WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den - V. 3.3

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 8 - 15, 2009 on the Guru's Den
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Punch lube used by the old timers would have been beeswax which it much to volatile. This was replaced by regular axle grease. It works but is also burns off quickly. A mixture of either of these and coal dust has been used. You can purchase punch lube from BigBLU. Its a mixture of graphite, molybdenum dioxide and detergent soap and water. This is applied to hot tools and let dry. Some people use Never-Sieze.

Whatever you use you should be prepared to replace it as you use the tools. Note that ANYTHING in infinitely better than nothing in this regard.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/08/09 17:14:35 EDT

oh yeah, i aggree, so think axle grease will be good, i can get that real easy, so are you recommending every heat, or 2 or 3 before re applying the lube?
   bigfoot - Tuesday, 09/08/09 17:22:09 EDT

Hello i am wanting to get into blacksmithing. And I would like to know what would the best metal to make tools and what temp. does it melt at?
   Elijah D. Russo - Tuesday, 09/08/09 17:33:11 EDT

Bigfoot, If you are going to make your own lube, graphite in grease works somewhat, but be aware of smoke and flame from the lube. Never-sieze should be avoided as it containes a witches brew of metals and lubes and the fume may be toxic.
Salt at these temps breaks down and gives off chlorine, which is toxic.
I have seen many different howe lubes reccomended, most don't work real well.
I can tell you that in the forging industry, they do not use sand, scale, salt, axle grease, plain oil, never-seize etc,
They do use graphite in oil, graphite in grease, Graphite in a water emulsion, synthetic alkaline salts in a water emulsion, with that order representing increasing cost and increasing performance.
The water based lubes smoke less, and are becoming more popular.
The performance improvement from the bottom to the top is quite large.
   ptree - Tuesday, 09/08/09 17:49:46 EDT

Elijah, Blacksmiths tools are made of various kinds of steel. Tongs and bending fixtures are made of mild steel. Hammers and metal shaping tools (fullers, drifts, swages) are made of medium carbon steels like SAE 1040 plain carbon steel and 4140 alloy steel. Punches, hot and cold cutters are made of high carbon steel or alloy tool steel.

There are thousands of grades of steel and dozens are, or can be used in the blacksmith shop. Most smiths only keep a couple types of steel on hand besides the steel they make product from.

Hobby smiths often use springs from various sources for most of their tool steel. Car and Truck axels are a good medium carbon steel. But these comes under the Junk yard steel rules (see our FAQ's page.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/08/09 17:59:14 EDT

Found this on my computer:
"For all your days prepare, and meet them ever alike;
When you are the anvil, Bear, and when you are the hammer, Strike".

   quenchcrack - Tuesday, 09/08/09 18:23:22 EDT

More Punch lubes. . Bigfoot, generally you dip every time you remove the punch from the work.

Punch lubes do two things, they lubricate and cool. Those that cool do so by evaporating and burning off. The lubricating properties are from the solids such as graphite. When you use coal dust the oils and tars gas off cooling the tool leaving behind heavy tars and carbon as lube. When you use wax or grease you get more cooling than lubrication. The lube properties work until the compound is entirely burned off. Higher temperature lubes contain graphite and molybdenum disulphide.

   - guru - Tuesday, 09/08/09 18:24:20 EDT

Elijah, Use the Navigate menu and click FAQs. Go to GETTING STARTED AND STEELS.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 09/08/09 18:28:36 EDT

thanks guru, will coal dust and axle grease work? it is what i can get reasonably easily, even new actually (why you make people who work on trucks like you :D). thanks again guru, and by the way elijah, get leaf springs and cut out the middle sections, i have found sometimes they do not harden properly and it can be a huge pain.
   bigfoot - Tuesday, 09/08/09 18:35:17 EDT

