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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 16 - 23, 2006 on the Guru's Den
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Roofing suppliers often carry charcoal as well. Last time I posted this, I was told roofers still use it to heat soldering coppers.
   Mike B - Saturday, 09/16/06 07:06:36 EDT


When I was demonstrating in Australia last year, my host, Alan Ball, made charcoal in a steel box with a hinged lid. www.villagesmith.com.au Click on Events; Hot Iron Muster 2005. The 10th paragraph down describes the process. Don't fret about trying to get the Eucalyptus. They have plenty Down Under. Even soft wood will make usable charcoal, although the yield may vary compared to hard woods. Some charcoal gives off more sparks than others.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 09/16/06 10:01:59 EDT

Spark Arrestor: Michael, This is a tricky question because you are in high fire country and spark arrestors may be a code question (legal) in your area). But here are the basics.

1) Any screen is going to reduce the flow out the stack. So the screen needs to be considerably larger than the cross section of the stack.

2) Rust is a big problem with screens and most spark arrestors are made of stainless or heavy galvanized steel (See NFPA rules below). Coal fumes will evaporate a steel screen in short order. Charcoal is much less of a problem.

3) Normally a screen is cylindrical going around the pipe. with a cap above. On masonary chimneys it is often a rectangular afair with a cap.

4) When a cap is used without a screen it needs to be above the pipe a minimum distance of one diameter of the pipe (usualy 1.5d).

5) When caps are used they work much better with an upside down internal cone a little larger than the diameter of the pipe to create a smooth flow in the cap.

A web search found many references to small engine spark arrestors. They are suppose to have openings no larger than .024".

NFPA (Naional Fire Protection Association - USA) 211 covers stacks and fire screens.

The NJ Department of Forestry calls for chimney screens with openings no larger than 1/2".

The city of Evans, IN calls for 19ga galvanized screen or 24 gage stainless screen with openings no larger than 1/2" and no smaller than 3/8" and a screen area of 4 times the outlet of the stack. This is taken directly from the NFPA rules as it is the same found in other places.


The area of 4 times the outlet is equal to the sides of a cylinder 1 diameter high. So if it it fills the area under the cap which should be a minimum of 1 diameter above the pipe you have more than enough screen.

It looks to me like the "spark arrestor" is only supposed to stop large floating pieces such as fire starting paper. The small fleas from a charcoal fire will go right through a 3/8" mesh. However, they may not be a problem by the time they reach the top of the stack.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/16/06 10:18:16 EDT

LG Spring Guard: Probably 3/8" polycarbonate would do. However as noted it is not going to stay pretty and clear. Not only does oil make a mess it stains the plastic making it appear yellowed. Grinder sparks embed in it easily and solvents (thinner on a rag) will soften and wreck the surface. You also have to be careful bolting it to heavy steel frames as it has a high coeficient of expansion compared to steel and in cold weather it can shrink to the point of the bolts cracking the plastic. It is unbelievably tough stuff but it has the capacity to tear itself in two. Use LARGE oversized holes and washers to mount.

Other than the above it sure will look pretty for a while. Expanded metal guards may stop the big pieces of spring but the shards that embed in forehead and eye may pass right through.

Carefully consider that to properly use an LG the height adjustment may be used several times a day. So be sure there is room to access this point.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/16/06 10:38:37 EDT

Selling lots to preserve history:

This is a complete failure in logic. Lets say I inventory what you want to sell. I know it will bring $20,000 pieced out. So I offer you $10,000 for the lot. With a little effort I can double my money.

OR say I buy the collection with the good intention to put it on display in a private museum. Tomarrow I die. My heirs have no interest and they auction off everything as quickly as possible (low prices to dealers). Most ends up on ebay anyway. . .

The only way a collection of anything will stay together is if YOU have the money to endow a museum to house them. Even then the board in control of the endowment can go to court and have conditions of the endowment voided if there is good reason (too expensive to maintain, items too valuable to insure, the endowment run out).

Even museums and historical libraries sell off parts of their collections that were thoughtfully donated to them by donars that wanted those items in a safe place but where the public had access to them. Items may not be the best expamples, there may be duplicates, items may not be specific enough to a collection's theme (which may change). It is common today for museums to sell off items with extreamly high value in order to reduce their insurance AND use the funds elsewhere. These items end up in private collections.

So, THINK about the reality of this plan. I have heard the same over and over and the end results are usualy the same.

   - guru - Saturday, 09/16/06 10:58:59 EDT

Thumper: He might consider holding an auction with it advertised in the newsletters of the blacksmithing groups around Idaho. May also be a tool collecting society or group in the general area.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 09/16/06 11:05:53 EDT

To follow up on Guru's post, my neighbor, Hunter Pilkington, may have one of the largest private collections of tools in the U.S., plus a welding/machine shop so full you have to walk sideways through some aisles. He is 86, pretty well chair confined and is still buying more through auction bid listings.

Neither of his children have any interest in this lifetime collection. After he dies it will likely be auctioned off as soon a probate clears.

Almost all of it is likely to go to collectors.

And a side comment is eBay has likely greatly reduced the value of his collection. For example, you collect Stanley wood block planes and need #19. Ten years ago you might have spent years searching for one. Now there are probably three listed on eBay, each trying to underprice the others.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 09/16/06 11:14:39 EDT

Pilkington's not a frequently-encountered name. Is the neighbor related by any chance to the William Renard Pilkington who bankrolled the Pilkington-Gibbs heliochronometer to keep English trains from crashing into each other at track intersections? If so, does he happen to have an extra or two or three lying about he would be interested in selling? Hmmmm? (See http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jmikeshaw/page8.html for details.)
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 09/16/06 11:54:16 EDT

Michael-- why take any chance with an errant spark, with the risk of potential injury and or loss so high? Switch to a propane forge and do it now. Don't gamble unless you can afford to lose.
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 09/16/06 12:00:36 EDT

Miles: Oops, I misspelled the name. It is Pilkinton.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 09/16/06 12:06:39 EDT

Darin - check your local Lowe's or Home Depot, they usually sell them in 8-15 lb bags or boxes at semi-reasonable prices ($5 for 15 lbs or so).
   - Kazrian - Saturday, 09/16/06 17:46:56 EDT

Miles, Dang! You have a 1932 Modulus? I had a '56 but the Extension Under Load was missing. I had to use the .2% Offset from a '57 version. I never did find a good Moment of Inertia though. You're a lucky man.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 09/16/06 18:37:35 EDT

Charcoal - Hey Darin, these guys, http://www.cowboycharcoal.com/
make the real thing. My wife bought me a bag one time, and it was just as good as mine.

Yes, make your own, if you can stand a little smoke. I spend about as much time making charcoal as I do forging, but you can make it out of about any wood you have, even just pick up the sticks in yard if you have a lot of trees.
   JohnW - Saturday, 09/16/06 18:50:54 EDT

I tested fired my propane burner late this afternoon. I built it mainly from the simple burner design posted here on anvilfire. You guys are a life saver, I don't think I could have pulled off a venturi burner! Thanks for all of the articles and resources!
   - Rob - Saturday, 09/16/06 18:55:20 EDT

I am looking for a place to get a couple of small size touchmarks made. Do you know of someone or some company that can do that? 1/16, 3/32, and 1/8 inch. Thanks in advance.

   Vince - Saturday, 09/16/06 19:05:36 EDT

Vince, look up Harper Manufacturing on the web. They make good ones out of O-1 tool steel.
   - Tyler Murch - Saturday, 09/16/06 19:49:30 EDT

Vince-pick up a Blade magazine- there are at least 3 companies that make steel stamps that advertise in there. I had one made by Harper co and it is holding up very good- I stamp hot steel only- don't know how they do on cold steel.
   - ptpiddler - Saturday, 09/16/06 19:51:51 EDT

Ken-- you never know, maybe some Immigration Service type changed it at the bottom of the gangplank. quenchcrack-- a while back I asked my big city AIA architect son to check around with his engineering chums to get a working definition of the moment of inertia, and although they said they crank it into equations all the time, lifting it from the AISC standard shape tables, alas not a one could state... what... it... actually... is.
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 09/16/06 21:02:59 EDT

In plain English, I mean. Nemmine that calculus jazz.
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 09/16/06 21:05:07 EDT

Quenchcrack-I do hope you make it to Quad State this year and we get to meet. We could do a little bit of metallurgy stand up comedy in between songs at the Saturday night music performance (Ha!).

   patrick nowak - Saturday, 09/16/06 22:23:01 EDT

Miles - Moment of inertia: It is the unit of measurement in the time-strength continum.:)
   Dave Boyer - Saturday, 09/16/06 22:31:03 EDT

Dave Boyer-- Oh, yeah! I used to know that, but I forgot. Uh huh. Thanks. Next time I decide how big is big enough on a gate, I'll put that right to work.
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 09/16/06 23:46:37 EDT

Has anyone ever used Cablerail or any other cable infill on a railing job? I have a customer who wants it.
   Dave Boyer - Sunday, 09/17/06 02:11:57 EDT

Miles: It is an urban myth names got changed by the Immigration Service. Those arrving had been pre-approved before boarding. All Immigrations did, say at Ellis Island, was to check off whether or not they arrived against the ship's manifest and give them a physical. (And here two biggest rejects were TB and a pregnant single woman.) If names were changed (officially) it was during the naturalization process or through a court process. Latter was normally a child, naturalized with parents, who wanted the name change (i.e., Americanized). Likely some names did change unofficially through usage.

