand worth a couple hundred if you had to make it yourself. This size vise is typicaly selling for $75 to $125 but you have to find them. . . Then you have the forge which would sell for a couple hundred but is also a definite collectors item. So you have at least $650 worth of stuff WITHOUT the forge. I could only guess at his reserve but would suspect around $900 or so.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/14/04 11:33:38 EDT

Anchor in concrete block: Rugg, to start, all hinges are load bearing. Although the lower hinge takes most of the downward load the upper hinge has force trying to pull it OUT of the wall or column. Even though the bottom anchor sees more load it is pushing inward rather than trying to pull it out.

The last time I tried to anchor something heavy in concerte block I used a 1/4" toggle bolt. The problem with a toggle bolt is that it takes a huge hole to get the parts through AND if the block is filled it will not open. I ended up with a 2" hole in the wall of a public school building. . . The anchor board and art work covered it but there will need to be concrete repairs when it is removed.

My experiance with anchoring in rock and concrete has led me to believe that epoxy is the only way to do a decent job that you know will not fail during installation OR after. However, this is not a cheap was to go. All the many commercial anchors I have tried have failed except the little light duty plastic expansion anchors used for hanging electrical conduit and boxes.

When I last needed to do a bunch of anchors on a job I was working on *I* bought the tool that uses the two part tubes and has disposable mixing nozzels. IT was about $150. Then you have the materials (about $25 each). I suspect there are less expensive options if you ask your building supply place. I got mine at the local industial fastener store.

THEN there is the red neck works on everything including resetting the ol'ladies zircon. . . Bondo (IE auto body putty). Its relatively inexpensive, easy to mix, sets fast and designed to take paint. It sticks to ANY dry surface including glass and teflon. However, most is pink and will not match concrete. It is polyester resin and not as strong as epoxy due to the large amount of fill. But it is better for use on vertical surfaces.

Drill an oversized hole, blow out the dust, stuff it full of bondo and a threaded rod, wait for the bondo to start setting and trim it with a knife while still fresh. I would put a nut and washer on the embedded end of the rod and use a fender washer to make a nice clean flat on the outer surface and to help hold in the bondo while it sets. You could also set a piece of pipe with a nut welded on the end to make a threaded anchor hole the same way.

Note that epoxy and polyester resins are thermal setting. They start creating their own heat as soon as you start mixing the hardener in. In cold weather or on cold surfaces you have to add extra hardener or they may not set. Epoxy seems to ALWAYS harden eventualy but bondo has so much inert fill that it ocassionaly fails. In hot weather or on hot surfaces they will set VERY fast and you have to reduce the amount of hardener or they will harden before you are done mixing or placing them. The effect of heat is easily seen as they harden on your fingers faster than an ambient temperature surface. In warm weather this is a warning that you have a few seconds of working time to go. I always mix a small test batch in warm weather to see just how fast it is going to set.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/14/04 12:14:51 EDT

I'm fairly new to blacksmithing, and I've just inherited a forge from my uncle. From what I know, it is a coal forge from the early 1900's. I need to know what kind of coal I need for it, and whether or not it need sand in the bottom or that sort of thing. Any help would be much appreciated.
Thank You,
   Andi M. Neff - Tuesday, 09/14/04 12:19:41 EDT

the best type of coal is bituminous coal ( sometimes called soft or blaclsmithing coal) Some folks do say to put clay in the bottom of the forge but I have not done so, as this will invariably trap moisture under it and promote RAPID rusting. But others will have differing opinions.
ALso you should try to find some local smiths and see how their forges work. In fact I would not be suprised to find that some of the anvilfire regulars are close by to you. Since we are literally everywhere. I am just out side of Portland Oregon. If that is anywhere near you I will gladly look over your new to you forge and help you out.
   Ralph - Tuesday, 09/14/04 13:20:58 EDT

Andi, sand in the bottom of a forge can melt and make a mess. You can dissolve oil dry or kitty litter in water. Mix this goo, 4 to 1 with portland cement, and enough water to make a thick mud. Use this to ( what my Grand Pa called) mud in the duck nest. It's not the best refractory in the world, but does O.K. Just make sure it is COMPLETELY dry defore you build a fire on it
   - Flash - Tuesday, 09/14/04 14:35:41 EDT

I'm new to blacksmithing too (made a couple bbq forks at threshing bees), planning to make a brake drum forge soon. I'm wondering how many of you use home made charcoal and how it compares to the mined coal when forging. What difference does the source wood make? Locally (northern Minnesota) I have mostly popple (aspen?), willow, spruce, some birch, and a little oak. I've looked at a few sites about distilling charcoal from wood, but most of the woods they reccommend aren't here.
   Elliott Olson - Tuesday, 09/14/04 14:42:59 EDT


In the final analysis any wood will work. That said, hard woods seem to work better than soft. Pallet's are frequently a good source of hard wood (the stringers are usually Oak) and have the advantage of being free if you ask nicely.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/14/04 14:57:54 EDT

Charcoal Elliott, First, there is a difference between the heat and BTU value between mineral coal (bituminous or anthracite) and wood charcoal due to the three to one difference in density. You can get nearly as hot a fire with charcoal but it takes three times as much volume wise and a deeper fire. Charcoal was THE fuel for metal work for thousands of years.