A little bit more on forge lubes. The industrial lubes tend to be designed for spray application, as in closed die, it is hard to evenly swab the upper die. Especially in a tupping steam hammer! These spray lubes are principally water in content to perform the vital cooling needed when a die is used every 5 to 20 seconds 3 shifts a day. Without the constant cooling the dies overheat and fail.
The bet forge lube I have been associated with was sprayed into/onto the dies between every stroke, on a system hitting every 6 seconds. The lube content was about 5%, and if more was used built up too much. But in that case die life went up about 200-300% with tha alkaline salt type over the graphite emulsion used before.
I was able to gain a sample, and brought it home and found it very nice. I gave a sample to Tom Clark, who later drove 500 miles for a quart of concentrate!. He used it in tool making and sold it. Big Blu's Josh also got some, and later bought more. It is used at Big Blu as well. Unfortunatly, the friendly dealer did not survive the economy and merged. That lube is no longer made, but a similar lube is. I can get a drum, but at great cost:( A pint, mixed with water is hobbiests lifetime supply, so a 55 gallon drum is not practical for me.
   ptree - Tuesday, 09/08/09 18:56:32 EDT

are you selling this stuff? it sounds great. tony the tiger grrrreat. (sry i couldn't resist)
   bigfoot - Tuesday, 09/08/09 19:03:05 EDT

I have personally found that drifts with scale on them will stick in hot work more than if they were freed of scale and given a little polish.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 09/08/09 19:03:22 EDT

thanks Mr. Turley. so i ought to grind off my drifts eh? will a good going over with a file work or do you need to work hard?
   bigfoot - Tuesday, 09/08/09 19:16:32 EDT

On the question of eating animals- If G-d hadn't meant us to eat animals why did He make them out of meat?
   philip in china - Tuesday, 09/08/09 19:32:11 EDT

Bigfoot, If you have a disc sander or belt sander, it goes pretty fast. If you don't, use a scythe stone or something similar. Take them to virgin metal.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 09/08/09 20:58:35 EDT

a punch lube that i like to use is saturated salt water solution w/ liquid dish soap. it works extremely well and the selling point to me is that it's so easy to make with ingredients you probably already have. to use it you have to first heat your tool and quickly dunk it and bring it back out to flash off the moisture and this will leave behind a white film. the only drawback is it will rust your tongs and your tool unless you clean them off and oil them. a soup can's worth gets about a squirt of dish soap btw.
   - Tyler Murch - Tuesday, 09/08/09 21:00:25 EDT

Craigslist Ad: I have seen the same one posted in the Philadelphia Craigslist.
   - Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 09/08/09 21:05:59 EDT

Anvil and Swage Block Ads on Craig's List The seller is a major collector in PA. He has given us permission to use his photos of some pretty rare and unusual stuff.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/08/09 23:39:35 EDT

Cleaning and Polishing Tools: Besides belt sanders (the best). One of the best tools is a good flap wheel. They tend to conform to the item as well as making smooth surfaces with a coarse grit. These can be used in a hand electric drill or on a small stationary motor. At slow speeds they are quite soft and make great smooth curves.

The next best is a face flap wheel in a 4.5" grinder.

The last best method is any cloth backed abrasive torn into long strips and worked two handed shoe shine style over curved surfaces.

Factory drifts are often cast and have a cast finish. They need to be ground and polished before use.

For hot punching it is good practice to have several tools to do the same job. Tools that are made of good steel and get over heated in use should not be quenched but allowed to cool slow. Having a spare lets you set aside the overheated punch of drift and keep working.

   - guru - Wednesday, 09/09/09 00:10:33 EDT

Hey Guru,

I am 19 years old and totally new to this and I'm sure you get questions like this all the time. Do you have any recommendations for and art welder in Denver/Boulder area that does classes or would be willing to teach? I used to live up in Minneapolis and I knew a bunch of guys who art welded and was always so intrigued. I understand that I would need to learn the basics before anything, but if you had any suggestions of what I could do in order to get a good start on this in the Colorado area...that would be awesome
   Johnny - Wednesday, 09/09/09 01:27:05 EDT