Of course, what was on the ship's manifest was the English usage, not with the assent marks used in many European languages.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 09/17/06 06:41:36 EDT

A moment of inertia is what I experience when the alarm goes off in the morning. Of course, on cold mornings, it can be a *long* moment. (grin)
   Mike B - Sunday, 09/17/06 06:52:06 EDT

A bit back someone asked about an anvil with a W inside a V. Received a relayed message from Richard Postman it would be a WEST and one piece cast steel. Actually it would be a W inside an inverted pyramid. See Anvils in America page 228.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 09/17/06 08:25:52 EDT

Ken-- Thanks. But the names are so close they almost have to be somehow, somewhere along the line, kin. Be worth checking if he has a P-G heliochronometer or two lying about. Or knows where one might be. Sundial nuts, of whom there are many, go wild for them.
   Miles Undercut - Sunday, 09/17/06 12:05:32 EDT

Dear Guru -

I'm working on a plan to re-work my Delta drill press to get a slower spindle RPM. (To use bigger drills more readily.)

The original belt drive system goes as low as 250 RPM, which would be a 7:1 reduction, giving a torque of about 15.76 ft-lbs. from it's 3/4 HP motor (ignoring frictional losses.)

Now, If I adapt a pair of sprockets with 13 and 52 teeth, that will give me a minimum speed of 62.5 RPM, but If I understand it correctly I'd be also be putting about 4 times the torque on the spindle, which would be about 63 ft-lbs.

The splined shaft in the spindle is only about 5/8" diameter with six splines and is pretty well finished, though it could be better. Would this much torque bind it up? Likewise the spindle only has a #2 Morse taper. Would the Morse taper transmit that much torque? further the Jacobs taper on the chuck is something I have already had trouble with when a bit binds up on breakthrough.

So, is this a fools errand? IIRC this drill press weighs only about 175#, Much, much lighter than machines which come with spindle speeds that low.

Thanks in advance.
   John Lowther - Sunday, 09/17/06 12:15:47 EDT

Power Hammer Lubrication: Happy owner of a new (to me) 50# Little Giant. Wondering what's best for lubrication. I understand you want to keep these well oiled.
   Mark - Sunday, 09/17/06 12:17:02 EDT

I'm a young teen and brand new to blacksmithing ive got a forge(a little portable one)and barely any tools,i have forged about four times but this last time it wouldnt get hot enough to get red.I read somthing about clinkers but ithought that i havnt forged enough to have them,what do they look like?,if you go for a long time embetween forging,should you clean out the coal and coke completely?thanks
   - none - Sunday, 09/17/06 13:32:14 EDT

I'm a young teen and brand new to blacksmithing ive got a forge(a little portable one)and barely any tools,i have forged about four times but this last time it wouldnt get hot enough to get red.I read somthing about clinkers but ithought that i havnt forged enough to have them,what do they look like?,if you go for a long time embetween forging,should you clean out the coal and coke completely?thanks
   none - Sunday, 09/17/06 13:32:36 EDT


It sounds like I have the same drill press you do -- right down to the sometimes-slipping Jacobs taper (though mine hasn't slipped since I pounded the snot out of the bottom of the chuck with a rubber mallet.) The torque you mention doesn't seem entirely unreasonable to me -- recommended torque for a 5/8" coarse grade 2 bolt is 73 lb-ft.

I'd love the hear the details of your plan. Provided the smart folks here don't think it's sure to wring off the shaft, I might just have to steal it.
   Mike B - Sunday, 09/17/06 14:56:00 EDT

Patrick, so when is the Quad State Event? And where?
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 09/17/06 15:37:11 EDT

Mark-- slather the ways with heavy oil. Chainsaw bar oil has the most sticktoitivity. WD 40 will suffice until you get some. Oil the toggle joints and the Pitman/the eccentric drive arm coming off the flywheel. Get plenty of grease into/onto the driveshaft. If yours has a zert on the back end of the driveshaft, use it. It may be plugged. If it had one but it's missing, replace it and use it. A warmed-up brazing rod will get in there and open up the ways a bit. Oil the clutch-- yup, spray WD30 or whatever ONTO the rim of the clutch. It'll slip at first but will then accomodate itself. Don't forget to oil the motor if it has cups. Keep the whole shebang well lubed.
   Miles Undercut - Sunday, 09/17/06 16:56:35 EDT

I know, I know, it's not a lubricant, it's a dessicant or something. It's better than nothing.
   Miles Undercut - Sunday, 09/17/06 16:57:31 EDT

L.G. Oil, I like to use heavy gear oil,Or chainsaw oil on the moving or sliding parts. Sort of my theory is the oil should not be TOO sticky so the new oil will better flush out the old dirty stuff. Before each day If I'm going to use the hammer, I wipe off whatever is convienient then add a couple drops to all the oiling points. I fitted rubber flaps over the bearing journals tops to keep dirt out of their oiler cups
My crankpin has a grease cup, That I will give it a turn every week or so. The main shaft (back side) has a grease cup too, But I understand most other hammers have a Zerk nipple instead.
   - Mike - Sunday, 09/17/06 17:14:43 EDT

I looked around on the anvilfire website, but didn't find much advice for buying a gas forge. I'd like to buy my first one, but don't really know what I should pay attention to.
I would like to use for multipurpose (not knifemaking only) and it should be OK for welding. Do you have any recommendations (or a link to some recommendation would work as well). Thanx a lot
   birgit - Sunday, 09/17/06 17:30:16 EDT

Quad State is Sept 21, 22,& 23rd in Troy Ohio. Go to the SOFA web site for details. I am leaving Friday morning the 21st, to visit early. I understand the really good tailgating starts Thursday.
   ptree - Sunday, 09/17/06 18:07:04 EDT

Clinker should be cleaned out every time you start a fire. It will look different than the coke and coal. It will be a melted together glob of glassy metallic stuff, often jokingly refered to as dragon droppings. The coke can always be reused, but the cinders will not burn. The coke will be a light, frothy chunk and the cinders are small and dusty.
   ptree - Sunday, 09/17/06 18:10:20 EDT

How big is a little Giant P-1080? ie ram weight and overall weight? I looked at the spec page and did not see a P-1080
   ptree - Sunday, 09/17/06 19:52:37 EDT

Q-S: Actually some people start to arrive on Tuesday. Fun to watch a new load of tools pull in. Guys swarming over truck/trailer pretty well before they even get stopped.

Seems like usually underpriced and rare stuff goes on Thursday or Friday AM. Sunday morning and early afternoon are good for making offers.

Probably not accurate but it seems like either feast or famine on anvils and postvises. Saturday early evening auction doesn't seem anywhere as good it once was.

Last year one guy had what I was told were surplus missile nose tips for sale as cones.

Apparently this year the fairgrounds wanted to charge $20 night for any camping. SOF&A negotiated them down to $5 for those not plugging/hooking into utilities.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 09/17/06 19:59:21 EDT

My 50 came with a grease cup, but I refitted it with a zert.
   Miles Undercut - Sunday, 09/17/06 21:35:02 EDT

John Lowther: The spindle speed You have is OK up to about 1 1/4" diameter @ 80 SFPM. The problem with big holes in a sensitive drilpress is more one of rigidity, further slowing of the spindle may help a little, but grinding the bit with less clearance will help reduce chatter too. What size holes do You plan to drill? If the morse taper fits properly it will transmit enough torque to ring off any bit that comes with a #2 taper, but if the fit is poor the tang will shear off. Put the chuck on a lead block [with the jaws fully retracted] and drive the Morse taper adapter in with a lead hammer. If the tapers arn't too scored up already it will transmit more torque than the chuck can [on a round shank] and probably enough to stall the motor.
   Dave Boyer - Sunday, 09/17/06 22:26:55 EDT

What is the Blacksmith's Holiday?
   - Beau - Sunday, 09/17/06 22:39:54 EDT

what is the blacksmith's holiday? Name, date, and info please?
   - beau - Sunday, 09/17/06 22:40:38 EDT

Delta Drill Rework: John, Both the spline and taper are the limitations but so is frame rigidity. The frame rigidity and feed mechanism determine how big a drill can be pushed without chattering. Common 20-21" geared head drills have a 1.25" spindle and a #4 Morse taper and are rated to drill up to a 1.5" hole. Speeds in straight gear are 98, 162, 270, 452 (Royersford) and use a 1HP motor. In back gear the speeds are 17, 29, 49 and 82. These machines weigh about 1000 pounds.

At low speed and low torque with almost no feed pressure you can bore a large diamter hole. But drilling requires pushing the dead center into the steel and having enough torque to push the entire cuttiing edge through the material being drilled. Small spindles wind up and either chatter or possibly break. Light frames spring further increasing chatter and feed problems.

