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

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

This is an archive of posts from September 22 to 30, 2005 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

JLW-- No problem. In fact, ¡Gracias! I appreciate all the emboldening encouragement. After a lifetime of razor-sharp 20/15, though, it's tough to consider some knife artist going into those pretty blue peepers with itsy-bitsy pieces of plastic. Plastic! UGH!
   Miles Undercut - Thursday, 09/22/05 00:19:49 EDT

Surplus Center in Nebraska maybe the surplus dealer you thinking of. (they have a web store, Offhand I dont know the adress)
They have a huge variety of stuff interesting to the creative people like alot of us Smiths.

There is dozens of ways to control the fanspeed/airvolume.
I used to have a sewing machine footpedal connected to a fan on my smallforge. (If you do this be sure your motor can be speed controlled this way and that the motor is within the max capacity of the footpedal)
It worked great but it needed skill to be able to hit the right speed for the task and hold it while doing the other stuff at the forge. Eventually I just put a stop block in the pedal at a speed I liked and just used it as an on-off pedal.
Another option is to use lighting dimmer switches. (Again, be sure your motor can be speed controlled this way)
Multiple dimmers can even be wired up giving adjustable different airblast rates, Then the foot switch can select between the dimmers, Maybe useful if using processed coke where the air needs to be on all the time at low volume just to keep it lit, then press the footswitch bypassing the 'low' dimmer for the higher airflow.
Lots of fun,,,

   - Sven - Thursday, 09/22/05 01:39:05 EDT

Dave Boyer; I'm a "Big C" survivor meself. The definition of "circling the bowl" may be observed whilst holding down the flush handle. I recall a phrase I heard in the '60's which said, " Life is just what you're doin' while you're waitin' to die." I've always liked that one, but I can't remember who gets the credit for it.
   3dogs - Thursday, 09/22/05 01:47:41 EDT

on glass / barrel 1/2 empty versis 1/2 full debate, from an engineering point of view i think its pretty obviuos the vessel is double the volume it needs to be!
   - john n - Thursday, 09/22/05 05:44:49 EDT

i have a 200 pound fisher anvil and located in granby ct
does anyone want to buy it for a 100 us dollars thanks
brad 860-653-7073
   bradford mcdougall - Thursday, 09/22/05 08:35:51 EDT

Off to SOFA! Finally.. . See ya'll there!
   - guru - Thursday, 09/22/05 09:15:19 EDT

"Circling". A blacksmith friend has this sign up near his bathroom mirror. "This life is not a dress rehearsal".
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 09/22/05 14:22:01 EDT

The Big "C" : I have been dealing with this for a little over a year & a half, so I guess that makes Me a beginner, I will find out more when I get the results of next weeks CT scan. Thanks for the support.
   Dave Boyer - Thursday, 09/22/05 20:25:40 EDT

Bradford McDougall : What condition is it in?
   Dave Boyer - Thursday, 09/22/05 21:37:02 EDT

Sven: thanks, I will try surplus center. I have not been sucessful with the dimmers, I can control air vol with a plastic coffee can lid that I pivot over the intake, I think that I want a momentary on switch, like a pushbutton or something that turns off when I let go of it so I dont just keep burning up my coal.
   JLW - Thursday, 09/22/05 22:21:54 EDT

JLW-- Home Depot has, or at least recently had, an extension cord with a big red push-button switch in the middle that I use as a step-on control for a buffer. I may still have mfr.'s tag somewhere.
   Miles Undercut - Friday, 09/23/05 00:01:59 EDT

Dave B,
Good luck with it. I suppose I am beyond the norm in my case. Had the 1st melanoma in 2001. NOw it is in the brain. SO according to the stats 3 months to 3 years seems to be the number. So I am ahead of the curve right now. Of course the brain issue only showed up a few months ago. Time will tell.
I get to have another MRI tomorrow to see if anything has changed. Hoping that there is no growth but we shall see.
   Ralph - Friday, 09/23/05 01:05:22 EDT

Ralph, My thoughts will be with you.
   3dogs - Friday, 09/23/05 02:28:54 EDT

Interesting site
   - tomg - Friday, 09/23/05 08:14:10 EDT

Switch for blower on coal forge.

I have a micro-switch (you could use a switch that does not latch) mounted in an electrical box at the back of the forge. I have a pedal that is counterbalanced that presses on the switch when you step off the pedal. There is also a bypass switch that is mounted by the air adjustment lever to keep the blast going if you want to step away from the forge. Using the pedal is automatic. When you are by the forge, step on the pedal and you get blast, step away and the blast stops. Simple really.
   Wayne P - Friday, 09/23/05 11:23:27 EDT

JLW-- no luck so far on ordering info for the Home Depot foot switch. Housing says mfr. is in China, natch. UL tag says it's 125 volts, 13 amps.
   Miles Undercut - Friday, 09/23/05 18:37:06 EDT

Ralph : I wish You the best with regards to Your test. Are You on anti-angiogenic therapy? I don't know if it is aplicable in Your case. My problem started as colo/rectal cancer, a lower re-section last summer went well, colon is OK, but the cancer has formed a snall tumor in My liver. That is operable, but there is a large number of tiny suspicious things in My lungs that have not been positively identified, needle biopsy was inconclusive. The plan is to see if they respond to chemotherapy, if they dont, maybee they aren't cancer, they don't want to do any surgery on My liver if the lungs are cancerous.
   Dave Boyer - Friday, 09/23/05 21:29:09 EDT

have not clue as to what anti-angiogenic is. Once I start chemo I will be taking a drug called Temodar. 7 days a week for 3 weeks with one week off. for 6 months to a year.
I sure hope that the lungs are clear. and really hope that nothing spreads.

Miles; re foot switch, why not get a sewing machine foot switch as an on off switch and a rheostat ( dimmer switch) that you preadjust. Foot off switch power goes off. it is one of the mods I was thinking of before I got my hand crank blower.
   Ralph - Friday, 09/23/05 22:06:54 EDT

Ralph: They are a class of drugs given with Chemo that inhibit the growth of bloodvessles to feed the tumor. Seems that the tumor sends out "feelers" and the bloodvessles grow towards the tumor. I am using one that is usefull in colon cancers [even if they aren't in the colon]. I guess You will have a port and wear a pump? I go in for chemo every other Tuesday and come home wearing a pump, 46 hours later the visiting nurse comes and unhooks it. I had the 24/7 infusion for 6 weeks before surgery, not being able to take a "real" bath/shower is a bitch.
   Dave Boyer - Friday, 09/23/05 23:35:28 EDT

Ralph-- I just happened upon the Home Depot step-on switch and it does the job. So far, anyway. I suspect all these imported electrical things not only emit harmful radiation, contain toxins oozing out into our pores every time we touch them but also are programmed to fail at the same time some day, plunging us into even more than usual chaos. The buffer does not need to run at infinitely variable speeds. It's got two pulleys, and I switch them as needed.
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 09/24/05 00:10:59 EDT

I am fortunate. I will be getting my chemo in a capsule form.
Understand about the bath/shower thing. I did 4 weeks of IV interferon about a year ago. plus on top of that I was still recovering form Radiation to the armpit and also surgery to remove the lymphe nodes same area. But it is all do-able. Just have to want to bad enough.
Good luck man. Like I said you are added to my prayer list.
   Ralph - Saturday, 09/24/05 03:25:12 EDT

Hello I have a model 1840 sword made by ames. The stampings are there but only visable with a magnifier. Is there a way to make the stampings clearer with out damageing the sword? I have never cleaned metal with anything but Navel Jelly. I am a Collector not a Metalsmith, Should I have a Prfessional do the work?
   Walt Jerrell - Saturday, 09/24/05 12:03:19 EDT

how exactly do you re-face an anvil i got a really old one from my grand-ma and it needs re-facing
   Rory - Saturday, 09/24/05 13:40:23 EDT