Most woods will make good charcoal but a few will not. Test the local wood before you go nuts trying to make a truck load. We have a FAQ that describes numerous methods.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/14/04 14:59:27 EDT

Thanks, I was planning on trying the stovetop paint can method first, maybe a couple gallons per wood type. We have a couple old electric ranges that could be used in an open lean-to to try it.
   Elliott Olson - Tuesday, 09/14/04 15:10:14 EDT

Advice on straightening 1/2" mild steel plate? I have some plate about 30" by 40" that has about a 1/4" bow lengthwise. Doesn't have to be speedy process, but need to get safely and reasonably flat. Spacers and weight over some period of time or do you really need to heat it up. I've read about using a rosebud and then flash cooling with water. Afraid this will take a lot of gas/time and may end up like a washboard. Would a weedburner get it hot enough. Propane cheaper. Thanks, Dale.
   Dale - Tuesday, 09/14/04 15:22:45 EDT

Electric Charcoal? Kind of pricey.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/14/04 15:29:51 EDT

Dale, what you have is a nearly impossible task. Time under load will have no effect unless you have centuries. Bowing is difficult to get out without LOTS of force (probably hundreds of tons) or creating a bigger mess. Plate generaly gets this way from shearing.

You can run weld beads across plate and it will bow UP around the weld. When you grind the weld beads flat the plate will keep most of the bow. However, with this gentle of curve one bead in the middle will probably make it near flat but with two humps on either side of the middle. It might take more beads but then you may end up with a bow in the opposite direction.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/14/04 15:45:28 EDT

We have off-peak heating, so we get a lower rate. I figured that the range would be simpler to set up for a distillation trial. If I like the results of the charcoal, I may try a 5gal wood fired setup. Or to simplify things for me, I might buy a couple bags from a local smith. Right now it's just a starting hobby for me.
   Elliott Olson - Tuesday, 09/14/04 15:52:55 EDT


You're approaching it in the right way. Small steps and experiments until you settle on the process. There is one charcoal kiln that uses the flamable gas that is given off durning the cooking process to assist with the heating. Much more effecient that way. When you are ready, (if the link isn't in the FAQ) let me know and I'll send it to you.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/14/04 16:33:48 EDT

Elliot: You can actually use the wood without having to make it into charcoal first, you just need to let the fire burn a little longer before you start to forge in it. As the wood burns it makes charcoal, and as long as you keep adding fresh wood on top as needed, it'll continue to turn into charcoal as you work. I'm not sure if this is true or not, but I've heard that using wood instead of charcoal makes the fire a little hotter and more reducing, due to the gasses released from the wood as it's heated.
   AwP - Tuesday, 09/14/04 17:09:50 EDT

Hey Guru, I have a steel boat repair project that is suffering from "dish" distortion between the vertical frames, resulting from poor welding technique. The plate thickness is .187" . The design shape is a traditional wineglass shape with compound curves. Looking from the outside the boat has a "starved horse" look above the areas where inserts were welded in. Are there any books you would recommend? Any advice is greatly appreciated,
   Robert - Tuesday, 09/14/04 17:30:53 EDT

ref the harbor freight 110# anvil. just bought one today after reading your report. The ring was almost painful. The face dressed up very nicely with a belt sander and d/a. The horn was pretty pitted but didn't turn out bad. Noticed at the store that 2 of the 3 anvils in stock had the hardy hole on a 45 degree angle instead of straight with the sides. Never saw that before. thought you might want to know. I'll let you know how it works out. scott

   - scott - Tuesday, 09/14/04 18:01:13 EDT

I recently built a gas forge out 10" iron pipe with 1/2" pipe with a 1/8" hole in the end going into 2 1/2" pipe which goes into the 10" pipe. The 2 1/2" pipe has a blower (150 cu.ft.) attached to one end, and nozzle where it goes into the 10" pipe. The fuel in propane. My problem is I can't get enough heat to weld. I tried increasing the gas, changed the air flow, in every possible combination. I have considered opening 1/8" of the gas jet to something larger, but thought I'd consult you first.
   Gary Bradley - Tuesday, 09/14/04 18:59:52 EDT

Gary, to be honest I know nothing about blown forges. But have you looked at Don Foggs web site? I think he has a good burner design there.
   Ralph - Tuesday, 09/14/04 19:08:51 EDT

Ralph-- Gremlns in the system somewhere. After thanking you, I saw a note from Frank re: a farrier near Corvallis. That note has since vanished from my machine's version of this website! I'm thinking of relocating to that area, wondering if it could possibly be worth it to move two or three barrels full of smithing coal. I guess it might be. Been using propane last 13 years, but like coal better. Thanks again. $725 a ton! Maybe coal mining is the vocation.
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 09/14/04 19:25:33 EDT