Whoops. . looks like Dave beat me to it. However, if you want to bore holes that is different and you can get away with it.

   - guru - Sunday, 09/17/06 22:53:49 EDT

Forge and Clinkers: none, clinkers start forming as soon as you have ash. Typicaly using fairly good coal you will have to clean out significant clinkers after 4 hours in the average forge. Clinkers can be heated to glow white hot but are not making heat.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/17/06 22:56:10 EDT

LG Lubrication; Most people are surprised to learn that the clutch facings most be oiled with every use and often several times a day if used heavily.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/17/06 22:58:34 EDT

Little Giant, P series: That is a 100 pound LG. It weighs between 3000 and 3500 pounds depending on model. The old models with the wrap around guides and taller frame weighed a little more than the late models. Motor or no also made a difference.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/17/06 23:03:50 EDT

Actually I've even seen bargains at Quad State pull in Sunday AM, when I was a little too low on cash to take advantage of them. Missed a nice little Moushole that rolled in with a price of $80 on it that way about 3 years ago. If all goes according to plan, I should arrive late Thursday evening after work with at least 1 buddy. Look for 1 or more wedge tents and a fly. (Look for the name tag to read Kevin Haffey)

That means there will be at least 2 metallurgists there (I'm counting Patrick) - any body else with a metallurgy degree coming?
   - Gavainh - Sunday, 09/17/06 23:40:21 EDT

I'll be arriving at QuadState really horribly late Wednesday night, after a horribly long flight; the penalty for living where the weather is good, I guess. (grin)

I'm really looking forward to seeing a bunch of old friends, some young friends, and meeting a new friends. This is my annual vacation and "continuing education" and I can hardly wait.
   vicopper - Monday, 09/18/06 01:25:58 EDT

Beau: I suspect it relates to the Quad-State Blacksmithing Conference coming up next weekend (Sept. 22-24). It is held at the Miami County Fairgrounds in Troy in SW Ohio. Next to the bianneal ABANA conference, it is the largest gathering of blacksmiths in the world. For listing of demonstrators go to www.abana.org and click on the banner ad at the top of their homepage. However, some come and don't watch any of the demonstrators, focusing instead on the tailgate tool sales area. Most years there is everything there from powerhammers to hand tools.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 09/18/06 06:28:12 EDT

Saw a polishing unit at Harbor Freight, wanted to know more info if anyone has. It's a tumbler type that uses crushed walnut hulls as the abrasive. Says it restores finish to old tools and steel, but how good of a polish are we talking here? I guess what I am saying here is, is it any good? Still cant find a decent electropolisher near me.
   - Nippulini - Monday, 09/18/06 09:28:09 EDT

Nipp, Walnut shells do fine for light corosion and are mostly a polishing medium. They are very good for lightly deburing soft metals. You might be waiting a LONG time to remove serious rust or scale. Where tumblers and vibratory finishers come into their own is descaling and deburing small parts. Tumbler abrasives do a wondeful job rounding sharp corners. However, selecting the abrasives and maintaining them is an art.

Normally you spend a lot of time finding out the right process (speed, abrasive, moisture, time) and use tumblers for production work. They are also used in multiple stages. Coarse, fine, finer. .

Vibratory finishers are not as delicate a balance as tumblers. The parts go into a gravel like albrasive medium that is shook by an out of balance wheel. The parts turn and roll in the medium and are abraded all over dependant on the durration. They are noisy but so are tumblers.

Both tumblers and vibratory finishers create a lot of fine dust that must be prevented from spreading by a wash of water with a non-foaming soap. The dust is composed of abrasive (often silica) and metal or metal oxides. If you don't control it you end up with a mess that spreads and tracks easily.

   - guru - Monday, 09/18/06 10:18:05 EDT

Clinker; Young Teen:

What type of coal are you using? Clinker varies between anthracite, bituminous and (even) charcoal.

Blacksmith’s Holiday; Beau:

It might be a joke; i.e. in the 19th century the blacksmith was expected to reshoe horses at need, even on Sundays.

On the other claw, it could be the feast day of St. Eligius of Noyon; (aka Eloi) a french bishop, who also served as a moneyer (minter) and metalworker. His feast day is (I think) December 1st and it was celebrated in a number of European countries as a patron day for blacksmiths and other metalworkers.

In England the blacksmiths also counted among their patron saints St. Dunstan of Canterbury (Feast Day 19th May), Archbishop and metalworker; and St. Clement, the third Pope (23 November) who was martyred by being tied to an anchor and tossed in the Tiber.

A number of othetr saints, both prominent and obscure, are mentioned as patrons in other countries.

I sort of prefer St. Dunstan, myself.

Any further information needed? Other comments on “blacksmith’s holiday”?

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 09/18/06 11:16:13 EDT


Ronald Webber in his book, "The Village Blacksmith" talks about St. Clement as one of the patron saints of blacksmithing. The day of St. Clement is November 23, in Great Britain.

Another revered saint is St. Dunstan. On the Continent, St. Eloy in considered patron saint of all metalsmithing.

There are good stories of Clement and Dunstan, especially Dunstan, who shod the devil with red hot shoes and kicked him out of his shop.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 09/18/06 11:19:37 EDT

"Blacksmiths Holiday"

Interesting- one question and several entirely different readings thereof. :-) Was it a general question (as I read it) or did it refer to an actual event (as Ken read it)?
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 09/18/06 11:19:52 EDT

John Lowther,
If you are really interested in heavy duty, low speed drilling, you might look into an "old-fashioned" self-feeding post drill (either hand-cranked or motor-driven). I know they often sell on e-bay. I have one, and it will drill at least a 1.5" hole (might drill larger, but that's the biggest bit I have for it). They are a bit on the slow side, but as long as the bits are sharp and you use plenty of oil, they seem to drill a nice clean hole, that and they add to the general nostalgia/mystique of a blacksmith shop.
-Aaron @ The SCF
   thesandycreekforge - Monday, 09/18/06 11:32:22 EDT

Hello Frank and Bruce,
I read your posts about the patron saints for blacksmiths. Perhaps you can corroborate the advice I was given regarding foundations for power hammers: place a token, charm, coin, or other offering for the “gods” to protect the smith from harm while using the hammer. The advice to do so was offered by a smith I know when we were discussing hammer foundations (once again thanks to all who offered advice and comments earlier). He make up a pattern welded token (complete with his touch mark I believe) and placed it in the pit and poured concrete over it. As I am about to pour concrete, I was thinking of doing something along the same idea. However, I’d like to keep my saints and gods correct. Since my heritage is Swedish-German, I was thinking maybe the right gods would be Thor and Woton. Thor is the Norse god of thunder. He is a son of Odin and Jord, and one of the most powerful gods. He is married to Sif, a fertility goddess. Woton is Germanic chief of the gods and keeper of covenants and promises. He is married to Fricka, the goddess of house and home. His connection to blacksmithing may be through Wagner and banging on the anvil, but he was looking for a ring. I’ve have an old wedding ring (previous administration) that I could offer for the cause.
Perhaps you, dear readers, could correct my misunderstandings about which god or gods or goddesses to address, what would be a proper offering, and is there really a tradition in placing the offering under the foundation for the hammer?

   Bob J - Monday, 09/18/06 12:18:28 EDT

Working Sundays and Blue Laws: Many years ago I had a service station. Yep, and old fashioned Phillips 66 where we vacummed your carpets, checked your oil and and tires and washed the front and rear glass while we filled your tank OR even just put in a couple dollars worth (5-6 gallons then!). We were open 7am - 7pm seven days a week.

We also changed oil and installed, belts, hoses, filters, tires, brakes, exhust systems, washed cars. . you name it. We also did some of what I considered "small engine work" on MG's and installed clutches on same.

This is where were ran afoul of the old Virginia blue laws most of which were no longer in force. You couldn't wash a car (even for yourself) or do auto mechanic work (except emergency repairs) on Sunday. There was never and still it not any profit in just pumping gas. To stay in business you sold other things and provided services. But the blue laws wanted to be sure that Church goers could buy gasoline and have "emergency repairs" made. The problem is, what is an emergency repair? And when does it become "heavy mechanic work"? The zoning guy told me I could not "open and engine". I asked about water pumps. He said, "Oh that is fine". I asked if he had every seen how much stuff you had to take off a 1970's Cadilac to get to the water pump and how many "engine bolts" sealed the pump to the front of the engine? . . . We failed to agree a definition. . Same with "emergency". It seemed that if the car could not move it was an emergency even if the owner only lived a block away and could easily walk.

But the point about "blacksmiths" being required to shoe a horse on Sunday and a Service Station being alowed to provide fuel and "emergency" services on a Sunday is interesting since one replaced the other. And in both cases the "emergency" was usualy no more than getting to or from church or going on a Sunday afternoon picnic. "Emergency" in either case not being defined as a life threatening situation or public safety issue but just the convenience of the public. . .

Now we almost have no service stations left, most haveing been replaced by "convenience" stores that sell gasoiline. And good luck finding air for your tires when you need it.