I have a 12" round piece of steel for a power hammer anvil. It's about 30" long. I know this is way bigger than the anvils used on Tirehammers, therefore I want to make the ram 25 to 30 lbs heavier. What I'm concerned about is the compression spring. John Wayne Taylor sells Tirehammer parts and the springs are made for Clay Spencer's 50 lb hammer plans. Can this spring be used or will the extra 25 lbs make it too weak?
How heavy is the ram on your new hammer design? I would really like to get a look yours before starting mine. Any updates? Thanks a lot.
   Larry - Wednesday, 09/09/09 04:11:42 EDT

Larry, All these parts must be matched for size. The spring and toggle ratios are the heart of the Dupont linkage design. If you double the ram weight you will need to double the spring. If you speed up the hammer (maximum RPM) the spring needs to be heavier as well. The maximum speed is a related to the mass.

Your 12" dia. x 30" anvil weighs 962 pounds. Since many new hammers are running 9:1 or 10:1 ratios that is good for 100 pounds. OR 64 pounds at a 15:1 ratio.

We are using leaf springs and very short toggles (less than 1/2 an LG or tire hammer length). This makes a difference in the spring (we need a lot less). I estimated we needed 900 pounds per side on our 94-100 pound hammer at rest. But we have the option of adding more leaves or stiffeners under our primary springs.

The goal is to have the toggles support the ram at as near a straight line as possible. Perfectly straight is impossible. A drop of 5 to 8 degrees is more practical. More and the machine becomes sloppy and uncontrollable.

We are very close to having all the critical parts complete. A couple more machining operations and we will be ready to do some assembly (testing the springs and toggles).
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/09/09 05:27:40 EDT

Welding: Johnny. For gas, arc, MIG and TIG, you need to take a regular commercial welding course at a trade school or community college. There are a hundred or so safety rules to learn and this is the best place. Do this first. OJT for welding is where you learn what you can "get away with" and often results in long term mystery illnesses. Go to school and learn the rules.

After learning the basics and the brief classroom practice you will get your welding will be marginal. After that it takes lots of practice. Some art schools have metal sculpture classes and you may find some kindred spirits there. Your local blacksmiths may include some artist/welders.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/09/09 05:36:44 EDT

Thanks for the info Guru. Are you making your own leaf springs? Are you using leaf springs to just to shorten the toggle arms or do they perform better? I am interested in this design because of the possibility of the spring popping out of the Dupont style linkage.
From what you wrote earlier, if I use the Dupont style, I will need to increase the spring compression strength by 50 % if I increase the ram weight from 50 lbs to 75 lbs. For example 2500 lb spring increased to 3750 lb. Is this right? Thanks for all the help.
   Larry - Wednesday, 09/09/09 06:08:02 EDT

No, We bought trailer springs, cut them and re-arced them. We pressed out the plastic end bushings and replaced them with 1/2" ID oilite bronze bushings.

My design is not the traditional Dupont design other than using opposing toggle arms. While I am sure it will work we are going to test it and make any necessary changes before releasing the details. It was also complicated to make some aspects of it. Depending on the amount of adjustability that is needed some of this complexity may be able to be avoided.

Overhead bow spring designs have been proven to work (ours is not this type). If you want to get away from the coil spring that is the way to go. I also published a drawing here somewhere. . . of a coil torsion spring system. However, this is one that you would absolutely have to make your own spring.

Let me research the spring question a minute.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/09/09 08:54:35 EDT

Larry, it is more likely to be a 2:1 increase for a 50% increase in mass. However, without doing a bunch of calculations and vector layouts I cannot be sure.

I just reviewed the Dave Manzer video to see if there were some specific numbers. For a 100 pound Little Giant he has a 5900 lb/in coil spring. However, the LG link arms compress the spring a small amount compared to the motion of the arms due to the lower portion being longer than the upper. Maximum spring compression is about 3/4" on his hammer.