Jock- What is a fair price to ask for a swage block in very
good condition, weighing 350-400 pounds. More detail if you want it. Jeff
   Jeff H - Tuesday, 09/14/04 20:06:11 EDT


Do not EVEN consider coal mining as a vocation. We buried my paternal grandfather from black lung disease. He was a coal miner all his life.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/14/04 20:11:56 EDT

Paw Paw-- Okay. And I have claustrophobia, anyway. But what if I got me a Gem of Egypt-sized dragline and hired some hardhats to run it and do some creative highwalling? Sounds as if there'd be money in that. Whatever happened to the Gem, anyway? The monster that ate Ohio.
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 09/14/04 22:04:28 EDT

Miles, I am not sure if the fellow donw in Corvalis is still in Business. I think he might have quit a year or so ago. I will see if I can find out.
   Ralph - Tuesday, 09/14/04 22:06:39 EDT

PawPaw, I've seen the projects with the gas enhanced fire, the vents are on the bottom of the can exposed to the wood fire. Like you said, "small steps". I'll start with stove top (or hot plate) and move on from there.

BTW, my first bbq forks are at www.qsl.net/n0ukf/extra/forkforgery.jpg. The first (at the bottom) was done by splitting the rod with a chisel and the second was a cheat by starting with a clevis ended rod. Next I'll try splitting the end of a RR spike and draw it all out longer/smaller, but leave the head as is.
   Elliott Olson - Tuesday, 09/14/04 22:10:08 EDT

Wood/Charcoal Fire:

We had to use this at the Norstead site in L'Anse aux Meadows when we went up for the Leif Erickson Millenial celebration in 2000. They didn't know how to make charcoal (we taught them) but until then we went with a softwood fire down to coals for the forging.

Good news: It can be done.

Bad news: It's somewhat enneficient, labor intensive and VERY smoky!

There's some pictures across the street showing Kirk, Nathan and I beating hot iron at: http://www.keenjunk.com/sketchbk/cw00812a.htm . In some of my other shots the smoke hangs thick about the forge. If you're outside and upwind it shouldn't be a problem, but you do have to wait a bit for the first bed of charcoal to develop. It also didn't help that the primary wood was coniferous (not to many hardwoods that far north) so that also contributed to the amount and acridness of the smoke; but the Japanese use pine charcoal for their swords, too.

It also helps to have a ground level or open sided forge design where you can feed the wood in fom the sides or the far end to keep a constant flow of fuel.

Anyway, that's how it worked for us; we were able to make spearheads and repair axes with field expedient fuel. Your reality may vary.

Cool and clouding up on the banks of the lower Potomac. I hope our southern friends and parks are battening down in good order.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org

Camp Fenby Autumn Session: November 12-14
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 09/14/04 22:16:41 EDT

Straightening plate:-) Clifton Ralph told me about straightening some 4" plate in the steel mills... I think they were little pieces 4' x20' or 40'long. His method involved 6 guys, atleast one jib crane, a 15,000# steam hammer and a forklift if I remember rightly, oh and they did it cold:-) And afterwards his stupid foreman complained when he flatten something small and stupid cold under the dies. Clifton asked what they had been doing for the last four days, and looked at him like he was an idiot... Pure Clifton;-)

Tuning a blown tube forge???
Well youv'e done something wrong apparently;-) You didn't mention any insulation, or any ITC products to increase the thermal reflectivity, so more of the heat goes into the piece, instead of heating the steel shell of the tube, or the refactory. You have also not said if you have doors on the forge to limit the venting of the exhaust, you need some venting to sustain adequete combustion, but too much bleeds away too much heat. What kind of regulator do you have? a BBQ regulator will limit the gas output, and thus the heat. Which would make the forge run colder and oxidizing, and you won't get a weld from that. The most likely problem is too little insulation, too much venting, and too little gas pressure. Gas forges are pretty simple but you have to cover all the bases first. Insulate and contain the fire so it does the work you need it to. Make sure you have a neutral flame, which will be a combination of venting, CFM, and gas pressure and flow. I tune my blown forge by ear, and by the dragon's breath. I turn the gas up so that it roars loudly, then I scale it back to where the dragon's breath is manageable:-)

No offence intended, just trying to be funny:-) I have the blacksmith's delusion of humor:-)
   Fionnbharr - Tuesday, 09/14/04 22:21:48 EDT


You need to join the anvifire foto site. When I went to your URL, I got some kind of storefront ad.

   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/14/04 22:46:30 EDT

Well, Tropical Storm Jeanne is bearing down on us for a direct hit sometime late tonight or early in the morning. Doesn't look too bad at this point, but it may make it to hurricane status at about that time as well. Still shouldn't be too bad, just more work. Power is about to go off, so time for me to check out until tomorrow.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 09/14/04 23:25:52 EDT

I have two 200 lb cast steel anvils there is the word WESCO, under which is a recessed diamond with a W and under that either AN or just N and under that 200. Can you tell me anything about it.
   Ralph Gilmore - Geologist - Tuesday, 09/14/04 23:50:10 EDT

Ralph-- Please don't go to any trouble. I am months away from making a move, if ever. Just curious. Thanks again!
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 09/15/04 00:00:32 EDT

PawPaw, are you sure you didn't copy the period after the".jpg"? The picture is there.
   Elliott Olson - Wednesday, 09/15/04 00:29:36 EDT


That must be what I did, it worked fine this time. I like the top one best.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 09/15/04 00:43:12 EDT

Diagonal Hardie Holes: Scott, That is typical of many Chinese anvils. It is VERY VERY bad design. It make the area of the hardie hole 41% wider thus the material around it thinner. The corners of the hole pointing out also create a stress concentration further weakening the anvil at this point.