The farriers (AKA blacksmiths) of the early 1900's and the service station operators that replaced them are both on permanent holliday.
   - guru - Monday, 09/18/06 12:50:18 EDT

hey sorry i aint been around, i just got a good paying job rehammering jackhammer bits & until now i never even knew what steel they were & no one at work knows a darn thing, seems thier old smith wandered off & never bothered to tell anyone how. i found only one relevent page on the web so any input would be apriciated. THX!!!
   gypsy - Monday, 09/18/06 12:50:50 EDT

Gypsy, I can't remember the exact steel but it needs to be treated with care. I do know the process as taught by Grant Sarver.

Gently heat as little of the end of the bit as possible (about 4"). Forge as needed. Do not work below a bright red and never above a yellow/orange. Often a tip forms beyond the point, nip it off (there should be a machine for this as it is common - sometimes is it bad material or a cracked piece). Then quench in oil and grind the point to a short pyramid. Production rate is typically 50 to 70 bits an hour when setup properly (and practice).

For the $2.5 the shop gets for repointing bits this is all that is done. The steel is around 50 ro 60 points I believe. In the factory they are hardened and tempered but in the competitive bit repointing business they are not (as far as I know).

Short or broken bits are good steel for hardies and other tools.
   - guru - Monday, 09/18/06 13:38:27 EDT

Bob J.

The coin underneath is something that may have come from the practice of placing one or more coins under the butt of a ship's mast when stepping it. When I was apprenticing as a farrier, we found my first anvil in a San Pedro shipyard. It was fixed to a cast iron base, and my mentor, Al Kremen, told the seller he wanted it separated from the base, not only for ease of carrying, but to look for a silver dollar that might be sandwiched in between. Alas, no dollar was found. Al said that sometimes a smith would put a silver dollar under the anvil when setting up shop. I have one underneath my anvil, as we speak.

As for placing a coin under a power hammer foundation, that is a new one on me.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 09/18/06 14:53:42 EDT

Might also be related to the concept of a "Busman's Holiday" in which they had free passes to ride buses on the off or vacation time.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 09/18/06 14:55:31 EDT

Ţor would be your patron, generally identified as the god of working folks- smiths and fishermen and such. Certainly his hammer was invoked by all sorts of folks, and there was always an identification of Ţor with metalwork and crafts.

Ođin, on the other hand (sword hand instead of shield hand?) is the god of nobles and poets, and people who live short, brilliant lives. Ođin is the god of wisdom, but is also somewhat treacherous. Promises made and oaths sworn under him or to him were frequently redeemed in violent and bloody (if somewhat amusing) ways.

Stick with Thor, avoid Othin; bury a hammer or a piece of lightning-struck oak or engrave a hammer in the foundation.

Small, silver coins are usually acceptable, too. :-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 09/18/06 15:01:48 EDT

Coins Under masts:

A Roman custom (at least that early) it continues to this day. Archeologists usually look for the mast step, since if they find the coin, they can date the ship. To my knowledge, however, none have been found in the mast step of any Viking vessels. Still, we take no chances, and keep one in ours. :-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 09/18/06 15:07:55 EDT

I have a friend who is a Machinist, and he asked me if i wanted him to get me a chunk of metal , for a bladesmithing anvill, he says he can get any grade of steel, in pretty much any shape i want, and it will be cheap, apparently, what would be a good grade of steel for an anvil, and he said he can also get it tempered when he orders it, so , what would be a good steel to buy a 6X6X20 inch block of steel if it is untempered, and what would be a good one to get tempered, and to what hardness should it be tempered? thanks,
   Cameron - Monday, 09/18/06 15:09:25 EDT

the way I had it explained to me was that you put a dollar under the anvil when you opened up our own shop so that you were working on your own money, not someone else's.
   JimG - Monday, 09/18/06 15:50:55 EDT

Thanks Guru & Dave B.

The main issue is indeed chatter: I've managed to drill good 1" holes with this machine, but had to resharpen repeatedly before I finally got a good start because the edges of the bit got knocked off due to chatter.

Aaron: Somehow I had the impression that post drills were only good for holes up to about 1/2". . . I have had garage saleing friends on the lookout for a Coles (SP?) drill for some time. . . I know I passed up on more than one before I knew what they were, but haven't seen one since.
   John Lowther - Monday, 09/18/06 16:31:40 EDT

Block Anvil: Cameron, Your friend might be surprised at what you need for a decent anvil.

A square block 4" thick and 10 x 10" makes an inexpensive 114 pound anvil that is equivelent to about a 150-175 pound anvil in mass under the hammer.

Your 6x6x20 would weigh about 204 pounds and have a face wider than most smiths prefer.

Hardened and tempered the best would be somewhere between 52 and 58HRc. However, once hardened you will not be able to drill it for a punching or hardy hole.

I think you are looking at a $250 piece of steel before heat treating (4x6x12 1045 McMaster-Carr)
   - guru - Monday, 09/18/06 17:09:16 EDT

On Drills:
I suppose this is directed to someone who has used post drills longer than I have...
As I mentioned previously, I use my post drill to drill large holes (9/16" to 1.5") on a somewhat regular basis, especially in heavier/thicker stock. I always found it convenient because once set up properly, i could start the drill and it would more or less take care of itself. I'd never thought anything of it until Mr. Lowther said something, but is there a limit to drill bit size on post-drills? I'd hate to end up tearing up something in my old Champion.
-Aaron @ The SCF
   thesandycreekforge - Monday, 09/18/06 17:25:52 EDT

Hand Crank Drills and Machines: My problem with hand crank drills over 1/2" is horse power. A good efficient drill will make you sweat at 1/2" and will be drilling efficiently as long as you don't try to drill more than about 1/2" deep. Deeper or larger and you quickly reach the limits of human power. With enough gearing you CAN drill larger holes but with chatter and pauses. The chatter is from insufficient feed pressure keeping the edge in the metal. The problem with pauses to rest is that any time you back up slightly (deflection in the spindle) with a cutter it puts pressure on the back of the edge and just like flaking flint it often pops off pieces of the edge. So chipped and dull edges are the result.

To drill a 1-1/2" hole requires 1HP according to Royersford-Excelsior. I have a 1.5HP motor on my Royersford and it does perfectly. That is the maximum the belts will theoreticaly deliver.

A human can produce about 1.2hp briefly and sustain about 0.1hp indefinitely, athletes can manage up to about 0.3 horsepower for a period of several hours. So MAYBE when you are drilling a hole you can compete with a 1/4HP motor for a shallow hole, then rest. A typical small drill press rated for up to 1/2" in steel will have a 1/3HP motor. 1/2" is a third of the cutting width of a 1.5" drill thus this is about the same power per inch width of cut as the Royersford. So you can see where the norm is for drilling steel. You can do more in aluminium and plastics, less in stainless and tool steels.

Of course you can be slow, inefficient, have to take breaks and chip bit edges while drilling larger holes than you or the machine are rated for. . Personaly, I like to be efficient when using machines. They run smoother and last longer (are happy) and I am happy. . .
   - guru - Monday, 09/18/06 18:40:36 EDT

Champion Ratings:

#92-1/2 up to 3/4"

#100, #101, #102 up to 3/4"

#90, #91, #98 Back Geared up to 1"

#93, #95 two speed, 15" up to 1.25"

#96, 15.5" up to 1.5" hole.

#2-1/2 Up to 1" hole

#4, #4-1/2, 18" up to 1.5" hole

#5, 20" 1.25" holes in steel.

Note that the larger models were all offered with pullies for motorizing. Also note the above post, just because the machine COULD be hand cranked does not make if very efficient. I've drilled holes where 3 people took turns at the crank changing positions while the flywheel kept the machine going. . .

   - guru - Monday, 09/18/06 19:17:30 EDT

I was wondering if yall knew when galvanizing came to exist. Im working on this barn. One guy says the galavanized ag roof was put on in 1900 the other guy says it was the 50s. I says i know who to ask. so...?
   coolhand - Monday, 09/18/06 20:14:45 EDT

A quick Google search shows that galvanizing was done commercially in England as early as 1850 and was common in the U.S. by the 1890s. 'Course that doesn't necessairly mean they were making roofs that way in 1900.
   Mike B - Monday, 09/18/06 20:50:50 EDT

Sad News:

I just learned that our fellow CSI member and friend Bob Harasim passed away Saturday.

Bob had been troubled with severe stomach pains for over a year now, with no relief from the doctors. He finally went in for surgery on Friday, I believe, at the University of Michigan Medical School. I don't know what happened, but something obviously went very much awry and we have lost one of the most genuinely nice men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

"Coyote" Bob was an avid mountainman re-enactor, a good amateur smith and a truly premier flintknapper. I will forever cherish the gorgeous novaculite spear point Bob gave me at QuadState two years ago. His passing is a damn shame, but he leaves us richer for having known him.