What makes calculating the forces on these linkages complicated is that the leverage of the ram against the spring starts at infinity and drops off to a small fraction. The force is not just the weight of the ram but the weight and acceleration. The geometry of every DIY machine being different means no generic numbers can be applied.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/09/09 10:13:56 EDT

Hey I am looking for an anvil id. I have a 220ish lb cast iron with tool steel face anvil and it has a sunken 5 pointed star on the side. Who made it? I have been told its an American Star but I can't confirm it because all of the pics I have seen area raised 6 pointed star.
   David ODonnell - Wednesday, 09/09/09 16:56:55 EDT

un id'ed anvil: is there an F N or FISHER on the front under the horn, on the feet? if so it is a fisher norris, also there will be an eagle and an anchor in the star. whatever it is it will work, so use it and have fun, unless you plan on selling it, then we can talk ;)
   bigfoot - Wednesday, 09/09/09 18:25:14 EDT

Hello, just wondering if any one out there makes a cast iron griddle for cooking at camp? The only ones i can find are made in china. Also if anyone has or builds a stainless steel pot used in ships galleys to heat water on the stove...it is called a "Slut." A friend from Newfoundland turned us on to it last week camping and now we need one. Thanks Joe
   joe - Wednesday, 09/09/09 20:09:47 EDT

Cast Iron, Lodge Cast Iron Cookware is made in the US by a family owned business in Tennessee. Look 'em up.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/09/09 20:54:47 EDT

I found the discussion on punch lube helpful and bookmarked Big Blu's Puncheize for future purchase. Thanks.

Guru, talking about using multiple sets of tools so you don't shock the steel cooling it down - what about tooling made from H13 or air-hardening steel? Will it resist damage from heat enough to preclude needing to do that?

And on a related note, what is the formula for figuring the tonnage of a hydraulic system? I know enough to realize it must be some combination of the size of the cylinder and the size of the pump.
   - Stormcrow - Wednesday, 09/09/09 22:27:45 EDT

The point of multiple punches is to prevent quenching them if they reach a hardenable temperature. Its easy to make them brittle and then break them. Air quench steels like H13 really don't like a water quench. . .

Hydraulic Basics: Your pump does two things. It creates pressure (against resistance) and flow. The volume of the flow determines how fast the cylinder moves.

Suppose you have a 3" cylinder. The area of the cylinder

is PI x r2 (3.1416 * 2.25) = 7.068 sq.in. A gallon = 231 cubic inches. OR it equals 32.68" of 3" cylinder (231 / area).

SO, a 1 GPM pump would take 1 minute to move the piston in the cylinder 32.68". Or it would take 30 secs to go 16.34" or 15 seconds to go 8.17" and in 5 seconds it would only move 2-3/4". Pretty slow. Increase the GPM and the speed increases.

"Low" pressure systems run 2,000 PSI. That times the area of the cylinder = force (2,000 PSI * 7.068 sq.in. = 14,136 pounds or 7 tons). Using the same pump to get more force you use a larger cylinder. A 4" cylinder has an area of 12.
56 sq.in. So at 2,000 PSI it will produce over 24,000 pounds or 12 tons. But it will only move about half as fast as the smaller cylinder (you can do the math).

The pump's horsepower rating will be based on the combination of pressure and volume. To produce 10 GPM at 2,000 psi takes about a 7.5 HP motor.

A little 1 HP motor could produce the same pressure but only a 1.5 GPM.

SO, you start with your design parameters. How much pressure at the work (in tons), how fast the motion needs to be to be productive, the system pressure (determines costs). From those you determine the cylinder size, then the pump volume and that results in total necessary HP.

Then there are some general rules for reservoir size. Flow at pressure (the HP) results in a lot of heat. The reservoir volume reduces the heat up time and provides some cooling surface area. Convert the HP to BTU and calculate the temperature rise in so many gallons at that HP. ALL that HP goes straight into the hydraulic fluid. Assume no cooling and then consider the operating time. This helps determine the extra volume needed.

Design is an iterative process. You start with what you would like OR think you need, then run the numbers. If the results are too big or two expensive you redesign and look at the necessary parts again.

Most of this math is pretty simple. Heat up rates are often in published charts in engineering references so all you need is the HP and volume.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/09/09 23:31:36 EDT

Jock, you might just be the person to help give me some advice on this....... (not blacksmith related)

My other half is running a small 'sideline' business (needs must in a recession) washing horse rugs. At the moment we are heating the water in a 3kw imersion heater tank. the problem is our unit cost of electricity is £0.20 per unit (kwh).