This another one of those stupid things done by non-engineer, non anvil designers as I mentioned in my previous post. Folks with NO KNOWLEDGE of anvil design are making these patterns.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/15/04 01:00:11 EDT

Blown Forge: There is more to gas forge design than the burner as Fionnbharr noted. You did not mention vent size or doors much less insulation. A gas forge must be INCLOSED to contain the heat. The vents should be the minimum efficient size. This results in both containing the heat and a little back pressure which increases the fuel/air density and thus the temperature of the fire.

Orrifices are NOT necessary in blown forges. Only a gas valve. Burner capacity must also be balanced for the forge. It is easy to have too big a burner for your forge. 2-1/2" pipe is too big for a little bread loaf sized forge (assuming you insulated it), no matter how you adjust it.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/15/04 01:10:36 EDT

Swage Block Prices: Good old swage blocks are quite a bit rarer than anvils (by about 100:1 my guess). Even though they originaly sold for less than an anvil per pound they now sell for the same or more. So you are looking at $2-$3/pound US at least. Big blocks are no longer made so they will be becoming rarer and rarer.

Some of the rarest old blocks are the personal pattern blocks where the smith made his own pattern and on one or just a few were cast. These were the rare old blocks that had bowls and spoons cast in them and space was poorly utilized unlike commercial blocks that try to get in every possible shape. Where these were the rarest blocks in the past artist-blacksmith blocks are now almost all you can find from dealers. Where "industrial" blocks with all holes and standard side grooves were once the standard they are now relatively rare compared to the artist-blacksmith blocks.

I'd love to have a couple photos of your block. Been working on an article about blocks for quite a while.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/15/04 01:21:21 EDT

Just a thought on forge fuels, as long as you're talking about gas. Would a fuel oil fired (burner from an oil furnace) forge leave too much of an oil residue on the workpiece?
   Elliott Olson - Wednesday, 09/15/04 01:26:33 EDT

Bad Boat Welds: Robert, This is one of those places that a BIG sledge hammer comes into play OR hydraulic jacks. Once plate is screwed up this way it is very difficult to fix. This kind of distortion is a common result of welding plate, especialy flanges and ribs. I've seen 1" plate warped by a short short weld bead from a little buzz box welder.

I am not sure how they prevent this in boat and ship construction. I'm sure that good design with the plates joined over ribs or to each other helps a great deal. i have a couple books that cover this type of thing, I THINK. Will investigate and let you know.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/15/04 01:43:28 EDT

guru: why can't i post on the hammer-in forum? I click on POST after typing the message and still nothing happens. I guess I'm stuck in here. ;)
   Elliott Olson - Wednesday, 09/15/04 02:16:17 EDT

Oil Forge: Elliot, A great deal of commercial forges burn fuel oil or diesel fuel. They behave very much like a gas forge except that they are easier to keep a carburizing atmosphere and thus better to weld with and produce less scale. They generate more fumes than a gas forge and MUST be vented out doors with a hood and vent stack or forced air ventilation.

Several folks have built oil forges using commercial burners from domestic heating units. These come as complete units with blower, fuel pump and ignition system. They are mounted to the side of the forge and should be setup such that any liquid oil that settles will flow down hill into the forge. I recommend two pieces of sheet metal with air gaps in three places to provide a heat sheild for the burner parts.

Many commercial oil forge burners are just about as primitive as my "stupid gas burner" plan. They drip or spray oil into the air stream entering the forge. The forge is started with an oil soaked rag. Once the forge walls get hot ignition occurs in the center of the forge. Spraying oil requires a pump or pressure tank. Dripping is obiously simple. Most drip types drip the oil close to the interior of the forge and at least one I've seen dripped it from the top of the forge while the air came in from the side. really big industrial oil forges sometimes use gas to preheat the forge then switch to oil. However, many of these are so big and run so long that they are hot enough to self ignite after being shut down overnight.

Semi-portable commercial oil forges were built on top of the bulk oil tank. The tank had a hand pump to pressurize it and the forge required either compressed air or a electricity for a blower. The forge looked like a typical small commercial forge of cubic proportions, a cast iron frame and sheet metal sides enclosing a porus refractory lining. They were open at the front and closed at the back with a short hearth in front.