If I learn any details of his funeral arrangements or an address where flowers can bve sent, I will post it. We will drink a toast to Bob at QuadState and remember him well and fondly. Resquiat in pacem, Bob.
   vicopper - Monday, 09/18/06 22:32:27 EDT

I wonder if an adapter with a half inch shaft or morse tapered shank are available for annular hole cutters, aka Hougen Rotobroach (sp?)? I know they are expensive as I bought their little set of 1/4 to 3/4 inch cutters for metal up to 1/4 inch thick and they work really well. Perhaps the right size cutter could be found on eBay at a reasonable price for the larger holes you need to drill. Since they are not removing the entire hole in chips (just the outer rim and leaving a slug in the middle), the power requirements are less. Looking at specifications for a small magnetic base portable drill they might say 1/2 hole max with a twist bit and 1.125-1.25 for an annular cutter. Might they work in a post drill?
   Bob J - Tuesday, 09/19/06 01:12:20 EDT

Big holes: I use a lot of hole saws. They require less power than a drill bit.

I once used hole saws to cut 16 1 1/4" holes in 1/2" thick 316 stainless. I also drilled and tapped 32 holes 5/16-18 in the same stuff.

The unique thing was the material was dull red hot, and I did it while hanging from a crane! What foolish things one will do to put bread on the table when we are young!
   - John Odom - Tuesday, 09/19/06 07:25:42 EDT

If someone could please direct me to a site were it will show me how to make charcoal, and my own forge I would be much oblieged. A friend of mine would like to know how to make charcoal.
I was also wondering is there any website that I can buy chainmail rings off of. After several hours of looking i have come to no avil and I am becoming very frustrated.
These two things would be very help full and I am a junior in high school taking ag mechanics, etc, etc, etc.
   - Rainman - Tuesday, 09/19/06 08:13:14 EDT

www.theringlord.com is where I get my chainmail supplys from
   JimG - Tuesday, 09/19/06 08:22:12 EDT

Charcoal: Rainman,

You can use the NAVIGATE anvilfire on this page to click on FAQS; then COAL & CHARCOAL.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 09/19/06 08:40:51 EDT

Bob Harasim Was a long time CSI member, a friend and a much better flint knapper than he blelieved himself to be. Many of us have gifts of his beautiful spear points and his unofficial flint knapping demos at SOFA Quadstate were well attended. He shall be missed.

Bob is the third CSI member we have lost in a little over a year. Jim Paw-Paw Wilson our first Chairman for whom Bob Harasim made a gift spear point for his widow Sheri, then Ralph Douglass who was one of anvilfire's first posters, our first vise Chairman and a good friend.

We will miss them all.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/19/06 08:45:45 EDT

Galvanized Roofing: About 1900-1910 Our old grist mill had its 100 year old shake roof replaced with standing seam galvanized roofing. It is still in perfect condition and has only needed painting twice in 100 years.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/19/06 08:49:29 EDT

Rotobroach and Sluggers: These require much less power than a drill bit but DO require fairly high torque and feed pressure. The Slugger system uses 1/2" straight shanks as well as others and a drip collant system. On a Bridgeport style mill you could make 3" diameter hole in 1" steel plate. The "slugs" had a small 1/4" pilot hole and could be used as blanks for other purposes.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/19/06 08:57:20 EDT

Bob Harasim: I met Bob in person for the first time at Black Iron Days in Hartwidk Pines State park (MI) last month. He was kind enough to demonstrate his knapping skills for me and others. Later that night there was a knock on my RV door in the campground and there was Bob with a beautifully knapped arrowhead for me. He would not take any payment. His skill was phenomenal!! I am truly sorry that he is gone from this sphere but I am confident that it is to a better place.
   Jim Curtis - Tuesday, 09/19/06 10:13:08 EDT

Bob Harasim at SOFA 2004
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/19/06 10:42:08 EDT

Hi - I am trying to find a source that identify's blacksmith's touchmarks. I've searced online and can't seem to find anything. Lots of info for silver hallmarks, etc. I have a very old hand forged fireplace set that is inscribed with markings and I want to try to find out who might have made it. Can you lead me in the right dierction of finding such a resource? Thank you.
   Mary Rose - Tuesday, 09/19/06 15:40:26 EDT

Guru, here's a link to the polisher I mentioned earlier. It says its a vibrator/tumbler.


Is this worth the money and effort? I'd probably buy all the abrasives listed as well.
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 09/19/06 16:36:58 EDT

Ptree- I did not see a reply to your question about a p-1080 little giant. If the 1080 is the serial # then it was made in 1943 and the "P" is the designation for a 100lb hammer that weighs roughly 3,000lbs.
   - Jeremy K - Tuesday, 09/19/06 16:40:52 EDT

Jock-- you have tech data re: Royersford-Excelsior? Please post!
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 09/19/06 17:02:11 EDT

HF Finisher: TGN, This is a vibratory finisher, NOT a tumbler. The "VIBRATOR/TUMBLER" label is ignorance.

These little vibratory finishers are used for deburing small machine parts with a mazimum size of about 4" and a maximum weight of about 1/2" pound. Just because it will fit in the opening doesn't mean the machine can process it.

It is a small machine for small parts. Usability to me means "Will this machine hold up under regular use?" I cannot answer that. However, I have seen similar machines in small shops deburing and giving an even finish to small machined parts.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/19/06 18:16:58 EDT

Whoops. . . my fault
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/19/06 19:43:21 EDT

sorry Guru I missed your post until now about the "p" 100lb GL

   Jeremy K - Tuesday, 09/19/06 22:38:56 EDT

Nip: Electroploishing if done properly will give better corosion resistance to SS than mechanical polishing. Electropolishing removes the iron from the surface of the material. This might be important on the items You make.
   Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 09/19/06 22:41:58 EDT

Patron Saint - I have a book of childrens poems, "A Great Big Ugly Man Came Up and Tied His Horse To Me - A Book of Nonsense Verse." Illustrated by Wallace Tripp. In it is the untitled and uncredited poem:

St. Dunstan, as the story goes,
Once pulledthe devil by the nose'
With red hot tongs, which made him roar,
That could be heard ten miles or more.

Wallace Tripp's drawing for this poem is worth looking at.

   Don - Tuesday, 09/19/06 23:44:58 EDT

Do any of you guys use hard coal in your forges? I have read that some blacksmiths prefer hard coal and I was wondering why.
   Mike M. - Wednesday, 09/20/06 00:32:12 EDT

Anohter variation of the St. Dunstain tale:

Horseshoe, Doors, and Devils...The Legend of St. Dunstan, 925-988 A.D.:

Why do many people place a horseshoe over their door to ward off evil? In the Middle Ages, there lived a blacksmith named Dunstan. One day the Devil came to Dunstan's forge to have his cloven hooves shod. Dunstan agreed to make the Devil's shoes, but instead he lashed the Devil to the anvil and furiously beat him with his hammer. The Devil begged for mercy. Dunstan made the Devil promise never to visit a door where a horseshoe hung. The Devil quickly agreed; and since then, blacksmiths and others have placed a horseshoe over their doors. The horseshoe must be placed with the toe up so that it can catch goodness from heaven. And what of the noble Dunstan? He did not remain a simple blacksmith, but became the Archbishop of Canterbury and was made a saint after his death. (And St. Dunstan is the patron saint of farriers.)

A second variation is St. Dunstan put on two hot shoes which so tormented the Devil he swore never to visit any place associated with a horseshoe.

A third variation is St. Dunstan, instead of driving the nails through the sides of the hooves, drove them into the quik instead, causing the torment until Devil tore them off.

Weather forecast for Quad-State: Showers likely Friday and Sunday. Thundershowers likely for Saturday. Will be a cool, but damp, weekend.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 09/20/06 06:46:05 EDT

Coal Preferences: Mike, The universaly preferred blacksmiths coal is high grade bituminus. That is a "soft" coal. Anthracite is hard coal and difficult to keep going. However, smiths often use what is available and develope methods to make it work. I suspect that if anthracite was the only available coal prior to smiths using coal that it would have taken much longer to catch on.

When the transition came between charcoal and coal smiths were very hesitant. Almost all coal has some sulphur and it was known from early use to make smelt iron that the sulphur made very brittle steel. In fact, due to the great forests in North America we converted to coal for iron making almost 200 years after they did so in England. However, the sufphur in coal has little effect on steel heated in the forge to work it.

Charcoal is still used everywhere in the world where good coal is not available including the US where it is often more convienient to obtain than good coal. With the reduction in heating with coal the number of dealers selling it has plumetted and this often determined if coal was convieniently available. Today many smiths have coal shipped by UPS in 50 pound bags. This is an expensive way to purchase coal.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/20/06 09:23:35 EDT

Royersford-Excelsior: Miles, Other than the drawings I have sent you all that I have is an old catalog which gave the speeds and HP above. The speeds and HP are the same for the 20 through 24" models. Since these folks are still in business there are copyright issues with publishing the drawings. I do have them stored on the anvilfire server for the future.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/20/06 09:28:55 EDT

Jock-- An old catalog! A Royersford catalog! Whoever's running Royersford these days ought to be persuaded, if the copyright has not already expired, to cut that precious material loose as a public service-- along with the musty-dusty warehouse they probably have full of parts and unsold machines. How about offering to make him/her an honorary guru?
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 09/20/06 10:08:40 EDT

Old Drills: It was just one page in a Ryerson Machinery and Tools catalog from 1958. The interesting thing is I have a Joseph T. Ryerson and Sons drill press that is the same machine from a much earlier date (late 1890's). The other interesting thing is that this catalog is full of Buffalo Drill presses which are esentialy modern style machines. I have a Buffalo machine that is also the same as the Ryerson and Royersford. . . Three identical machines from three different manufacturers. Then I have an Arora which is similar but has much heavier gearing. It was rescued from a scrap pile, is all locked up and needs a feed lever. But when put into operation it should be the best of the four.