Rory-- Leave your anvil alone. It earned its scars. Practically speaking, resurfacing it is infeasible. Attempting to do it will probably just ruin it for using and will certainly destroy its antique value.
Walt-- Leave your sword alone. The rust is evidence of its age. Removing it may diminish its antique value severely. DO NOT USE NAVAL JELLY on it or any other precious item. It eats ugly declivities into the surface. Take the blade to an experienced conservator if it's really awful.
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 09/24/05 15:57:24 EDT

I'm looking to buy a bigger anvil. I have Euroanvils in mind. Can anybody that has one or has ever used one tell me how they like it. Ptree, if my memory is correct, you have one don't you? I was wondering mostly about how the rebound, ring, and durability is because of it's heat treatment. Only the top 1/3 of it is heat treated. Thanks for input.
   - Tyler Murch - Saturday, 09/24/05 17:33:51 EDT

I have a Forged anvil looks quite old with Sweden writen on the side below is writen 100. If anyone can tell me what make and from what time period is it from would be great. Thx
   Nick - Saturday, 09/24/05 20:16:02 EDT

First, thanks for all you offer on this website. I love it.
I'm an HVAC consulting engineer with a growing interest in hobby metalwork. I'll probably begin practicing after I've studied for a ludicrously long time (my habit).

My current topic of study is hardness. I can't seem to find a direct explaination of how to measure hardness on any given scale - as opposed to looking on a table for the expected hardness of a given alloy after a certain treatment. Is there a common, low-cost way to measure this in a home shop, or do we rely on tables and hope we did it right?

Thanks in advance.
   Kyle Kisebach - Saturday, 09/24/05 23:42:41 EDT

Kyle K : A common test is weather a sharp file will bite in or slide over the surface, but it is really only good around the upper 50's RC.
   Dave Boyer - Saturday, 09/24/05 23:52:49 EDT

Hey, a friend of mine, says taht his uncle has an anvil on his land and its about 2 or 3 feet tall, about 2 and a half feet long, and almost a foot wide, how much do you think that would weigh, and what big companies would have made one this size, it is supposedly not cast iron, and is in very good shape, although a little rusty, thanks
   Troll - Sunday, 09/25/05 00:21:47 EDT

Little Giant Website.
   BobbyN - Sunday, 09/25/05 09:18:34 EDT

Kyle Kisebach: A Rockwell tester will press a small thing (what the thing is depends on the scale, "C" scale uses an upsidedown pyramid shape) into the steel until it makes a divot, that will tell you exact hardness within half a point or so, but it is an expensive machine. There are special sets of hardness testing files where each one in the set is 5Rc lower then the one before it, with those you can make a decient estimate of hardness +/- 5Rc, if I remember right you can get a set for a little over $100 new.
   AwP - Sunday, 09/25/05 09:19:24 EDT


Find the anvil, measure and photograph it. Post the data here.

I've tracked down a lot of "HUGE" anvils that turned out to be quite ordinary. Our memory plays tricks on us. It is not usually any attempt to decieve.
   - John Odom - Sunday, 09/25/05 10:24:59 EDT

Guru, I have a knife blade that looks forged but is odd looking. It looks like it is rust pitted but the pitted areas are all over the blade and look like they are forged into the blade. I have put a nice handle on this blade and want to sell it on ebay. I would like to be able to describe the blade accuratly, could you give me some idea of the technique used to make this blade. Thanks. Jerry Glass
   Jerry - Sunday, 09/25/05 10:50:26 EDT

Jerry: Are they little black pits surrounded by regular shiny steel? If so then it's probably the hammer marks and forge scale mostly ground off with just a little left behind when they stopped grinding. I get this on some of my blades, either ones I want to look old timey, or ones where I don't want to grind it too thin if I forged it very close to shape. I'd probably describe it for ebay as "Some forge marks left in".
   AwP - Sunday, 09/25/05 11:15:17 EDT

Hammer marks: I find it interesting that some smiths choose to leave the marks prominently displayed on their work to emphasize that it is hand forged. Other smiths go to great lengths to reduce or remove hammer marks. Clearly theses are both accpetable methods but how do we decide which is appropriate in any given situation?
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 09/25/05 13:29:54 EDT

hammer marks: unless its a tool or has some special surface requirements, hammer marks are an aesthetic issue. You get to decide what looks good. I like hammer marks when they show the blows that formed the piece
   adam - Sunday, 09/25/05 13:59:41 EDT

Last week in Pigeon Forge, TN, I went into one of a million craft and gift shops. They had some hand forged items made by a local smith. Some of his items were extremely well made while others were rather crude. I wonder if he had some un-skilled help? I like hammer marks that are applied decoratively and with some skill. Flat facets on the ends of simple S-hooks look crude to me. It is too simple to use a light hammer to smooth the taper before you turn the ends.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 09/25/05 14:40:46 EDT

Finely finished items vs. crude items : I have done both. I have spent much time on many items making them look very fine... oddly enough one of my best selling items is a candle holder I began making when I started out smithing. It is crude , simple and has marks that show the hammer blows.....people seem to love em. In talking with people it seems the general consensus is that most folks shopping for "hand forged iron" seem to like the look that shows the work was done by hand.
Whatever sells best is what you need to make to stay in the game.
Just my 2 cents
   Harley - Sunday, 09/25/05 16:25:23 EDT

Does anyone have any first hand experience in creating bamboo stalks from copper tube? I am working with 1" type L standard copper water pipe. I have tried using two pieces of 1" solid (mandrels)w/ set screw collars at each end. I applied a localized heat then drove the ends of the mandrels together. The result was not quite what I wanted but it is a starting point. I'm shooting for a full upset that can be woked down to a secional knuckle bump to simulate the natural effect!
   Steve erickson - Sunday, 09/25/05 16:35:34 EDT

Tyler Murch,
Sorry, but I do not have a Euroanvil.
   ptree - Sunday, 09/25/05 17:05:35 EDT

Steve erickson,
I watched Jeff G demo bamboo in steel Saturday at Quad state. He made it look very easy. I suspect he will respond to you question when he gets home from Quad State.
   ptree - Sunday, 09/25/05 17:07:37 EDT

I am making a set of skis for a snow sled out of high density plastic. I would like to insert 2 steel blades in each ski to bite into the occasional ice that will be encountered. I envision these blades to be about 3" long, 3\4" h and 3/16"(ish) thick. These blades will be replaced when they wear or possiblly flipped over.

I can buy off the shelf carbide blades used in wood planing equipment but would need to drill a hole in it to attach to ski. Are these suitable for my purpose? Can a hole be drilled and if so what special drill bit will I require?

I only need 8 blades for prototypes but will need several hundred if I go into a small production run. If I were to buy a bar of stock to cut shapes out of (and drill) and send out to be hardened what specs of the steel should I use? Is there a way to set up cost effective hardening unit for this application?

Thanks for the help and feel free to add any pointers or heads up on pitfalls.