One advantage to these is that fuel is easier to find than propane (globaly) and it can be carried in any fuel can or drum.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/15/04 02:24:51 EDT

vicopper, so far this is the only place I've heard anything about Jeanne. Where are you? We don't usually get much effect from hurricanes (or remnants), but then I'm sure you don't get -40° winters.
   Elliott Olson - Wednesday, 09/15/04 02:43:47 EDT

Elliott, It may be your browser. All our forum buttons require a certain level of Javascript. Ocassionaly the javascript resource does not load and the buttons are dead. My old version of Netscape just plain doesn't display a page when this happens but IE allows all kinds of faults and then doesn't tell you. Try clearing your cache and going back to the page. Both this page and the hammer-in use the same cade so both should work.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/15/04 02:54:03 EDT

I'm using Mozilla Firefox. if, as you say, both pages use the same code, then I would expect them both to work or not work. cleared the cache and reloading the page now... nope, still not working.
   Elliott Olson - Wednesday, 09/15/04 03:02:04 EDT

thanx for the come back on the crooked hardy. didn't think it looked right. scott
   - scott - Wednesday, 09/15/04 06:20:16 EDT

Hi. I am very new to this - having recently attended a couple of knife making courses in South Africa (stock removal and intro to forging / damascus).

I live in Mombasa, Kenya and have built the workshop and have most of the basic equipment that i need to start.

Introduction over - my question is whether you can tell me what quantity of ferric chloride powder / crystals in solution will make a good echtant for damascus? (I have only come accross it in liquid form before).

Grateful if you could also give me an idea of the correct heat treat process for N690.

I hope these questions weren't too stupid!!
   james - Wednesday, 09/15/04 07:38:56 EDT

Ralph Gilmore, I'll have more info in a bit when I get to my copy of "Anvils in America," but I seem to remember these are good anvils. The book will tell when and where they were made.
   Alan-L - Wednesday, 09/15/04 08:23:18 EDT

West foundry company, Cleveland, Ohio. They were making anvils branded for other hardware companies by 1913, and were in business at least until after 1932. They used electric-melt vanadium steel, and by all accounts are a good anvil. The author of AIA, Mr. Postman, had not recorded any 200-lb Wests at the time of publication, only 100, 150, and 700 lb versions.
   Alan-L - Wednesday, 09/15/04 08:48:22 EDT

45 Degree Hardy Hole:

Sounds like another "feature" or an anvil that was made on a hungover Monday morning. Next month, look for short anvils with with a big "V" shaped notch in the heel, being sold on E-Bay! ;-)

Gotta run, much work to do.

Visit your National Parks (before some of them wash out to sea): www.nps.gov
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 09/15/04 09:28:13 EDT

Kenya: James, I am not sure on the dilution of the feric chlorid but the liquid you used was probably for etching electronic circuit boards. Many smiths use it at that concentration which I think is 5%. However, it is also available in a concentrated solution which must be diluted. Etching is one of those things that there are a large number of variables (material, time, temperature, concentration) and most people experiment with them all. One thing that IS important is to keep notes about what you do so you can repeat it.

I would recommend making a batch of concentrated solution, then diluting it as needed. Often to make the original solution you need to boil it to disolve the crystals. If you make a saturated solution, back off to at least 90% so that crystals do not form in the solution as cooling and evaporation occurs. I think commercial concentrated ferric chloride is about 30% solution.

In Wayne Goddard's Video on the Wire Damascus Knife he says he uses a 3:1 solution of water and ferric chloride. I suspect he starts from a concentrated (30%) solution diluting that. He then neutralizes in trisodiumphophate. The interesting thing he did was etch for a few minutes, then 10, then 5, cleaning the blade and inspecting the etch between each stage. He says that etching in steps produces different results than a long etch of the same duration.

I am not familiar with N690. Sounds like a European alloy designation. You will find that various parts of the world use different standards. The US, Europe, Japan and China each have different metal and alloy designations. We have heat treating instructions for various standard alloys in our heat treating FAQ.

When heat treating finely laminated steels the original alloys are no longer what they were. There will have been carbon migration and desarburization. You have also created something entirely new when you made the lamination. Select a method for the highest carbon steel and try it.

   - guru - Wednesday, 09/15/04 10:22:17 EDT

Alan, thanks for the answer on the anvil.

45 Degree Hardy Hole: Yeah, you would like to think this was just a goofy mistake but it is a serious error made on purpose. The reason for it is that the mold is split down the center of the anvil and there is a "core print" for the hardie hole. Carefully putting draft on the core print turned the right way so that it pulls out of the sand is tricky and takes some care. Doing it diagonaly requires no care at all. So what you have here is lazy patternmakers or foundrymen defining the design. The ugly Czech versions of the Austrian anvil suffers from the same problem on numerous features.

For centuries anvil designers and manufacturers that had some knowledge of blacksmithing, engineering properties and artistic design developed the familiar anvil shapes we use today as well as the graceful antiques we collect. Later designs were made from detailed engineering drawings. There was no hedging on the design by the folks that had to hand forge those shapes or makes the dies or patterns. Now we have a situation where the tail is waging the dog and people that have no business making design decisions doing so.