The only other thing I noticed that is not obvious from the machines is that they came with either a #3 OR #4 Morse taper spindle. The 22" machine built in the late 50's had a "quick change" V-belt drive to replace the flat belt drive and had ball bearings.

The proof that these are the ultimate drilling machines is that they were made without change for 70 years or more and are still the best hole drilling machine I have ever used. They clank, gears rattle, they shake the floor and are a bit scary until you have used one. But they are a hole drilling machine!
My dream is to have all four setup in a row. They all use the same tooling and furniture and would make a great production drilling line.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/20/06 11:03:05 EDT

I'm off to QuadState. You all play nice while I'm gone, okay?

I'm taking my camera and should have some pictures to post when I return. Back on Tuesday, with any luck.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 09/20/06 12:47:19 EDT

My old drill press.

When I first set up shop, I was able to purchase a Buffalo drill press #124 from an old local smith, Mr. Cooper. It is like an oversized post drill, and it came with what I think are all metal, all manufactured components. It has a large rectangular base with a 5"D steel[?] column rising from the base. The drill press is bolted to integral plates on the column. The whole deal is a little over 6' tall. It has a gear shift, slow and fast; that's about it. It is geared and has an attached shelf to hold the electric motor. I put on a Jacobs chuck to replace the blacksmith's drill chuck. The original circular table is still attached. It'll drill a 12.5" center circle. It runs just fine. As a guess, I would date it between 1915 and 1920.

I use it as a sensitive press, although it has some odd wheels hanging on the horizontal feed handle shaft. One is a 9" ratchet-cut wheel and there are two gear-toothed 5.5" wheels, one appearing to be an idler; the other engages the feed. I have not used any of these three, because I'm mechanically declined. They are not meshed into anything that I can find. It has a four handled feed lever, but no automatic return.

I may be rambling here, but I've not seen another like it, and I'm still wondering about the three "dangling" wheels. Anybody?
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 09/20/06 12:55:50 EDT

Frank, I could not say without seeing the machine.

Most of the automatic feeds were belt driven. Many drills I have seen had broken or missing feed parts. . .

A ratchet wheel might indicate that the drill had an arm that worked like the ratchet feeds on the old hand crank drills. . .

I looked in the old Buffalo catalog reprints I have and the models listed were earlier and did not show an auto feed.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/20/06 14:36:35 EDT

I found this site when looking for resources to help me identify a mystery object found inside the wall of my 200+ year old house during renovations. I can send an image if anyone can help me identify what it is. It's 16" long, made from a straight piece of rectangular stock about 1/4" by 1/8". One end is curled into an circular eyelet or loop about 3/4" in diameter, the other end has been hammered into a flattened arrowhead shape, about 1" long by 3/4" across. Within about 4" of the "arrowhead" end, the rectangular stock has been hammered into a rounded shape. No one knows what it is, guesses are some kind of tool, maybe even a weird plumb weight for carpenters? Can't tell. If anyone can help me identify this and wants to look at an image, please reply. Thanks!
   Andrew Hofer - Wednesday, 09/20/06 16:40:04 EDT

Is the ceramic fiber blanket "kaowool" 2" thick, 8.0 p.c.f. density U.L. approved?
   Luis Torregrosa - Wednesday, 09/20/06 17:31:38 EDT

Luis, Raw materials are generally not "UL" approved. Only manufactured assemblies or components with very specific applications like electrical tubing (EMT). EMT is approved for wiring in specific situations but it's approval does not mean that it could used for food service piping.

What is your application?
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/20/06 17:42:05 EDT

I admire my ancient Royersford 21" Excelsior with a passion that knows no bounds. It has never failed to do anything I asked it to do. Wotta marvelous piece of machinery and human ingenuity! But, then, I admire my old monster Canedy-Otto hand-cranker with a passion that knows no bounds, too, on account of it's never failed, either, although it takes a lot more muscle. And my Champion, and.... Etc., etc.
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 09/20/06 17:47:46 EDT

Anyone got any idea what the better lawnmower blades are made of? And what the temper temperature would be? I've got some blades, definately tool steel, that I need to straighten and then re-temper.

   DocDrew - Wednesday, 09/20/06 17:51:34 EDT

Andrew Hofer, That sounds a little like half of a strap hinge. the other half would have a pintle that the eyelet would fit around. the rest is decorative. Post a picture no matter what-- a picture is worth a thousand words.
   DocDrew - Wednesday, 09/20/06 17:55:04 EDT

Andrew, I do not have a clue. Here is a possible guess.

Best guess, the pointer from a carpenter's level. Old levels were of wood with a pointer that hung down by gravity and were from 2 to 10 feet long - Joseph Moxon, Mechanick Exercises or the Doctrine of Handy-Works - 1678, page 118-19 (plate 8, G), text page 123.

The image shown is small and the pointer has an enlarged blunt end and no other details to discern. However, your part would fit a large level of this type.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/20/06 18:02:57 EDT

Hey, I was given a hand crank drill a week ago or so, it is in quite good conditioin, and still works great, it came with about 16 original drill bits, it is by the Canadian forge and blower company, of kitchener ontario, it is a canadian subsidiary of the Buffalo forge and blower company, its model number 612 , how much do you think this owuld be worth?
and, also, is it something that i can really use in a blacksmith shop or not?
   Cameron - Wednesday, 09/20/06 21:52:14 EDT

Old drillpress: If You ever had the oportunity to use a heavy duty drillpress from the generation that replaced these old flatbelt & open gear machines You would understand quickley why the old machines became obsolete. Not that the old machines won't drill a hole, but if You are expecting to do it expediantly the greater power, greater range of speeds & feeds, easily ajusted feed disengagment at finished depth, clutched foreward and reverse and infinantly greater rigidity of the machine itself add up to a vastly superior machine. Put all these features on a radial drill with power arm & collum and auto lockup and You have an ideal machine. Too bad they aren't afordable to the home shop.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 09/20/06 22:17:00 EDT

Value of Hand Crank Drill: Even though I have numerous drill presses, access to a milling machine and several lathes in the shop I ocassionaly prefer the hand crank drill for odd ball holes, especially work that is best hand held.

The original 1/2" shank drill bits are collector's items, are carbon steel and should be put away for a museum. Modern HSS bits are much better, come in almost infinite sizes but you will need a Jacobs chuck.

I do not know the specifics of this machine. Hundreds of models were made in every concievable size and mechanical arrangement and almost all were in production at the same time. A dollar value runs from $50 to $125 US on average.

As to usefullness in the shop they are infinitely better than no drill press and a LOT better than a light duty high speed machine designed for drilling wood and plastic (such as all machines sold by Sears since the 1950's). They are also wonderful when no electricity is available and when you want to add historical character to your shop. In general they are a good tool when you add a Jacobs chuck to them.

Their down side is that the columns are not as rigid as they should be and the small tables on most are terrible. Never drill off the support under the center of the table as they will easily break. Most are missing for this reason. They will also teach you what horsepower is really about. Up to about 1/2" you can drill holes fairly efficiently in steel but over that you will have to ease off the feed which results in chatter and you may need to ocassionaly stop and rest when drilling a bit hole.

I have a small hand crank drill in my shop a will keep one in my shop. But I would not go out of my way to find one unless I had no other choice. The big old drill presses we have been discussing above (20", 800-1000 lb, flat belt floor models) are infinitely better investments and generally sell for under $500 in excellent shape.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/20/06 23:35:09 EDT

Dave, Yes true industrial duty drill presses are much better than the old machines but what you find in many shops (including some small machine shops) is old Walker-Turner's, Dunlops, Sears and other wood working machines that run too fast for good metal drilling. For 1/10 the cost in the used market the old flat belt machines are as good or better when hand feeding and you need a "sensitive" drill press. AND many of those later industrial models had lousy V-belt speed change mechanisms that took tools and time to change while the you could flip the flat belt from one step to the other easily in seconds. Those in the same weight class were not as good a drilling machine as the old flat belt machines.

In one day we filled an 8 cubic yard dumpster with coiled drill chips from drilling holes using the most worn out scrap pile refugee of a drill press you have ever seen. It ran and drilled accurate holes after years of abuse that would have forcibly retired later machines. They were retired not because they were not great machines but because they had flat belts and those open gears that made them LOOK like antiques. But they, along with the Renasiance violin and the classic English blacksmiths' vice were perfection in their fields of design. There are very few things that hold up to centuries of use and work as well as any newer design.