Im toying with the idea of getting a gas water heater that runs off a propane tank. I can get a 47kg propane for £ 44 delivered.

Is there an easy way to calculate the saveing from using the gas (assuming 'average' efficency on both types of heating). Im a little stumped on comparing this!

   - John N - Thursday, 09/10/09 04:56:25 EDT

so i cast myself an anvil....out of iron
i am working on the steel plate for the top, i have milled the top of the iron base and will do the same to the top when i have it ready. what i need to know is how to attach it. any suggestions?
the welders i know tell me the best way they can see is to braze it, but not the normal brazing i have done. they say i should sandwich the brazing rod(or plate in this case)between the bottom iron base and the top 1" plate steel, and heat it. my question is what should my braze metal be, what flux to use and what temp. i know what im doing for the most part but still learning.
   james - Thursday, 09/10/09 04:56:49 EDT

For those who want a very handy reference for hydraulics and pnuematics info "Fluid Power Data Book" byWomack Educational Publications. This is a approx 50 page, jam packed, wonderfull way to do almost instant interartions for design. Most larger fluid power distributors give these away with their contact info on a sticker, so ask the local hydraulics shop for a copy. I have several versions, the most cherished given to me in 1979 at my first post ARMY job, as an intern in a Pnuematics/hydrauilics manufactures lab.

There is very useful info on cooling,pump sizing,resevior sizing etc.
   Ptree - Thursday, 09/10/09 07:04:21 EDT

Gas vs. Electricity: John, Most Propane suppliers will tell you the BTU of a given amount of propane and the BTU/h that can be drawn from the tank. This can be directly compared to KW/h. Type of furnace and its efficiency come into play. I suspect that in your case the efficiencies may be nearly the same.

Here is a link with some comparisons

   - guru - Thursday, 09/10/09 08:53:55 EDT

Furnace Brazing: James, This is not the way a face is normally attached to a cast iron anvil. The process which is no longer used required casting the body against a specially prepared steel plate. There are also questions about how and when the plate was hardened and tempered. This was done after the casting/welding and had to be done just right to prevent weld separations or cracking the anvil body.

What you are doing is called furnace brazing. You will need to be able to heat the entire anvil and plate to the brazing temperature then let it cool. You might get away with using a BIG torch and lots of gas but the top of the anvil will need to be heated through. This method is normally used to attach carbide bits to steel shanks. Due to the materials used no heat treating is done after the joint is made. How hot is determined by the brazing alloy. You could use plain brass shim stock OR lower temperature silver brazing alloy (much more expensive).

You can get brazing alloys that melt at anywhere from 1165°F to 1635°F. This is something to discuss with your welding materials supplier.

I would recommend using a hot work steel where the temper would not be effected by the brazing temperature. Have the plate hardened and tempered and then braze the plate to the cast iron and let cool. This would avoid heat treating the plate after brazing. H-13 is commonly tempered at 1100°F. This could be hardened and tempered then brazed on using a silver brazing alloy.

You also need to consider the plate thickness. It needs to be thick enough to protect the weld or braze joint from loads that would cause it to fail. I suspect this need to be thicker than a common anvil plate.

In any case this is not a straight forward process and I would recommend some testing before doing this large scale.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/10/09 09:30:33 EDT

Just wanted to weigh in on the punch lube discussion. Firstly, of the almost dozen books I have on blacksmithing, not ONE of them has ANY talk of punch lube. Not a one. I first heard of it here. I hardly do any drifting, but on occasion I like making hoop end handles, so I do drift. My house used to be coal heated and the area where the coal dump used to be is soil now, but loaded with small chunks. I powdered some coal, set it next to a cup of water. Dip the drift into the water, then roll it in the coal dust. The first time I did this I was simply amazed at how far the drift went through the steel. It really stretched it big. I have always drifted dry (none of the books suggested it), so when Guru says that ANYTHING in infinitely better than nothing in this regard.
   - Nippulini - Thursday, 09/10/09 09:40:21 EDT

Punch Lube. Check Uri Hoffa's site, he explains how he makes it and how he uses it.
   Carver Jake - Thursday, 09/10/09 11:24:02 EDT

Punch Lube. Anything is better than nothing. BUT, a lube that will stick to the tool at working temp, does not flame smoke or give off toxic gasses? That is a little harder to come by. If you add a bit of dish soap to the water, the dust will stick a little better.