Many cheap anvils and ASO's are junk on more than one level. In the world of cast anvils ANY shape is possible and it costs almost nothing more to make a beautiful functional shape as it does an ugly non-functional one.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/15/04 10:59:57 EDT

I have a Troy Built Chipper and need new chipper "hammers",
pieces of steel 1.5"x3.0"x0.1875" with a hole at either end they are Heat Treated.
They are no longer available, I can have a friend make the part but what is a easy way to heat treat them? Or who would I go to, to have them heat treated?
   - Ms. Marsha - Wednesday, 09/15/04 11:45:59 EDT

I have a Troy Built Chipper and need new chipper "hammers",
pieces of steel 1.5"x3.0"x0.1875" with a hole at either end they are Heat Treated.
They are no longer available, I can have a friend make the part but what is a easy way to heat treat them? Or who would I go to, to have them heat treated?
   - Ms. Marsha - Wednesday, 09/15/04 11:46:33 EDT

EBay: See feedback for eugenebell. Notice that bakos 58 wants feedback immediatly after anvil recieved. This ties the feedback process up to any later complaints about his merchandise. Wonder how many of these buyers would like the chance to change their feedback.
   Kent - Wednesday, 09/15/04 12:14:39 EDT

Well, the worst winds of TS Jeanne have passed us, with only moderate damage. Of course, the power is still out and will be for several more hours at least, more in some places. Some really big rain bands still coming our way, probably bringing us another 6" of rain to go with the 5" we already got last night. NO reports of injuries or anything worse.

Just snatching a few minutes from work to get the generator running at home and grab a bite to eat, then back to the business of storm recovery. 12 on/12 off for a day two I suppose.

Another day in Paradise, the U.S. Virgin Islands. On the whole, it beats having snowstorms. (grin)
   vicopper - Wednesday, 09/15/04 12:31:08 EDT


I'd use new lawnmower blades to make them out of. The heavy commercial mower ones would be the right thickness, I think. If your friend has a way to cut/drill them without getting them too hot, they won't need any heat treating beyond what they come with.

Mower blades will be difficult to cut and drill unless annealed. A horizontal bandsaw with a bimetal blade will do it, if done carefully. A low-speed drill press, boron steel bit, ands lots of pressure will drill it.

Most commercial mower blades are still made of medium carbon steel, I believe. They are not fully hardened as this would make them fracture if they hit anything. Should be about right for a hammermill type shredder.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 09/15/04 12:36:50 EDT

Chipper Blades: Marsha, Today heat treated usualy means soft (to prevent shattering, for safety). Did you go directly to Troy Built? They used to be proud of supporting their machines going back to the 1930's. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/15/04 13:32:37 EDT

The West Steel Casting Company of Cleveland Ohio, did not make WESCO anvils, they made WEST anvils of vanadium steel. I spoke with Richard Postman yesterday, and he said they are probably cast in the 1930's, and was unsure of the steel used. If anyone has one or can give me further information I would appreciate it.
   Ralph Gilmore - Geologist - Wednesday, 09/15/04 13:41:30 EDT

Elliott, I have the same problem with Opera. I can post in here but not in the Hammer-In. Usually I just use IE for the Hammer-In, but if you're running Linux you may have a slight problem with that (grin).

Sunny and breezy in Aina Haina.
   T. Gold - Wednesday, 09/15/04 14:14:48 EDT

can anyone of you enlightened gurus tell me the intended purpose or use of the cats head hammer
   MIKE-T - Wednesday, 09/15/04 14:16:32 EDT

I cant post on the hammer in, either, have never been able to, with two different computers running the apple version of IE- so its not just opera, or firefox, or linux- I think the hammer in code wont accept anything but windows IE- another bill gates conspiracy.
   Ries - Wednesday, 09/15/04 14:44:25 EDT

I use Netscape and have never had a problem with posting in the Hammerin, unless the system breaks. If I remember correctly, that's only happened twice in the life of Anvilfire.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 09/15/04 15:16:41 EDT

T. Gold, I'm on Win98 here, but don't use IE because for some reason it gives me signifigant lags when browsing.

Cool and breezy in MN, but expecting a nicer weekend.
   Elliott Olson - Wednesday, 09/15/04 15:51:28 EDT

Guru- I will let you know when I have figured out how to
download from my camera. Then I"ll send some to you.

STAY SAFE- all you in the path of the big wind!!!
   Jeff H - Wednesday, 09/15/04 15:53:33 EDT

HAMMERIN vs GURUSDEN: Are you guys using the post button to the left or the one below the text input box?

Both pages work in IE 4.3 - 6.2 and Netscape 4.78
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/15/04 15:54:19 EDT

I have a BernzOmatic oxygen torch set, does anyone know if there's an adapter to use the larger welders oxygen tanks with this? I know there's adapters from POL to the small propane bottle fittings, but the BernzOmatic oxygen has a left hand thread.
   Elliott Olson - Wednesday, 09/15/04 16:00:14 EDT

Both locations work fine from Mozilla 1.4 running on linux (redhat).