   Rob Campbell - Sunday, 09/25/05 20:50:27 EDT

My wife recently purchased a SEARS 50 AMP A.C. ARC HOBBY WELDER (Mod. #93420175) at a yard sale with my handiman work in mind. It didn't come with a manual and I haven't been able to locate one yet. I grew up on a farm with a typical Lincoln arc welder. But this hobby welder is not something I am very familiar with. It has no ground on it and has only a clamp with elongated handles. It is a combination arc welder/carbon arc torch. Can you tell me how I might be able to find a manual or how it would be operated? I would hate to try to use it and have something blow up on me or damage the unit.
   Ken - Sunday, 09/25/05 22:39:48 EDT

Rob- I don't think carbide is very drillable at all, maybe an EDM machine. Carbide is brittle and would x-plode when you hit rocks. I would use 4140 steel and not heat treat it at all. Folks would be able to touch up the edges with a file if it's not hardened.
   mike-hr - Sunday, 09/25/05 23:21:18 EDT

Ken: The carbon torch works by touching the carbons together and then moving them apart slightly. This makes a super hot blob of arc plasma between and a little in front of the carbons. Wear a #10 filter in the same type welding mask You used with the Lincoln. You can weld, braze,& heat for bending with this rig, but it doesn't give as much controll as You would have with a torch. 5/16" carbons would probably work best. As an arc welder it probably won't work well, but if You try use 3/32" or smaller electrodes.
   Dave Boyer - Sunday, 09/25/05 23:53:54 EDT

Kyle Kisebach:

Kinda depends on what YOU call "low-cost". The usual bench machines are $3,000.00-$7,000.00. J&L Industrial (jlindustrial.com) carries one that I have and find quite acurate. It has an indenter like an automatic center punch, a dirct-reading hand held microscope and a test block of known hardness. sells for about $600.00.
   - grant - Monday, 09/26/05 00:37:23 EDT

Thanks for the info, Dave. I appreciate the info.
   Ken - Monday, 09/26/05 01:24:56 EDT

I have a question regarding thermal dynamics in a recently contructed gas forge. I am experiencing some promblems when the forge gets up to a high temperature (working temp) It is a 3 burner forge approximately 50 inches long and 12 x 12 inches square. the burners are 1 1/2 sch. 40 ss pipe. I think my burners are overheating and the air/fuel mixture is igniting inside the burner when the forge get up to temperture. The forge is line with refractory brick and kao wool but my burners extend about 1 inch from the top through the kao wool. I think my burners should be recessed more( about 1 inch into the kao wool? this would make it flush with the outer wall of the forge and reduce it from overheating? Any comments or suggest would be appreciated. Thanks.
   Plato - Monday, 09/26/05 08:01:31 EDT

Bradford McDougall. You might consider listing the Fisher anvil on eBay with a starting price of say $125 with local pick up only and let the market price it out. Nice feature about a Fisher (or Vulcan) is they don't ring so can be used even with fairly close neighbors.

Rory: Can you read the logo? Always the possibility you have one of the very rare brands, in which case doing any work to it would likely decrease its value. Even a fairly heavily worn anvil can be used by leaning to work around the damage. If it is really beat up, you might consider keeping it as a family heirloom (with its history documented to the extent possible) rather than a user.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 09/26/05 08:12:51 EDT

Rob Campbell,
Re: snow ski blades. As these blades will tend to get both shock and wear, I would look to the impact hardening alloys used in earh moving equipment. These alloys are very tough but constantly impact harden the surface as the surface is scoured away. I believe that these alloys are available in weld rods for resurfacing, and that my be the easy way to get the prototypes. Make undersized blades from mild steel and the weld up and grind.
another possibility is MR type wear plate. Manganese is added to the alloy to greatly improve abrasive wear. This alloy should be pretty easy to obtain. Mn in the higher percentages in impact hardening.
Good luck
   ptree - Monday, 09/26/05 08:39:56 EDT

I am searching for a 24" springsteel ruler that folds in the middle. I lost mine and have been unable to replace it =( any ideas?
   ben h - Monday, 09/26/05 08:41:35 EDT

Gas Forge: I suspect that the flame for your 1 1/2 " burners (yikes!) is too long to form properly in the 12" chamber. The resulting back pressure from the opposing wall is enough, at low settings, to stall the flame and let the burn front run up the tube. At low settings try running on just one burner so you can run it faster. Also you might consider making one burner undersized , say 1", and run just that burner at lower settings.
   adam - Monday, 09/26/05 10:37:52 EDT

PS you can improve things a bit by retracting the burners (make sure you dont pump gas/air mix into the lining) but if the air flow in the burner tube is too slow its just a matter of time before it climbs up the tube.
   adam - Monday, 09/26/05 10:39:41 EDT

What do you guys think about heating the tines on a roto tiller to striaghten them. My mantis hit a tree root and bent some tines. Trying to straighten them cold broke one off.
   JLW - Monday, 09/26/05 11:46:51 EDT

Thanks, Ben/Adam Just to add some more info, I have lots of air/gas flow and all 3 burners have gas and air regulating valves, there dosen't seem to be any problem having a good flame on the burner nozzles and the forge works quite well for about the first 1/2 hour. My smaller gas forge was my model for the larger one and there is never a problem with stalling or over heating of the burner. This forge is designed to run on 1-2 or 3 burners and I know retracting the burner will help but I think something else is happening when it reaches extreme temperatures? I'm not sure but could it be the propane is superheated or maybe the air is superheated too quickly as it enters the forge. So much for scalablility!
   Plato - Monday, 09/26/05 12:20:51 EDT

Just to add one more possibility with the gas forge problem. Could I be producing too much carbon monoxide gases and choking out my burners?
   Plato - Monday, 09/26/05 12:29:41 EDT

Plato: I had a similar problem and I solved it by moving the burner back a little so no metal protruded beyond the refractory, AND insulatind the burner barrel from the extension, AND putting a concentric-ring flame holder in the barrel extension. The last Item seemed to do the most.
   - John Odom - Monday, 09/26/05 12:51:57 EDT

ken with the sears welder: i had one like it as a kid. it does have a ground clamp. one of the handles comes off, what is left is the ground. you should notice "jaws". the off handle opposite the cable has a hole with a thumb screw, for the welding rod or the carbon rod. with the unit put together, it is in the carbon arc torch mode; you dont need a ground clamp. the carbon rods are angled so they touch at the tip, which is how you strike the arc. since the current is not adjustable, welding options are somwhat limited, but with the correct electrode and application, it should work fine...
   - rugg - Monday, 09/26/05 13:02:38 EDT

Is there a good market for genuine wrought iron material? I have an old and large train tressel that is actual wrought iron I was thinking of selling off. I did an metaluragical analysis on it when I was getting my engineering degree and it is all wrought material. Its about 200 ft long and I am sure several hundred tons built about 1870. any input would be appreciated.
   Mark - Monday, 09/26/05 13:07:22 EDT

Forge Problems: Plato, I think you have some very general design problems. First, naturaly aspirated gas burners must be carefully proportioned for the volume of the forge. Even though you have a very large forge the burners sound much too big. There is also the problem of flash back in burners. This is caused by the fuel air mixture moving slower than the flame front velocity. If the flame burns through the mixture faster than the mixture's velocity in the tube then the fire runs up the pipe. Overheated burner parts will agrevate this problem (no metal should extend more than 1/2 way through the lining and less than 1/4 is better. If you look at forges like the NC-TOOL forge they use the same size burners and just increase the number for the increase in volume. .

Some things do not scale up directly. The cross sectional area of a tube that is 2x diamerter is 4x in area. To double the size you increase the diameter by the square root of two. Volumes such as that of the interior of the forge increase by the cube of the increase in size. While scaling up that flamme front velocity must be kept in mind. Burner length is also critical as the fuel-air must have time to mix. There are very good engineering reasons that burner design information includes LOTS of charts and graphs.

You also do not mention what size cylinder you are supplying these huge burners with. They will need a 200 to 300 pound cylinder to prevent freezing of the fuel. With a drop off in fuel pressure that injection velocity drops off and the mixture changes causing back firinging in the burners.

CO is only a problem if the venting of the forge feeds directly into the burner intake OR you work space is very small. Ocassionaly rising exhust is sucked into the burners. If this is the case you need some type of sheet metal shield to prevent this from happening. If you have enough CO to choke the burner you would be dead or very ill by now. . . Note that a large gas forge needs a LOT of fresh air.
   - guru - Monday, 09/26/05 13:24:11 EDT

Wrought Scrap: Mark, Wrought scrap has been slowly selling for a number of years for a $1/pound to blacksmiths. However, is is slow selling and what is wanted is small sections (squares, rounds and such). The flat tension bars are good material but require a lot of rework by the smith. The structurals are a problem due to the high labor costs dismantling them for reuse.