   - guru - Wednesday, 09/20/06 23:58:46 EDT

OK, Ok, I admit it, I love old machinery. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 09/21/06 08:55:15 EDT

This is a note to let you folks in the "Den" know that one of your Gurus, Frank Turley, is not only a master blacksmith, but a businessman with integrity, which seems to be rare in this day and age. Recently I posted that I was looking for a source for forged rings, as I was building a custom ordered item in my shop which required 1/2" round bar forged welded rings with a close tolerance inside diameter of 7 7/8". Frank responded to my posting, took the order for 4 of these rings, and did an extremely quick turnaround delivery. The rings were exactly as ordered and exactly fit the specified tolerance. Thanks, Frank for your help, your skills and for being a man of your word - a man from the old school. We are all blessed to have Frank as a Guru on Anvilfire.
   - Chuck Harvell - Thursday, 09/21/06 10:02:37 EDT

Chuck, Frank is the embodiment of "What you sees, is what you gets." A fine man, smith, teacher and friend. (Frank, you may now scuff your foot around in the dust, lower your head, and say, "Aww shucks, fellers."
   3dogs - Thursday, 09/21/06 10:36:18 EDT

Your response a few days ago to blacksmith's schooling question was very well done. I wonder if I can pick it up and reprint it verbatim in our guild (actually woodworking, which I edit) newsletter. Proper attributes to the Guru's Den / Jock Dempsey will be given of course.
Bob J
   Bob J - Thursday, 09/21/06 11:31:17 EDT

Bob, Let me take a look at that. I wrote that here (on the fly without spell check) and would like to clean it up. It is thoughts I have had for updating the Getting Started article for those that want to pursue a more traditional education. It could apply to any field that there is not a specific degree in.

Bug me if I do not get back to you.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/21/06 12:03:09 EDT

What is the best method for me to fabricate a chuck and collet? The I.D. of the pipe is 5/16, I thread about 1/2" on one end then cut slices perpendicular at the tip. This will create 4 "jaws" that will close down on whatever will be passing through. My question is about the collet, I've seen some that look as if there are two sizes of threading, one smaller than the other, so as the collet/nut is screwed down the threading pushes the jaws together. I have no idea how to make the collet. Is there a better/easier way to acomplish what I'm trying to do?
   - Nippulini - Thursday, 09/21/06 12:35:32 EDT

TGN, The fits on a collet are much more critical than you would think. They will not hold metal pieces well if the bore is not straight and sized to within +/-.0005 or better.

In standard collet holders the outside of the collet is tapered and fits in a tapered hole. The threaded nut pushes the collet back into the hole squeezing the collet onto the part.

If you are making a collet to hold a pencil then clean out the bore of a threaded piece of pipe (a long nipple) with a threaded end. After splitting, half a pipe coupling will do as the nut to close the collet.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/21/06 13:22:26 EDT

More Collets: The classic machine collet is described above. Modern Jacobs collets work similarly except that the collet is a block of rubber with 8 or 10 "jaws" molded into the rubber. These are cut from roughly 1/8" stock. These grip exceptionaly well and fit a range of sizes not just one exact size. This makes a collet holder a multi jaw chuck. They are a nifty invention.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/21/06 15:34:31 EDT

I have not posted since I started my own business. I don’t even get much time to browse. I have done some reading of the recent post on running a blacksmithing business. They are correct on most points. I started out doing decorative wrought iron and decorative stuff with my CNC plasma machine. I do some forging but mostly cut and weld. Even that kind of work takes some artistic design to keep customers coming back. I also have been making store fixtures for one of my former wrought iron customers. I do whatever someone will pay me to do as long as it is legal. It has been a long and tight two and a half years. I did a lot of reading here at Anvilfire and asking questions of others in the business. Looks like we will make a profit this year and I have no debt. People, listen to your mentors on this site!
Now I have a question. I just picked up a hand crank blower. I says Keen Kutter and seem to be make by E.C. Simmons. The gears seem to look good but there is no stand or handle Is this any more of a collector item than any other blower. I was planning to use the housing and impeller to make an electric blower.?
   Ttownbill - Thursday, 09/21/06 16:47:49 EDT

Frank Turley is not only a master blacksmith AND a businessman with integrity, fine smith, teacher and friend, as Chuck Harvell and 3dogs state, BUT he is also a gentleman and a scholar, literally. Frank with Marc Simmons co-authored THE book on Spanish colonial ironwork, serves as a museum conservator, and has dedicated his life to practicing and teaching the best values of this craft. He also knows a lot of great jokes. Quite a lot of muy impressive achievements for a lad of but 29.
   Miles Undercut - Thursday, 09/21/06 17:49:10 EDT

Aw sugar. Now I am gonna hang my head and shove a rock around with my big toe. I wonder what being 30 and beyond will have in store?
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 09/21/06 20:25:06 EDT

Keen Kutter,
I did not know KeenKutter had blowers, They made all manner of misc. knives, axes, tools, padlocks, you name it.
It does not surprise me.

People will collect anything, Keen Kutter is no exception, Some people are HUGE fans of KeenKutter, Its possible the blower is worth more compared to a similar blower from Champion,Buffalo,Canaday, Maybe search Ebay for KeenKutter, At least to get a 'feel' for how popular KeenKutter may be.
   - Mike - Thursday, 09/21/06 20:38:15 EDT

I've seen on eBay a leg vise mounting plate that said KeenKutter on it. On closer inspection, some of the holes were drilled through the letters. It made me suspicious. I think someone took an appropriately sized KeenKutter metal logo and converted it into the plate.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 09/21/06 21:31:22 EDT

I rode into a large square hole by accident and bent my jeeps one leaf near the spring eye , it bent enough to lift the jeeps left side by 1.5 inches .H

How do I straighten the one leaf spring
   shaun - Friday, 09/22/06 01:33:44 EDT

I want to make some brass coins or medallions, just for fun. I am not a blacksmith or a metalworker at all and I know nothing.

I am hoping that brass can be heated and poured into a mould and I'm thinking I might make them that way - and I'm hoping you can tell me how to do it all: what brass to get, how to heat it, pour it and how to make the mould.

If it can't be done (at least not by me) this way, is there some other way I can do it? I think the material just about has to be brass, or mainly brass at any rate.

ab :)
   arthur brogard - Friday, 09/22/06 04:37:22 EDT

Thanks for the info Jock. The collet is to be designed for whats called the tube vise on a tattoo machine. The tube vise holds down the attaching tube from the grip (the large cylinder the artists hold like a fat pen). Most standard tube vises use a single hold down screw that usually crushes a tube making it useless. So... do I have to find a tapering thread tap & die set? I'm slightly confused.
   - Nippulini - Friday, 09/22/06 08:51:00 EDT

Cast Medalians: Arthur, That is a lot to explain. Yes casting works well for this. See links at bottom of this article. Metal casting is very interesting work and can be done in a small shop or even a kitchen. But it can also be very frustrating to learn. I have had more failures than sucesses but most of what I was doing was experimental. I would avoid lost wax (investment casting) for this reason.

To melt small amounts of brass like this you can use an oxy-fuel torch and a jewelers melting bowl or a small crucible. You will need crucible tongs to pick it up. You can also melt brass in a small crucible furnace. This will cost less than an oxy-acetylene torch setup and cylinders, will melt more metal but is less universal in use. For very small amounts you can get away with a MAPP torch.

To make the molds you will need a "flask". This is a two part box with alignment pins so that you can assemble and disasemble the flask. These can be hand made of wood but are commonly made of metal, especialy for small work.

The actual mold material is sand. "Petro-bond" sand is easiest to use. It has a special oil bonding agent and is reusable. The "Red Green Sand" in the article below is a fine Petro bond. The particular sand in the article is a special jewlers variety with the trade name "Delft Clay". When bonded with clay and water the sand is called "green sand". This has nothing to do with the color which varies from sandy beige when new to black when reused over and over.

Then you will need a pattern. This can be carved in almost any material. Machinable wax or hard jewlers wax works very well. I spent a day carving a medalian in wax and cast it the next day. About half the carving time was making it medalian shaped (round, flat). Wax patterns can be reused many times but wear out and can be damaged due to their softness. Idealy you make a wax pattern and then then make a durable cast pattern in plastic resin or metal from it. If you are going to make many reproductions you may want to make a pattern with multiple pieces on it so that you get four parts per mold and pour instead of one. But this is more advanced work to consider later.

The metal to melt can be scrap brass from a number of sources. Most of my brass casting has been from brazing rod which was bought in 1/4" rounds and cut up. Recently we made a number of castings from brass keys. In one of the demos below all the castings were cartridge brass (old gun cartridges).

You can also work in pewter (mostly tin) which has a very low melting point. This makes the whole process easier. Once you have learned to make good castings in pewter then you could move onto the higher temperature brass.

I highly recommend some general books on metalworking. Metalwork Technology and Practice, McGraw Hill is a standard and we have a review of, Metal Techniques for Craftsmen, by Oppi Untracht. Both of these books are used as text books in general metalworking and jewelery courses.

There are many books about small foundry work that you should study before jumping into it. The collective works of CW Ammen are very good as are Steve Chastain's. We have reviews of his books at Two More by Steve Chastain"

The following are glimpses and basic articles on foundry work. The two from our anvilfire NEWS are the type of operation I think you are looking at.