But the industrial water based lubes outperform, and much safer.
And no, I am not selling lube. I did sell the remainder of the last drum made, as a service to the trade. Those who got some of that lube will most likey tell you it is the best ever.
   Ptree - Thursday, 09/10/09 11:58:01 EDT

That Star anvil is not a Fisher---looks more like a Vulcan, little distance from face to step.

Brazing anvil face: note that the cost of an H13 slab milled and heat treated and surfaced for brazing might very well be more than the cost of buying a good anvil if you go out and hunt for one!

The problem being is that the face needs to be heat treated *after* the brazing job is done and heat treat temps for *most* steels is above brazing temps. Use of one of the high alloy tool steels with a tempering temp above the brazing temp will let you skirt the issue if you are careful with your temps. Good Luck!
   Thomas P - Thursday, 09/10/09 11:59:52 EDT

Often the DIY process is much more expensive than buying the right tool, especially when you don't know what you are doing. The writer's post said nothing about the type steel he used or the size of the project.

DIY anvil projects work when the scrap metal is free or very cheap and the accounting of total costs is not closely scrutinized. Welding rod, the electricity to use them and grinding disks are rarely looked at closely. Add in labor at a microscopic dollar an hour and you can often buy a good anvil for less.

On the other hand these projects are often educational (you learn what NOT to do) and are done for the enjoyment of the doing.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/10/09 12:37:37 EDT

Coal dust is pretty good punch lube as it requires high temperatures to liquefy some of the tars. Generally it is used by starting a hole, putting a pinch in the hole then continuing to punch. A bit of flame comes out of the hole and it could get exciting if you put in too much.

For many smiths the best thing about coal dust is that it is readily available. However, it requires a good grade of bituminous coal. Low grade ashy coal is libel to make it worse.

For those that do not have coal available the graphite and molybdenum disulphide mixes work well. There are versions sold for bolt antisieze assembly lube that use solvent carriers and a small amount of binder. These would work well on tools prepared ahead of time. Liquid detergent makes a good binder and emulsifier if using water.

Generally I am in a pinch for something to use and the closest thing is some grease. Yes it flares and makes smoke but it is usually available and does the job. But if I was working on a planned job especially where the punching operation was to be repeated, I would have the tools prepared, polished and coated with a good quality lube, and have replacement lube at the ready.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/10/09 12:42:46 EDT

If the end of the punch is cool enough to hold some water, you can dip it into the water and then into the coal dust. The dust will cling to the end of the punch thus saving your fingers. Or spoon the dust into the cavity.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 09/10/09 14:10:32 EDT

The fan on my Canedy Otto hand blower had a cast pot metal center, and the sheet metal blades were riveted on. One arm of the casting had broken and that blade was missing. That caused the juddering problem. I have a bloweer junk yard at the shop allowing me to find a replacement fan. The Canedy had a 3/8" fan shaft and the replacement had a 1/2" hole, so I had to make a bushing...which worked OK. I had to trim 1/8" off the blade lengths. No more juddering.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 09/10/09 16:03:10 EDT

Frank, An out of balance fan will definitely vibrate and rattle the gears. One source of this can be wasps or mud-daubers building nests in blowers and on the fan.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/10/09 16:29:39 EDT

Just to give a few numbers, a watt is equal to 3.412 btu/hr. So operating a 3kw heater for one hour would require a little over 10,000 btu. My old Marks' handbook lists propane at 21,560 btu/lb. At 100% efficiency, your heater would need a little less than 1/2 lb propane per hour. (Sorry for the English (American) units.)