The folks that would pay for large quantities of wrought are architectural smiths who would need it in common sections such as 1-1/4", 1", 3/4" and 5/8" square as well as similar rounds.

In England the Real Wrought Iron Company buys WI scrap and reworks it by forge welding the wrought into a billet then running it through a rolling mill into a variety of useful sections. This is an expensive operation and I have no idea what they pay for scrap.

Currently in the US there is about 20 tons of pure iron and nearly pure iron. It is not selling. The problem? It is in 1/4" rounds, 1/4" plate and 1/4" strips. . . ALL of it.
   - guru - Monday, 09/26/05 13:40:03 EDT

Tiller tines: JLW, If you heat the times the will soften enough to bend but then will no longer be heat treated and be either too soft and bend too easily under use OR be too hard and break under use. So. except for a temporary fix you need to order a whole new set.

To straighten heat the bent area with an oxy-acetylene torch (a common propane torch will not be big enough) until a nice red (not orange or yellow), then straighten (in a vise or with hammer) and let cool slowly.

Heat treating includes heating uniformly, quenching in the proper quenchant to harden then reheating to something less than 600°F to reduce the brittleness. There are too many unknowns (such as the type of steel) to do this right without a LOT of trial and error. So you are best off to just heat, bend and let cool in air then use. It WILL NOT be like new but work for a while.
   - guru - Monday, 09/26/05 14:08:19 EDT

Thanks Guru/John, I think it is a combination of problems, moving back the burner is the first thing to adjust, you right about the fuel freezing, I am using only my 30 pound tank from my small forge and it's freezing up on the outside of the tank, and you are right about the burner back firinging because of a result of this, as for the burners they 1 1/2 inch sch. 40 pipe with 3/4 inch sch. 40 welded about 3 inches long inside with 3, 1/4 inch round bar around the 3/4 inch pipe. The forge works well with good even heat just have these bugs to work out. If I decide to reduce the burner size what do you recommend?
Thanks, Plato
   Plato - Monday, 09/26/05 14:27:30 EDT

Forged Anvil: Nick, All the Swedish anvils that have been imported were cast steel. If the 100 is the weight (weigh it) then it was designed for the US market and is most probably an import. Most of the domestic anvils were marked in kilograms (45 = 100 pounds).

However, there is always a possibility that the anvil was brought over and may be forged as some of the older Swedish anvils were forged.
   - guru - Monday, 09/26/05 14:36:18 EDT

Back From SOFA: It was not quite as busy this year as the last few. I suspect the shock of gas prices had something to do with it.

There were lots of things to do and see as usual. Will report in the NEWS.

Got to see Thomas and VIcopper both of whom had traveled very long distances to attend. The team with our Ken Scharabok won the forging contest. Others we know entered including Patrick Nowak and his wife and Steve Barringer from the Power Hammer school. The competition was to tie as many different knots as possible in two bars of steel then tie them together. You also needed to be able to identify your own knots. . .
   - guru - Monday, 09/26/05 14:47:54 EDT

Plato's Forge: I am not sure what configuration of burner you are building. This sounds like a "flame holder" type which is a really bad design. Any time a flame holder is needed there is something grossly wrong with the burner. Usualy it is the gas velocity.

In a proper gas burner you have a long tube that can be 3/8" to 1" pipe with a precision gas injector (most are now using a MIG tip with great success). Reducer bell funnels are optional. The length of the tube (6 to 12") is for fuel mixing. At the flame end you can have a flare OR have the pipe end in the refractory. You WANT the pipe to end with a square end so that there is turbulance at the step between the OD and ID. This is more important than a flare. This turbulance is the "flame holder" and the change in diameter is where the mixture slows and burns just beyond the end of the tube.

Small forges use 3/8" and 1/2" pipe. Medium size blacksmith forgs use 3/4" pipe 9" long with 1-1/4" reducers. See our Gas Forge FAQ and links.
   - guru - Monday, 09/26/05 15:06:25 EDT

Too lazy to go to the archives to look, but a couple of weeks ago someone was looking for a diagonal peen forging hammer. One of the vendors/sellers at Quad-State was Jackpine Forge He makes them, as well as other handled tools. Very nice quality and priced accordingly.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 09/26/05 15:56:46 EDT

Thanks Guru, I am using the .035" mig tip as my gas ejector and my run to the burner is about 12 inches or greater. I have decided to make 1 inch pipe burner nozzles with a 1/2 inch pipe insert. Everything that you have mentioned is incorporated in my design somewhat just needs some fine tuning. I just haven't given enough detail in all the parameters. Thanks again. Plato Hopefully this will solve most of the problems but if anyone has any advice still it is apprecitated.
   Plato - Monday, 09/26/05 16:22:39 EDT

Hammer marks: Jerry emailed me a pic of his knife, it's not exactly what I had imagined when I heard the description. Here's a link to it http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v236/AwP_pics/forge_leather_handle.jpg
I told him that I thought that it was probably cleaned up well after forging, but after HT there wasn't much of any clean up at all and that those are where flakes of scale had come off. Anyone else have any opinions on it?
   AwP - Monday, 09/26/05 17:26:50 EDT

Jerry's Odd Blade: I would say it is something along what Awp summized above. It looks like a screwed up second or reject. Those are not hammer marks but some kind of scale/welding flakes or corrosion on the blade. It could also be some kind of shop made steel experiment that failed.

As a tool it may have value if the heat treat is good but not as a hand made piece of work. It appears to have someone's touchmark on it but the photo is too low of resolution to see it. . . The maker is the one to ask.

This all looks a little fishy to me.
   - guru - Monday, 09/26/05 18:14:25 EDT

AwP and knife:

The scale looks like it developed during the heat treat of the blade. I don't really see any forging marks, only scale, and a definite ground profile.
   - Tom T - Monday, 09/26/05 18:27:49 EDT

Blade-- I fished a leathern-handled hunting knife that somebody lost in the shallows of Hempstead Harbor in Long Island Sound once years ago, and the blade looked something like this, and my game warden son has found orphaned knives out in the woods that are somewhat similar, too, but none of these was quite as crisp as this one. They all looked more like steel looks after it's been Naval Jellied. This looks like firescale to me.
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 09/26/05 23:16:43 EDT

Nathan Robertson Jackpine Forge, Max, MN. Phone 218-659-4590.

Another recommendation, Nathan does a number of different hammers, I bought a straight pein from him the week before QS at our conference in minnesota. Fantastic.
   Escher - Tuesday, 09/27/05 09:07:06 EDT

On the hammer maker---he was also selling the japanese/cutlers' hammers that folkis keep asking about.

The number of used triphammers for sale was down this year---only about 6 on site but I noticed a number of signs up advertising ones they wanted to sell but not to haul out to Q-S

I still managed to spend more time at the tailgating than any other activity at Quad-State---inbcluding sleep. TSA was *not* amused with my two duffles; one with 50# of good coal and the other with the hot cut, rod shear, L6, hammer heads and two metal discs that will work up into bucklers---I had to keep transfering dirty clothes into my carry on till I could get the duffles right at 50#...

But all arrived safe; now to figure out how to get one of those missile nosecones shipped cheap down here---or see if the boneyard have any "used" ones for sale...

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 09/27/05 11:35:08 EDT

This post is a bit late, but allelectronics.com (1-888-826-5432) has 115 VAC fan motor with speed control for $4.00 plus shipping. I think they charge $6.00 s/h per order (not item). Part number is: CAT# ACM-11. The following is copied from the online catalog:
Lasko . 115 Vac 3-speed, shaded-pole fan motor. Requires moving air for continuous duty. Internal non-resettable thermal breaker. 3/8" diameter x 1" long flatted shaft. Motor is 3.77" diameter x 2.3" with an integral 5" diameter mounting base. 3.5 uF, 250 Vac capacitor mounted on base. 1750 RPM, no-load speed. Includes 4-position rotary switch and 6' white 2-conductor power cord.
   - Ironspider - Tuesday, 09/27/05 12:23:12 EDT

JLW, aren't those Mantis tines guaranteed for life. I tought they had a Lifetime Warranty. You might want to check that out.
   - tomg - Tuesday, 09/27/05 12:45:12 EDT

Hello there, congratulation for Anvilfire resources, my ask is what kind of pieces can I do with sae 1818 acer, I mean what resistence can I give to it to a good piece.
   Víctor Zamora - Tuesday, 09/27/05 13:53:46 EDT


I will make some assumptions and clarifications.