Molds and Pattern Making anvilfire iForge demo #98

Pattern Making Cores anvilfire iForge demo #99

Pewter Casting in anvilfire NEWS Volume 25 - Page 5

Brass Casting in anvilfire NEWS Volume 29 - Page 4 and 5

Lost Wax Casting anvilfire iForge demo #137

Happy Casting!
   - guru - Friday, 09/22/06 08:53:19 EDT

Drawings would help
   Nippulini - Friday, 09/22/06 08:56:03 EDT

Rubber Collets are great, but they are expensive, and it's hard to do, but you can melt them.

How do I know this? Lets just say hardened parts, very high speed, Cubic Boron Nitride (CBN) inserts and oh yes, glowing bright red long stringy chips.
   - Hudson - Friday, 09/22/06 09:00:36 EDT

Tapered Threads: TGN, Standard pipe threads are tapered and work well on tubular collets. Note that it is very helpful to taper the part prior to threading. For the hole there are reamers, for the outside you use a lathe.
   - guru - Friday, 09/22/06 09:01:34 EDT

Spring Straightening: Shaun, Unless you are in a remote location and have no choice, get a new spring. This is not a DIY job.

Depending on the bend (a judgment call by an expert) the repair could be done cold and avoid all the trouble of doing it hot. To cold straighten the spring you would remove it, put it in a hydraulic press and work it until it looked right. This is a common task.

If it was kinked when bent and cold straightening might crack it the spring would need to be heated to a red heat at the bend and straightened. However, after heating a section the entire spring would need to be heated, hardened and tempered. It should also be inspected for cracks. This is a job for a professional with professional equipment. A replacement spring would be more economical.

Although replacement springs may not be carried for your model vehical by parts suppliers there are many places that manufacture custom replacement springs. It is common for trucks to have replacement springs made and installed and these folks to it. You may have to travel to a major city to find one but they are out there.
   - guru - Friday, 09/22/06 09:43:52 EDT

arthur brogard-- beware the nasty, dangerous fumes that come off molten brass and fluxes. This is not a job for the kitchen table.
   Miles Undercut - Friday, 09/22/06 10:09:05 EDT

I read the posts regarding the quadstate conference. Looks on the SOFA website that it would be $60 just to watch on Sat? Seems to be a bit steep for me as I am not a blacksmith (but may get interested), is there anything for guests? Just want to watch and wander around?
   Carl - Friday, 09/22/06 14:43:39 EDT

DocDrew, if you abolutely had to temper your own lawnmower blades, no less than a blue- The liability issue is too great and the blades are too cheap to risk doing it for someone else. If you did do your own, make sure there is no one else in the yard. A blade tip flying off = potential disaster, esp if it hits the neighbor's daughter or my great-granddaughter. Some of the older blades had enough carbon to make a useful cutting tool, maybe something akin to 1084, but I think the newer blades are low carbon junk and you would not be able to do much with them. They are not even appreciated in Iron in the Hat.
   Ron Childers - Friday, 09/22/06 15:09:48 EDT

Hudson, That drawing arived in the mail yesterday. Nice old drawing. No critical details (dovetail dimensions) though. Must be a casting drawing.
   - guru - Friday, 09/22/06 15:42:02 EDT

Carl, I THINK SOFA will discount for one day but I am not sure. They have lots of walk-ins that they do not worry about. The folks they have been having trouble with are dealers that come and setup and never register. If you are making sales, you had better be registered!
   - guru - Friday, 09/22/06 15:44:46 EDT

Dear Guru,
thanks for the reassurance & info. I definitely won't sell anything. I am just curious about blacksmithing and think it would be a good opportunity to find out if it could become a new hobby for me.
   Carl - Friday, 09/22/06 16:08:51 EDT

Cast Medallion:
Arthur, As always, the gurus's response hit's the nail on the head for info! I have one more reading assignment for you though. I was a jeweler for 30+ years and the book that walked me through the casting maze was "Creative Casting" by Sharr Choate. I don't even know if it's still in print, mine's a 66" edition. It'd be worth the $$ if you can find it, and a bit cheaper than the Oppi Untracht book. Good luck with your project
   Thumper - Friday, 09/22/06 21:24:54 EDT

Hej 'Nip,
Whats the diameter of this tatoo gun tubing? I dont imagine its over 1/2" or so,,
Anyway Just an idea here since I am not too sure what your ultimate goal is or exactly what the part looks like.

Had you looked at compression type fittings for copper tubing. I have used them for lightduty collets before. Just happened to be lucky that the part I was gripping happened to be close enough dia as 3/8" copper tubing.

The inner compression ring should be cut lengthwise with a thin blade so the gripped piece can be easily removed or adjusted.

Good luck,
PS: Never mind Jocks copyright issues,,,
I expect someday to see an Anvilfire Logo tattoed on somebody...
   - Sven - Friday, 09/22/06 21:46:37 EDT

Arthur Brogard-- I forgot to mention: get a copy of the current catalog from www.Lindsaybks.com. Lots of books re: casting in it, and one specifically re: casting brass.
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 09/23/06 00:56:00 EDT

re: long-immured mystery tool with arrow-shaped head at one end of 16-inch rod and ring at the other: is the tool sturdy enough that perhaps it was a drill or reamer? Old-time drills from the pre-cordless era often had rings to accept a handle for twisting.
   Miles Undercut - Saturday, 09/23/06 01:03:40 EDT

Sven, the tubing on the grip is exactly 5/16". There are various ways to secure the tube, but most end up damaging it. One method is cutting a line about 1/2" lengthwise of the frame, drill a 5/16" hole in the center of the line. Then a smaller hole is drilled crosswise through the frame in front of the 5/16" hole. The smaller hole is then threaded and a tightening screw is installed.

I have a tattoo of a flaming anvil on my left arm I got way before I got into blacksmithing... go figure!
   Nippulini - Saturday, 09/23/06 07:43:07 EDT

TGN, There are a number of ways to do this but I am sure there are many other considerations.

A simple non-crushing method of attaching to a cylinder is a block of high strength aluminium (springy) with a drilled and reamed hole, a slot on one side and a drilled and taped hole for a clamping device (half clearance to slot, tapped the rest of the way). A thumb screw clamps the block on the cylinder.

One I saw on a nice brass compass to hold the pencil. A V-block (it was quite small and narrow only about 3/16" and 1/2" long) on the arm. There was a hole at the center of the V-block. Through the hole there was a part like an eye screw that was shaped such that it could pull the loop up into a clearance slot in the V-block. A typical oversize thumb nut fit the screw. The loop in the screw was flattened to fit better than a simple round. This worked very well. The complicated part was the brass arm but it was precision cast (probably centrifugal cast). There was also the problem of loose parts. I bought two of these for my kids but both were soon missing the nut and loops. . .

The advantage to the above method is that a full length pencil could be used in the compass. The loop was not so damaging as a small screw digging into the pencil. Other compass grips work like the drilled block method except the clamp screw passes through the center line and the length of the item clamped is limited and often has a slot in it to pass around the screw.

Most collet designs are tricky to manufacture. As I noted in my first response, the fits must be quite precision. Even the thickness of plating and anodizing must be considered.

1/8" SCHD 40 pipe has a .405 OD and a .269 ID. This can be drilled and reamed to the size you need (.3125). You can buy 1/8" pipe in steel, brass and SS. Short nipples are pre threaded with a pipe taper. Drill, ream, split, finish and you are done. A 1/8" pipe fitting could be converted to a nut OR you can make your own.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/23/06 08:56:25 EDT

TGN, Your other option is to find a small standard machine collet and make a holder for it OR adapt an assembly to the machine (I looked and most is too large and heavy).

One bar holder method used on dial indicator supports has a snug fit hole for the rod cross drilled in a cylindrical piece that fits into another piece with a similar but oversized hole. The inner part is threaded to pull it against the outer piece. This clamps at two places with a smooth curved surface.

See McMaster.com, dial indicators, accessories, "Swivel Clamp with Dovetail Groove" The bottom part of this part (poorly shown) works sort of like the above. The problem with standard Starrett stuff is that it is all for 3/8" and 1/4" rods.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/23/06 09:30:18 EDT

I was woundering if I could get some advice on heat treating some chainmail that I was making. Does it need to be annealed(?) first or normalized. Can I do the heat treatment in my oven. And would it be worth the effort?
   Geoff - Saturday, 09/23/06 11:23:02 EDT

Geoff, Maile is normaly not heat treated NOR made of heat treatable wire. The strength of mail is largely in its flexibility.

Even if the wire is high enough carbon to be worth heat treating (over 30 points) the springyness will be the same and unriveted or unwelded links will seperate on impact the same as unhardened soft wire.

Ocassionaly maile is cleaned and color tempered to a dark blue to reduce rusting and give it a nice color. To apply a temper color you will want to have the mail cleaned to a bright finish, degreased and dewaxed. Then for a dark blue heated to 570°F (299°C) in a kiln or oven in free air. See our temper color chart for temperature ranges and colors.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/23/06 13:04:46 EDT

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