A propane heater won't be 100% efficient, though; you won't get 100% combustion, and some heat will go up the stack. Guru's link gives you some numbers for that. An electric resistance heater is 100% efficient. (I guess you could say 100% inefficient, since efficiency is normally the percantage of energy that does *not* go to heat.)
   Mike BR - Thursday, 09/10/09 17:16:25 EDT

One way to lower the cost of hot water is heat recovery, solar heat the feed water, use the dirty water and a heat exchanger to heat the feed water, depending on your process/cycles running the feed water through a black oil drum in the sun will save money.
   - Hudson - Thursday, 09/10/09 17:44:16 EDT

Joh N, Mother Earth News has plans for a wood fired hot water heater for use to heat a hot tub. If wood burning, peat burning, or even coal burning is allowed, you may wish to consider that approach.
   ptree - Thursday, 09/10/09 19:24:21 EDT

how well does a cast iron wood stove work to convert over to a coal forge. also i was wondering if you had any tips for doing so.

   - al mailhot - Thursday, 09/10/09 19:54:53 EDT

Guru: I think you need to to rethink the idea that "Convert the HP to BTU and calculate the temperature rise in so many gallons at that HP. ALL that HP goes straight into the hydraulic fluid." That would mean that none of the horsepower is being used to do useful work. I had one system that ran almost continuous that was 25HP and had a 50 gallon tank. If 1 HP = 2545 BTU/hr, then my oil would have gone up over 100 degrees in one hour. In reality it might have gone up 80 degrees in 8 hours. I believe in a generous FOS, but that's too much. Just want to keep you on your toes and not worry would-be designers too much.

What do you say, Ptree?
   - grant - Thursday, 09/10/09 19:58:11 EDT

Al, Generally not. A coal forge needs forced air from a blower into the bottom or the side near the bottom. The firepot where this happens needs to be shaped like a truncated cone or pyramid so that the coal falls toward the air blast as it is consumed and a hot spot is created. Forge firepots are also considerably heavier than cast iron stove parts.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/10/09 20:00:30 EDT

thanks do you think i should build my first forge from a brake drum of fab something out of steel that is enclosed to keep the heat in
   - al mailhot - Thursday, 09/10/09 20:11:15 EDT

Al, if you have the capacity to fabricate something take a look at the commercial fire pots such as on the Blacksmiths Depot and Centaur Forge web sites. While the shape is not critical the standard fire pots are the result of many years of blacksmithing experience. Note that the ash dmup and tuyeer in our brake drum forge plan is almost identical to what you would use on any bottom blast forge.

The metal for the fire pot does not need to be extremely heavy but it will last longer if it is thicker. I've seen firepots made from scrap hot water heater material that held up just fine. But 1/4" to 1/2" plate will make a great forge.

Coal forges are open except for the pot which helps concentrate the fire and make it more controllable. This is their strong point as it allows various size and shape work into the same forge.

Do not invest a lot into a forge until you have tested the locally available coal OR priced having good coal shipped to you. You may decide on using a gas forge instead.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/10/09 20:34:26 EDT

Grant, You got me there. I am used to high pressure closed water systems where all the HP was in use. It depends on if the pump was using all that HP during that time. I forgot to mention a duty factor based on working cycle. You also have a large reservoir which does have a lot of cooling capacity.

So, while moving the ram and doing no real work the total HP used may be 20%. While actually doing work (bending or forming metal) you may peak out at 80-90% of full HP for that time of use. In between (idling) 10% of the HP may go into the oil. The harder you work the machine the faster it will heat up. In a nearly continuous pressing cycle with short dwell between cycles well over 75% would be going into the oil.

That 10% is the heat that the system is giving off when idling for long hours.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/10/09 20:44:29 EDT

Brazing on an anvil face: I too would suggest a rather thick [1"?]tool steel plate.

If I was to try this, I think I would go with an air hardening tool steel that will harden from brazing temperature, like A6 [1525-1600f]. You could temper it at about 500f after it cools, provided the braze joint worked out.