There is no SAE 1818 acer OR 1318 acer. You probably meant SAE 1018.

SAE 1018 = el acero suave (Spanish), mild steel (English)

For "resistence " I think you mean hardness, like a rock (como una roca).

SAE 1018 steel is only slightly hardenable and is not normally hardened or used for tools that need hardness. It is used for machine shafts (ejes de la máquina or axes de machine) and other parts that do not need hardening. Blacksmiths often use it for decorative work.

El acero del SAE 1018 es solamente levemente endurecible y normalmente no se endurece ni se utiliza para las herramientas que necesitan dureza. Se utiliza para los ejes de la máquina (ejes de la máquina o axes de machine) y otras piezas que no necesitan endurecer. Los herreros lo utilizan a menudo para el trabajo decorativo.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/27/05 15:43:01 EDT

   MATEL - Tuesday, 09/27/05 16:29:12 EDT

Thomas-- Ed Grothus at The Black Hole in Los Alamos usually various rocket-type exoskeletons. 662-5053-- or 662-9713-- Los Alamos Sales Co. 4015 Arkansas Ave. Lemme know if you want to go up and I'll go along.
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 09/27/05 17:16:03 EDT

   Melt Metal - Tuesday, 09/27/05 17:17:55 EDT

Charcoal: Melt Metal AKA Matel, ALL CAPS is considered yelling on the Internet. You do not need to yell.

See our Coal and Charcoal FAQ
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/27/05 17:57:38 EDT

Charcoal: Yes, real wood charcoal (NOT briquettes) can be used to forge, and in fact was what all the smiths used for most of history. Do a search for "charcoal retort" to find out how to make your own, but you can buy it too if you look around enough.

P.S. Don't type all in caps, on the internet that's concidered yelling and some people will be bothered by it.
   AwP - Tuesday, 09/27/05 18:01:17 EDT

Oops, Guru beat me to it.
   AwP - Tuesday, 09/27/05 18:01:39 EDT

Miles' I think I'll ask Adam to go take a look and if he finds anything try to figure a way to talk my wife into another expenditure. If I go I will certainly drag you along to distract him as my covert operations team does the extraction!

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 09/27/05 19:05:49 EDT

Wrought Iron for sale: Contact Colonial Williamsburg. They buy it for their living history museum and probably have the money to buy a lot of it at one time.
   quenchcrack - Tuesday, 09/27/05 19:33:36 EDT

Thomas-- If and when you visit The Black Hole, be prepared to deal with the serendipity factor-- i.e., come armed with the specs of any aluminum, stainless, ferrous, brass, motors, bearings, casters, cabinets, lights, lab glassware, scopes, cranes, dollies, etc. that you might be needing as well as rocket carapaces. Ed's been buying surplus from the nucular (sic-- gotta be PC, you know)) lab for more than 35 years now and his trove fills an old supermarket. And the parking lot. And the adjacent deblessed church. And its surrounding yard.
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 09/27/05 20:19:41 EDT

tomg: the tines are guaranteed for breakage. Mine are only bent but they will break when I try to straighten them cold. I am not sure about breakage if I break them myself. I guess if I am not asked I might not mention it.
   JLW - Tuesday, 09/27/05 21:02:23 EDT

Melt Metal:

YEs I use real Char coal ( Royal crown brand). It works ( for the most part) very well for most smithing app. As fer making it its pretty simple to do and verry cheep( on the small scale ) to do / Pluse the learning curve isnt verry steep. do a google , or a yahoo "how to make". After that experment and make mistakes.
Above all be safe and have fun.
   - Timex - Wednesday, 09/28/05 01:03:23 EDT

sorry der 2 post but the alt term for real char coal is "LUMP" char coal and most resturant supply stores have it in stock.
   - Timex - Wednesday, 09/28/05 01:05:10 EDT

On diagonal peen hammers, I found out not all are forging hammers. I purchased two at Quad-State in tool lots and listed them on eBay. One was a double peen. Guy in Canada informed me it was actually a saw set hammer. Peens were fairly wide with a slight radii and both in the same orientation. That one resold quickly as apparently they are somewhat rare. Single peen, still listed, has a very similar peen so I suspect it is a saw set hammer also. Just a tool lesson learned passed on.

For those who went to Quad-State and attended the Friday evening knife blade test. I known Butch Seeley, the guy who was the only one to cut the plunger handle. He said someone told him to also clean off the bottom of the plunger, as well as the table, as it had been sitting on the floor. He said there was crud there. May have been why he was able to complete the test while the other five plungers popped off.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 09/28/05 01:55:13 EDT

Melt Metal: A book/booklet has started to show up on eBay titled: Making Charcoal at Home. One listing is 6213011350. Cost is $5.95 plus $1.65 S&H.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 09/28/05 06:37:29 EDT

I am a metallurgy teacher and I liked your "Blacksmith's guide to using junkyard steels". I lost the first page and I wonder if you could send me another copy of that article.
It would be greatly appreciated as I an going to use it in a class and I hope to send you some business.
   Bob Bentz - Wednesday, 09/28/05 06:42:03 EDT

BOB BENTZ: Go to the Navigate Anvilfire bar, in the upper right corner of this screen and key on "FAQ-ARTICLES", then scroll down to "Junkyard Steels".
   3dogs - Wednesday, 09/28/05 07:57:04 EDT

Thomas: I live almost next door to Ed Grothus' place. Let me know what you are looking for. I always enjoy spending an hour or two or three... browsing through his amazing collection of technojunk and listening to hair brained conspiracy theories from the help.
   adam - Wednesday, 09/28/05 10:46:10 EDT

OH WOW! Conspiracy theories AND surplus Technojunk, all under the same roof!! I wanna go too! PLEEZPLEEZPLEEZ, lemme go too, Adam. I'll be good, I promise ! I won't even say bad stuff about Jane Fonda or Hillary or Mao Tse Dung or any of that lot. Pleeeeeeeeeeze? I gotta go now, they're coming to give me my medication.
   3dogs - Wednesday, 09/28/05 13:20:02 EDT

Adam; ath the recent Quad-State there were a number of cast steel cones several feet hight and perhaps 18-20" wide. I was told they were nose cones for missiles that failed QC.

I have a nice small cone from Patrick; but could use a larger cone for the shop.

I'd like to make a visit too sometime; just all my spending money would be used on gas nowdays...

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 09/28/05 14:05:45 EDT

My dad has a bridge anvil and neither of us know what it was originally made for. Can some one enlighten me? It looks like the one at the bottom of this page, the Liedecker http://www.blackiron.us/anvil-types.html What were they used for? Whatever it was it was used well, it is pretty rough.
   Tom - Wednesday, 09/28/05 17:51:29 EDT

Tom; the one I have was used to re-forge cable tool drillbits back before they used rotary drills out in the oil patch. It's pretty rough as well.

Now I knew a 5th generation smith in OK that used his to flatten plow points---had it turned upside down to get the max flat area to use.