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 09/15/04 16:07:39 EDT

PawPaw mentioned using the anvilfire photo page, but I don't see it (or missed it) on the homepage. Where is it?
   Elliott Olson - Wednesday, 09/15/04 16:08:09 EDT

I am attempting to rivet two scrolls together, and am faced with the following problem. Because the scrolls are fairly tight, and curve back over themselves, access is limited to the ends of the rivet. Any peining directly to the rivet heads has to be done with a very small hammer, and in the case of one scroll, would require the use of a punch if the head is to be accessed at all. Is there an easier way to do this? A special jig or tool that might accomplish this task more effectively?

Rob Miller
LionGate Arms & Armour
   Rob Miller - Wednesday, 09/15/04 16:26:49 EDT

Jock, I'm using Mozilla Firefox on WinXP and I can't post on the Hammer-in, either. That page looks different from this one, though. There is no POST button below the text input box. All the buttons are located immediately to the left of the input box, in the same frame. This page has the buttons all the way to the left of the page, outside the frame.

I'm going to post using the POST button to the left.

Oh yeah, FWIW, all the other buttons on the Hammerin page appear to work fine. Hitting POST doesn't do anything. And if I right-click and open in a new window, it just gets me a new window with the text input box.

Hope this makes sense.
   - MarcG - Wednesday, 09/15/04 16:28:04 EDT

Well, that worked fine. Now I'll try using the POST button below this text box.
   - MarcG - Wednesday, 09/15/04 16:28:59 EDT

Rob Miller,

You might consider using a snarling iron to set those rivets. A snarling iron is an L-shaped bar that has the short leg either clamped in the vise or the hardy hole of the anvil. The long leg is usually about 16 to 22" long and may have a slight upward protrusion at the distal end. The bar needs to be sustantial, say 3/4" square tapering to perhaps 1/2" by 3/4" at the end.

The way a snarling iron works is that you place the work to be struck at the far end of the iron and smack the iron sharply with a hammer aqbout 1/3 of the way from the bend to the end. The far end will then whip up sharply, striking the work. This allows you to reach into deep vessels, tight places and other spots where you can't swing a hammer. You still need to buck the rivet with something to work against, such as another piece of bar stock. You may be able to clamp a piece of scrap between the head and the scroll to work against, too.

You'll need to spot heat the rivet using an oxy-acetylene torch to get it soft enough to set easily with a snarling iron, and forming a nice head will take some practice and care. You might need to from a small "rivet set" depression on the end of the iron to get a smooth looking contour to the finished rivet.

The quick and dirty way is to arc or mig weld the pieces and then cover the weld with a collar.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 09/15/04 18:27:06 EDT

I never noticed the button below this text window, let me try that too...
   Elliott Olson - Wednesday, 09/15/04 18:32:32 EDT

Well, that worked. I'm viewing the source of the relevant frames to see if I can make sense of any differences (don't really know Java) between this and hammer-in.
   Elliott Olson - Wednesday, 09/15/04 18:39:27 EDT

Elliot Olson,
The AnvilFire Fotos page is located at Yahoo.com and can be accessed by clicking on the navigation bar at the top right of this page and scrolling to: User Gallery (Yahoo!).

   lazarus - Wednesday, 09/15/04 18:50:24 EDT

I have a question fo you guys. Im putting my shop in a 10'x 16' prefabricated wood building(already has a wood floor, and i will put down sheet metal in the forge area) and i'm not sure if the anvil on its 4 x 4 block stand will take a waltz around the floor? and if it will jump around, is there any way to keep it from doing so. Oh, my anvil is a 150# hay budden if it makes any difference. thanks
   Ian Wille - Wednesday, 09/15/04 18:59:54 EDT

bolt it down
   - ptpiddler - Wednesday, 09/15/04 19:01:47 EDT

so there is a good chance it will jump around my shop?
   Ian Wille - Wednesday, 09/15/04 19:04:50 EDT

Adam, I couldn't find any pictures there, there was no link to them.
   Elliott Olson - Wednesday, 09/15/04 19:31:46 EDT

I am using IE 5.2, and on the hammer in page I only get one post button- the brown one on the left. When I push it, nothing changes.
On the guru page, the button below the text input box works- I am checking now if the brown one on the left works.
   Ries - Wednesday, 09/15/04 19:56:19 EDT

Yep, both buttons on gurus den page work. But the exact same browser wont work, no way, no how, with the hammer in page, or any of the members only forum pages- same thing happens- nada.
   Ries - Wednesday, 09/15/04 19:58:44 EDT

In local hardware stores I've seen $5-10 cross pein hammers made in Mexico. I noticed that the face has concentric circles. I feel that it should be smooth. Any comments on these (hardness, smoothness, etc)?
   Elliott Olson - Wednesday, 09/15/04 20:11:21 EDT

Tight Scrolls: Bob, Sometimes you have to consider whether or not your design is a good one from an assembly and manufacturing point of view. If something looks good on paper but it has severe manufacturing problems then looking good is pointless. Occasionaly things are made that LOOK impossible to do but there is some trick to it (usualy just hard work), but the point is that YOU figure it out before selling the idea. The magic is the important part of the trick.