Looks like it would be handy for large clips.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 09/28/05 18:28:54 EDT

Thomas-- You might trying querying Ed Grothus or his henchperson Frank Holmquist re: missile nosecones at tblackhole@aol.com Holmquist, who is fond of conspiracy theories, has a website, or did, www.frankartinvent@webtv.net Dunno if it's still active. The lab quit selling metal to individual human beings some time ago, and now all the goodies go out in huge gondola trailers to Ace Metals in Albquerque. I'd love to see somebody look into that deal, Also, Sandia base has surplus sales, too.
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 09/28/05 20:25:54 EDT

Shoulda read Adam's posting BEFORE putting mine up. Sorry. I've known Ed since 1973 when I rented a church from him for a quiet place to haha type. I've bought tons of stuff from him-- bearings, a jib crane, work tables, stainless stock, etc. I admire his staunch refusal to knuckle under to the nice-nelly govt. types who want him to clean up his yard. His conscience is riven for having worked as a machinist in the lab, thus his fervent opposition to nucular weaponry. Ed is an embarrassment and an outrage to many in the deeply conservative Los Alamos community also for going around town wearing his bishop's vestments and hat, carrying his crozier as symbols of his rank in his Church of the Critical Mass, with all the Lourdes-like crutches out front. He is getting well into his 80s now and is feisty as ever, a kind and generous man. Frank lives down the road from me, and his current apprehensions are always intriguing.
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 09/28/05 20:37:54 EDT

A number of years ago I created a weather-vane of copper and brass. The motif was a knome-like figure about 16" high that I fabricated using the "repousse" technique. I initially sandwiched the sheet stock between two pieces of plywood that I had cut out a silluette of the figure in, bolted it all together and then alternately hammered and annealed my way to a relief of approx. an inch. Then I worked from the face, back in with chasing tools, after having applied a commerical pitch on the back side. The results were satisfactory, but I would now like to work on a larger scale and create deeper relief. Is the technique I described really practical for this? I know that commercial vanes were once hammered into cast iron molds, but that sounds like an expensive venture. Any suggestions or book recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks. Rick Piatt
   Rick Piatt - Wednesday, 09/28/05 22:38:12 EDT


Here is something interesting, NOT interested in buying it, Just never seen a legvise like this. I expect it was intended as some low end thing intended to sell at the 'discount store' to an unsuspecting amateur. No way I think its any match against our familiar forged legvise.
   - Marko - Wednesday, 09/28/05 23:23:27 EDT

Large Repousse': Rick, The Statue of Liberty is large scale repousse'. It was worked over wooden forms in the positive rather than from the back but the process is basicaly the same. Folks doing large repousse' in steel claim that packed fine gravel like in a well used driveway is good backing. They also clamp the steel in a frame, heat with a rose bud torch and use hand held air hammers to move the metal. For large non-ferrous a custom pitch with coarse sand does the trick. Full or over scale human figures are commonly worked in pieces and brazed or welded together. Making armour is much the same as well. When you get to these large scales almost all your tools are custom made by you or a friendly blacksmith.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/28/05 23:24:30 EDT

Craigslist vise: Marko, Without a photo it is hard to tell what is being sold. However, 50 pound blacksmith vises are quite common and the height is about right. I do not recognize the manufacturer. See our Leg Vise FAQ. The one on the new red stand is a 50 pound vise I bought for $75. Both are plenty heavy for blacksmithing even though they are not the heaviest vices.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/28/05 23:32:38 EDT

thank you for the anwer about 1018, now please, do you know brands of anvils (such as mentioned in the anvil selection section, here in AF) for Mexico?. I know there is no much reason in my question it is certainly wide, it is I has been searching and cannot find one. or what is you recomendation for build one.
V. Zamora.
   Víctor Zamora - Thursday, 09/29/05 00:21:03 EDT

Sorry, I just figured maybe some Mexican knifemakers can tell me about how to get a good anvil, the problem is I don´t know any with experience at my place. Can you point me to any direction?
Thank you.
   Víctor Zamora - Thursday, 09/29/05 00:27:09 EDT


your anvil pretty much biols down to these few things.

IS it a good anvil:
Steel not cast, plate steel with a cast body ( ref to anvils in starting blacksmith menu)

Use ability:

Are you a sat. sunday smith or are you gonn'a use it as much as you dern well can.
does its' shape allow for the space and shaping that you inted to do?
   - Timex - Thursday, 09/29/05 00:55:00 EDT

It is for knifemaking, and I am just starting to make some pieces
   Víctor Zamora - Thursday, 09/29/05 01:22:36 EDT

Victor Zamora: I know of only one domestically manufactured anvil in Mexico. As I recall it was a somewhat typical London pattern (classic anvil shape) with MEXICO stamped on one side. Guy in the Southwest had it on sale for a third-party on eBay maybe a year ago. I seem to recall Frank Turley knew the city of manfacture. I forwarded information to Richard Postman.

I suspect you can find what you need in the form of a large chunk of scrap steel at a local scrap yard.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 09/29/05 05:05:27 EDT

Marko: I suspect the vise was originally part of an anvil/vise combination (see Anvils in America by Richard Postman, page 402). The anvils part may have become broken beyond use and they salvaged the vise by adding on a foot post to it. I seem to recall seeing one on eBay some time ago with the option for a foot post. Note it doesn't appear to have been made for clamping to a table and I doubt the bracket with it now would provide much support.

Price seems quite high. At one time rule of thumb was $10 per inch width of jaw. Now it has crept up to about $20. Old post/leg vises were somewhat plentiful at Quad-State this year. For those who chuckled at the 4" one I purchased (for $5) with a locked up screw, bent leg and no bracket, it is now back in nicely working order. Thank you to whoever told me to use a bit of heat on the screwbox to free it.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 09/29/05 05:15:48 EDT

Craigslist vise II: Our old friend CrackedAnvil sent me a photo of the vise. I've seen these before. Its a rather odd vise with a screw in leg. They are probably cast which makes them unsuitable for blacksmithing (other than sawing or filing and light assembly work). However, there have been some cast steel or ductile iron vises that can take much more abuse than the typical cast vise.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/29/05 07:50:19 EDT

Availability and Finding anvils: Since the earliest times the anvil market has been somewhat international. Manufacturers have been few and anvils shipped globaly. This means that the same English, American, German and Swedish anvils are found world wide. Today the casting of steel anvils has distributed their manufacture to places like the Czech Republic and India. The best cast anvils beeing made in the US. However, this quality has a price as it always has.

Finding used anvils is an art. There are people that are finders and others that are not. My friend Josh Greenwood has been a finder and has found used anvils in the US, Germany and even Costa Rica! If you are not a finder then you need to find a finder and purchase from them. This can often be more economical than traveling great distances and failing to find what you are looking for.

The Secrets of Finders: The first trick is to know where to look. Old industry, scrap yards, used machinery dealers, ironmongers and antique shops that specialize in iron objects. The second trick is to ASK questions then follow every lead. Ask questions in every place of business that old men frequent. Ask about blacksmiths tools or metalworking tools. Do not ask if what you seek is for sale (se vende). Ask who has it. THEN ask the owner if they want to sell OR know where you can find blacksmithing tools for sale.

The third secret is for individuals looking for an anvil. Tell EVERYONE you know that you are interested in blacksmithing and need tools, especialy an anvil. Tell your family and every relative. You may have a distant Uncle that was a smith and his widow has his tools, OR you may have a neighbor that has an anvil they thought they would use and never did.

I spent years looking for anvils in antique shops and at estate sales with little luck. I eventually bought my first anvil at the sale of an old blacksmith shop. My second anvil was brought to me by a neighbor that knew I was blacksmithing. When I was on a business trip I helped a young lady find an anvil THEN her neighbor gave her an anvil the next day when he saw use working at the forge in the back yard.

There are old anvils to be found everywhere in the world where there has been industry or agriculture for a long time. This includes most of Mexico.

In poor countries tools are rarer than in prosperous countries. The search for tools may be more difficult and choices fewer. In many places old sledge hammer heads are used for anvils as they are the largest piece of steel that can be found. They are also usualy hard and have a smooth surface. To use a sledge for an anvil it should be set into a wood stump. A snug hole about half the length of the hammer head is carved into the end of the stump (section of tree trunk) and the sledge wedged tightly into place. The length or the stump depends on how the smith works. In Southeast Asia, the Middle East and India where it is common to sit on the ground while working a short stump is used then burried nearly flush in ground. In the West where we stand the top of the sledge should be a little higher than knuckle height.

Modern bladesmiths are now using an anvil of similar shape but much heavier. They are using a length of about 4" (100mm) diameter steel shafting long enough to be the proper work height (about 28" 0r 700mm), weight aout 100 pounds (45kg). This does not look like an anvil but it is a work surface similar to what has been used by bladesmiths for centuries.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/29/05 08:41:26 EDT

I've recently been offered the opporunity to purchase a collection of blacksmithing supplies (including a 300# anvil, leg vise, arc welder, acetelyene torch, and various other tools) for $1500. being new to blacksmithing, is this a reasonable price?
   Daniel H. - Thursday, 09/29/05 08:51:00 EDT

Daniel H: Can you see a brand name on anvil? What brand is the arc welder, 110v vs 220v and does it have an AC/DC option? On the ace. torch, if there are tanks with it be aware you may not be able to get them filled, but will have to purchase or rent new. Don't need a specific list, but, in general, what other tools are there?

An aside, the 300 lb anvil is likely WAY more than you will need. You might consider reselling it and purchasing a smaller one (say 160 or so pounds) and then use the extra money to flesh out the set to your specific needs.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 09/29/05 09:02:55 EDT

Anvils are to be found in Mexico. I purchased a Chihuahua-found anvil in Santa Fe, Nuevo Mexico, the anvil originally imported from Spain in the early days. It is about an 80 pound anvil, but usable.

Victor, ¿where are you in Mexico? There is a town full of blacksmiths in Sayula, Jalisco, not on one street, but scattered around town. In Amozoc, there are many bitsmiths (frenos para caballos). You could make contact, and ask.

I think there were some anvils cast in Chihuahua in recent years, but they are not very good.

My students sometimes put a classified advertisement in the newspaper asking for blacksmithing tools. That is a good way, especially in large cities.

   - Frank Turley - Thursday, 09/29/05 09:50:59 EDT

Daniel, The price seems in line if the "other" tools are tongs, hammers, anvil tools and such. Without knowing what brand or condition the anvil is I would put a value of $300 on it. However, if it is a good old anvil then it could be worth $900 to $1200 alone.

I put a rough NEW value of $300 on the welder, $300 on the torch and $150 on the vise used. With a low price on the the anvil that is $1050 without the other tools. So this is not too bad a price. However, if all this stuff is old worn or generally scruffy then the price may be a little high. The "other" tools if bought new might have cost roughly $25 each and add up in a hurry. New hammers and tongs cost from $25 to $50 each. But old are selling for a third of that.

I really like a 300 pound anvil and it is a wonderful tool. But as Ken says you might want to sell or trade it. You might get another anvil in the 150 to 200 pound range plus a forge from another smith (I did not see a forge on your list).

On that price you also need to consider how much running around you might have to do to find all those tools. In some parts of the country (primarily the East, PA and OH) these are easy to find but out west you could spend a lot of time on the road.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/29/05 10:04:06 EDT

Craiglist vise: I have one of those with the original mounting plate in the back. It was *not* an anvil vise. It comes with a place to stick a round rod in for the leg and it will rotate around the axis of the vise screw, Comes with pipe jaws too.

I do not believe it was intended for smithing; but as a multipurpose bench vise.

I picked mine up for about $30 in OK back in the early 1980's.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 09/29/05 11:04:02 EDT

thaks for the advises, I will try to look around large scrap collectors and in towns near the haciendas (old ranch) a friend of mine got a 30 pound forged from old iron dealers, and such as horsemen and smiths no more forge or work in hot mode for the last years, maybe they know who did it in past years. as you say, the old ones.
   Víctor Zamora - Thursday, 09/29/05 11:39:08 EDT

I've subscribed to George Dixon's publication "Artist-Blacksmith Quarterly" for a year or so. No disrespect intended for this site, but it is a good publication with informative articles on how-to and discussion on the Yellin tools and techniques. Recently the web site has either been disabled or severely cut back. Has something happened to George?
   - David Shadwick - Thursday, 09/29/05 11:54:30 EDT

Dear Guru-
I am a sculptor who work mostly in welded steel. I have been at it for about 20 years, I teach at Washington University in St. Louis, and have made both indoor and outdoor sculpture.

This is not a blacksmithing question, but maybe you can help. I am in the market to purchase a used ironworker, because the work I am doing now involves a lot of sheering of small pieces [1/8 inch by 3 or 4 inch flat stock around 12 - 14 inches long] I do not need, nor do I have the facilities to house a huge machine, so I have been looking at some smaller units, like the MetalPro 4000.

Do you have any experience with an ironworker, and are there any makes that you would reccomend? Are there any that you would stay away from? I am just starting out this search, and friend of mine told me about this site. Any tips or suggestions would be most appreciated. To get an idea of what I make, you can check out my website at www.arnynadler.com.


Arny Nadler
   ARNY NADLER - Thursday, 09/29/05 13:38:54 EDT

ARNY: Check the St. Louis Yellow Pages for "Machinery-Used". you have several dealers in your area. Most of the dealers work off of a global network hotline, so if they don't have one, they know who does.
   3dogs - Thursday, 09/29/05 14:04:23 EDT

Daniel-- Be extremely skeptical when buying used welding gear. Used anything, that goes for, but especially welding gear. That stuff can hurt you. As in dead. Sniff the arc welder to determine whether there have been any electrical shorts sizzling away in there. Then have the present owner run it at full output, running the heaviest rods, for some good lonnnnng beads to see if it will maintain force, both AC and DC modes. Ditto the oxy-acetylene rig-- have him or her hook it all up and show you the cutting torch cuts, the welding torch welds, the regulators hold their settings, no leaks, no funny smells. Is there somebody local who can and will work on both if need be? That kind of money will get you close to a brand new MIG, will buy a new name brand OA torch set, with brand new warranties. As the esteemed Gurusissimo points out the package deal will save you a lot of running around, but buying the whole thing saves the seller an awful lot of hassle, too (and keep in mind there is no shortage of any of this stuff out there), so some haggling here, seems to me, is in order.
   Miles Undercut - Thursday, 09/29/05 15:59:25 EDT

Anyone know any UK suppliers where i can get hold of some form of flux for fire welding?
   - Guest - Thursday, 09/29/05 16:03:32 EDT

For those members who were at Quad-State and looked at the damaged Trenton by the side of my cattle trailer: Reconditioned it is now on eBay as #6213419644. I am about 99.9% sure it is a Trenton. It just about exactly matches the 1927 one on page 359 of Anvil's in America with the very tall step.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 09/29/05 16:40:10 EDT

Guest: Contact the British Artist-Blacksmith Ass'n at www.baba.org.uk. They should be able to directly you to a UK source for forge welding flux.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 09/29/05 16:43:01 EDT

Guest, The most common flux used in the US is Borax, see our FAQ. This is sold here as a "laundry detergent fortifier" and is available in many stores. It is also available in dehydrated form from ceramics suppliers.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/29/05 17:15:36 EDT

Artist-Blacksmith Quarterly David, Thanks for the notice about Georges Site. He is an advertiser here and I will try to find out what has happened.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/29/05 17:21:41 EDT

Blacksmithing tools in Mexico: Our friends south of the border are aware of the popularity of smithing in the US. At the world famous Canton Trade Days Market in Canton, TX, people bring WAGON LOADS of equipment up from Mexico. Most of it is beyond practical use.
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 09/29/05 19:41:41 EDT