VIcopper's suggestion may work, I have often had to make tools that would squeeze into tight spots for riveting. A slim support piece attached to a heavy plate or bench is common. You can also use a torch and tools such as VIc described with a Clamp to upset the rivet. You would be surprised how easily a rivet squeezes compared to hammering.

A lot of riveting is done with the end of a long flat ended punch in tight places.

The other way to go since you are going to need to use a torch anyway is to leave the center sections of the scrolls unscrolled (straight) and rivet the parts together, THEN heat and complete the scrolls.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/15/04 20:25:33 EDT

Ralph Gilmore: Oops! I sit corrected. Good on you for calling Mr. Postman!
   Alan-L - Wednesday, 09/15/04 20:37:51 EDT

Ian: My 143 lb. anvil will slowly drift across the floor if I'm using the 10 lb sledge on it, but otherwise I haven't noticed much. Bolting it down will help. I plan on doing that to mine one of these days.

Elliot: Large oxygen tanks are left hand thread too. Get a real torch. You will be much happier. Been there, done that, now I only use the bernzo for the tiny spot-heats it was meant to do on jewelry-sized stuff.
   Alan-L - Wednesday, 09/15/04 20:42:42 EDT

Greetin's Everone!

I'm on a search for details, diagrams, sketches, etc of BlackSmith's wagons. the types that would have been used by civil and revolutionery war blacksmith articifers. Even more current than civil war would also be nice.

I live in a part of Oklahoma where blacksmithing is still a respected art and trade. But just not enough emphasis on good quality tools anymore when junk can be bought at WalMart for 1/10th the cost. SO, I am looking at gettign involved more with some of the various living hisotry and re-enactment groups.

I also have an interest in similar wagons that might have been used in the rennaiscance era in England and France.

Thanks for ALL of your advice and tips on this search!

   zylogue - Wednesday, 09/15/04 22:00:45 EDT

Rivets: Russ Swider used to employ air chisels extensively to rivet in weird spots. Primarily not the small auto body chisels but the big chipping hammer style. You can offset a long bit to get to the rivet after milling a depression in the end with a ball mill cutter.
   HWooldridg - Wednesday, 09/15/04 22:07:27 EDT


Contact me email, I've got a fair amount of information, sources, diagrams, etc. that I'll be happy to share with you.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 09/15/04 22:11:50 EDT

Side Blast Forges: I am restoring a shop for a historical society that wants it period correct for the time from about 1850 to WWI. The sponsors want it to look "old-timey" but be fully functional, which I appreciate a great deal. There is already a small belt driven rivet forge that I fixed a couple of weeks ago but there is no primary "battle" forge. I have been toying with the idea of installing a side blast tuyere and was wondering if anyone here has experience with them and/or has plans for a good design. This will be used with a good Champion 400 hand blower so I'll have plenty of blast. Thanks, Hollis
   HWooldridg - Wednesday, 09/15/04 22:20:51 EDT


THE BLACKSMITH Ironworker & Farrier by Aldren A. Watson. ISBN 0-393-32057-X . Chapter 10 is the chapter you want. I got my copy from Barnes and Nobel for less than $20. Chapter 11 has a complete set of plans for a double chambered great bellows, which would also be time frame appropriate. Bellows were used into the mid 20th Century in many places.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 09/15/04 22:37:59 EDT

Mexico 5-10 dollar hammers, The concentric rings are actually a spiral. Its results of using a lathe to finish the face of the hammer. I have of these several hammers and simply file off the rings. The hammer faces are not all that hard.
   - Sven - Wednesday, 09/15/04 22:44:33 EDT

Cats paw hammer:-) Which type? There are atleast two different types of hammers that were called that. Both of them were generally farrier's hammers and had protrusion off of the sides of the eye of the hammer, that in theory could be used to "pull clip" There was the smooth organic looking one that did resemble a cats head, then the other version was more angular if I remember correctly (Sorry working on horses out of state and don't have the copy of "Blacksmith and Farrier Tools at the Shelbourne Falls Museum" Which show some examples, and describes there uses.

Alan-L :-( That's anvil abuse;-) Using a 10# sledge on that poor defenceless little anvil. Don't you know about the 40-1 ratio. You should be using your 400# anvil:-)

Ian and bolting down anvils. I would not bolt the anvil down. You want to be able to adjust your work triangle and your work patterns to fit the type of work you are doing. For blade work you might want you anvil right next to your forge, and work in a very tight triangle. But if you want to do shepards crooks, or tripods, you need to be able to move your tools so that you can swing things around properly. Masonry forges, power hammers, and atleast one of your vices should be securely afixed to the floor;-) the rest of the stuff can be set up so that it can be moved to suit the work you are doing. That is why a portable gas forge is such a blessing:-)
   Fionnbharr - Wednesday, 09/15/04 22:46:44 EDT

Thanks for the input about the warped boat plating. I appreciate any further recomendations for reshaping or sources for info.,
   Robert - Wednesday, 09/15/04 22:59:50 EDT

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