Arny N.: I have a Metal Pro 4000, it is a light duty slow machine. on the upside, it is small, light, and will run on a regular household electric circut. I paid $1300 for mine used, with the 3 in one shear, pressbrake, an assortment of punches & dies, and the big notcher. For what a new one costs, You may be able to find a used machine that is faster and better built, but if buying used, be sure the tooling is in good working condition if You are not set up to refurbish it.
   Dave Boyer - Thursday, 09/29/05 21:31:46 EDT

Amy N: If you don't need massive there is an Ironworker on eBay now (#7549852233). While it does not come with any accessories description says they are still available from the company which bought out this manufacturer. Says it will sheer up to 1/4" x 4" plate or 2" x 2" x 1/4" angle.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 09/30/05 07:41:43 EDT

I recently retired and would like to make some metal objects for gifts and such,lots of these involve circles of various sizes. I remember seeing a small hand powered roller to make circles out of small diam rod. Been searching for hours, any ideas where a man could find one? Thanks, Jim W.
   Jim Winkels - Friday, 09/30/05 07:49:40 EDT

Jim Winkels,
Harbor frieght offers a small hand powered ring roller, as do several other companies. The harbor frieght is the cheapest, but is limited in its capabilities.
   ptree - Friday, 09/30/05 09:11:14 EDT

Arny- Personally, I would skip both the Bantam on ebay, and the Metal Pro 4000- both are kinda rinky dink, and the ONLY thing they have going for em is low price.
Long term I think you will be much happier with a small real ironworker- older mechanical ones are the cheapest, and fastest, but a bit hairy, in terms of the speed and potential danger. There are tons of used Buffalo # 0 and #1/2's out there, often for between 1 and 2 grand, that are WW2 era boat anchors that just keep working. Punches and replacement shear blades are available for most any brand, from Cleveland punch and die and others.
There are also a lot of used 35 ton and 40 ton early scotchman ironworkers out there, along with their predecessors, the Dvorak. I would avoid the ones with the inboard punch, but otherwise they are tough, good little machines.
They are hydraulic, which is a bit slower for production situations, but often better for artists, as you can spot where your hole or shear line will be, and stop at the last moment if something isnt quite right.
Edwards ironworkers are also cheap, and common- kind of an inelegant design, but sturdy and usuable.
Upscale, but sometimes available used, are the very nice european ironworkers- Mubea and Pedinghaus from Germany, Ficep (sometimes sold as Heller) from Italy, and Geka from Spain. All of these are excellent machines.
The Bantam on ebay is a hopped up punch press, not a real ironworker at all, and has a lot of compromises made by its backyard designer.
If you buy a real ironworker, 35-40 tons minimum, with punch, shear, rod shear and angle shear, you will be a lot happier in the long run, as you will find yourself shearing hard to cut things like stainless, punching holes you now laboriously drill, and just plain yelling "Whee-Ha" when you use it. At least, I do.
Plus, resale value is gonna be much better, if you ever need to sell it.
If you want to email me with more specific questions, feel free.
   ries - Friday, 09/30/05 12:46:09 EDT

Other manufacturers of small hand operated ring rollers, most a bit better made, (and more expensive) than harbor freight-
Google the following:
shop outfitters
boss bender
   ries - Friday, 09/30/05 12:49:49 EDT

Why does it seem that the ball pein hammers that blacksmith's use have a shorter handle than the same weight head in the hands of a machinest?
   JD - Friday, 09/30/05 12:52:55 EDT

Well JD I would assume that folks would trim their handles to fit themselves. I have hammers with handles ranging from 6" to 3'. I've never noticed smiths to have shorter ballpein handles but I have shortened a number of sledge handles for one handed use.

   Thomas P - Friday, 09/30/05 14:05:45 EDT

I am a CAD designer for a stair co. we deal alot with iron workers for balusters. I want to make a sword(just kidding)! I am new to your site and am amazed at the information available for people like me(metal stupid). I find I am becoming facinated with metallurgy, and how it pertains to my job. Thank you for this site and the information you provide. Great job!!
   RRITTER - Friday, 09/30/05 15:19:02 EDT

OK dumb question. How did the inch get to be divided into 16 parts rather than 12th.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 09/30/05 16:14:50 EDT

dumb answer,
I would hazzard a guess that it's because it's easier to halve something with nothing but a divider and straight edge than it is to third it.
   JimG - Friday, 09/30/05 16:37:15 EDT

Since we are asking dumb questions-- I have always wondered
how "steel wool" was made- It has been around forever and is very cheap- just wondering-
   - ptpiddler - Friday, 09/30/05 20:59:34 EDT

Steel wool is made an a machine with a claw wheel that literaly shreds the metal into steel wool. And yes it does occasionaly catch fire
   - Mani De Mers - Friday, 09/30/05 21:13:13 EDT

From Stelwire:

The critical nature of the wool cutting operating demands a high degree of steel cleanliness and uniformity in the drawn wire. At Stelwire this is achieved by close chemistry control during steelmaking with the added consistency provided by continuous bloom casting at Stelco's primary steelmaking division. Specially developed rod rolling and wire drawing practices are then employed in the processing of steel wool quality wire.

(Typical size 1/8)

From Brillo:

To supply the steel wool needed for manufacturing Brillo® brand soap pads, a coil of thin wire is placed on one end of a machine, which uncoils the wire and passes it over sharp cutting edges that shave the wire into fine threads of steel. As the now wool-like strands of steel flow out of the shaving area they are gathered up into a four-inch wide band and wrapped around a large spool at the end of the machine.

Still unclear. . . but it is a drawing cutting process using a fine grade steel.

   - guru - Friday, 09/30/05 21:29:10 EDT

Brillo further explanation.
The steel wire is drawn across cutter teeth that scrape off the 'wool'. The wire progressively passes through another driven roller and another set of teeth and so on. The wire is scraped down progressively until its no longer strong enough to reliably withstand drawing through another scraping step. Afterward the wire goes into a chopper then scrap bin.

The scraping is enhanced by oiling at the cutters for cooling, removing metaldust and reduce rusting and help general lubrication as wool is further run through process machinery then into its final shape then packaging etc.

And yes, Fire is a serious threat throughout the manufacture.
   - Sven - Saturday, 10/01/05 11:56:04 EDT

Arny N : Ries summed it up acuratly. Comparing My Metal Pro to the only other ironworker I ever used, a mechanical Peddinghaus 44T, the Metal Pro is like a Dodge Neon, and the Peddinghaus is like a high end Mercedes. Mine is in nice shape, I don't have much free space, and the price was right. Most importantly, I dont do the volume of work that justifies spending more money. On this sight they have a saying about power hammers: any power hammer is better than no power hammer, the same can be said about ironworkers.
   Dave Boyer - Friday, 09/30/05 21:57:05 EDT

Actually steel wool is a odd byproduct of some of the breeding
tests Paul Bunyon did way back when. Tried cross breeding some merino sheep with a small steam engine. The resulting crittur was a steel wool bearing sheep. Sheared twoce a year so they don't rust.......

Or as the others said might be true too
   Ralph - Friday, 09/30/05 22:17:07 EDT

Ken S: Depending on Your framing square, You may have inches divided in 12 parts.
   Dave Boyer - Friday, 09/30/05 22:44:02 EDT

Ken: To actually answer a question for a change, it is the progression of dividing in half: 1/2 , 1/4 , 1/8 , 1/16 etc. as pointed out by Jim G above.
   Dave Boyer - Friday, 09/30/05 22:54:14 EDT

RALPH; FINALLY!! A straight answer on the steel wool question. Thank you! It has been said though, that the Steamerino Sheep do not do well in damp climates because of a rust problem. The resultant wool is only suitable for use in Russian Army blankets. Even as we speak, scientists have been attempting to modify the DNA from the steam engine to alleviate the problem. Stay tuned.
   3dogs - Saturday, 10/01/05 02:29:29 EDT

[ CSI - anvilfire MEMBERS Group | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]
Counter    Copyright © 2005 Jock Dempsey, www.anvilfire.com Cummulative_Arc GSC