Bear in mind that braze joints work best when they are only a few thousanths of an inch thick. You are hoping that the casting and the tool steel remain flat when heated. This is a real crap shoot with the casting, if You have a furnace available to braze in, You might heat the casting to red heat as a stress relief BEFORE machining.

There are furnace brazing compounds available, but probably not in small quantaties, and they are probably intended for use in a controlled atmosphere furnace but might work anyway. The brazing alloy sheet stock and flux as suggested by the manufacturer would be a good method.

I suggest You use 2 short loose fitting blind doweles to hold the plate location while brazing.

if the stars are aligned properly and luck is running with You, You may have success.

   - Dave Boyer - Thursday, 09/10/09 20:53:08 EDT

I'm not talking about idle time, I'm talking about the useful work (btu's) that goes into the work piece. If I'm forging a piece of steel, all that work is going into the steel, and is not available to heat the oil. Heating of the oil is not caused by the work that it transmits from the pump to the actuator. Most of the heating is caused by flow friction and pushing past a restriction or relief valve. Well designed systems run downright cool. I can't imagine hydraulics ever being used if 75% of the energy was going just to heat the oil.
   - grant - Thursday, 09/10/09 21:11:30 EDT

Dave Boyer: Good point about using dowels, I'm just picturing that plate sitting on a liquid layer and sliding right off, would be an easy thing to forget. Could probably use a granulated braze.

Now where can you find a nice piece of A-6?
   - grant - Thursday, 09/10/09 21:14:57 EDT

does anybody have advice on using a long truck axle as an anvil? i have a 4.5ft long by about 2inches (it is hardenable i checked) i think i will set it in a stump. i do not have large enough drill bits so i will carve a channel in the stump with a large chisel (or chainsaw :D) and then bend a half thick leaf spring around the stump and strap it in. ie cut the leaf spring in half punch large holes for bolts or heavy nails and then bend it to fit around the stump with the axle in place to hold it, but allow it to be removable, for demos or hammerins. and if i can i will post pics.
   bigfoot - Thursday, 09/10/09 21:35:16 EDT

So with a 6" cylinder running at 3000 psi, I'm looking at around 42 tons. Am I right?
   - Stormcrow - Thursday, 09/10/09 21:43:46 EDT

Hey Stormcrow! How ya been? If you're limited in horsepower (5?) I'd recommend half the power for twice the speed, at least for forge work. And/or look at Barnes hy/low pumps.
   - grant - Thursday, 09/10/09 21:56:07 EDT

Thanks, Grant!

Y'know, I'm still quite appreciative of that pair of OC tongs you sent me when I was first starting out. Thanks!

I'm looking at forging some pretty big stuff, big enough to need a jib crane. Power is going to be important. Following this guy's example: http://www.dgentile.com/en/ferrum-d-forge/kh_plans_002_press.html on his pump, I think I'll run a 2-stage pump. Is that what you're talking about with the Barnes pump?

I'm willing to spend some money to build it right (even though it hurts to do so ;-) so if I need to buy a bigger motor, I'll see about doing so.
   - Stormcrow - Thursday, 09/10/09 22:13:23 EDT

Sounds like you got a good handle on what you need or want. Yep, that's the pump. With big work you can actually sacrifice some speed for power. big stuff stays hot longer. Try to get the biggest rod you can find, besides being stronger, it makes a quicker return stroke cause it takes up space that otherwise requires fluid.
   - grant - Thursday, 09/10/09 22:55:25 EDT

A friend gave me a pair of coil springs off a 80' Vette and I've been making patch knives and flint strikers out of them, the metal is top notch and consistant in quality. I know that contemporary leaf springs are not to be trusted for either quality or consistancy, so my question is, were springs made back then made of better steel altogether, or are coil spring materials held to a higher standard?
   Thumper - Thursday, 09/10/09 23:36:44 EDT

LEAF SPRINGS: there is a truck shop i clean up at( where i got the axle i was asking about) and i can get drops from cutting the leaf springs off new trucks, they are really consistent and, at least i think, are better for just about anything but cold metal cutting tools, including knives and hatchets, but i have not made any hatchets on my own yet out of leafsprings. i think that the current steel i am getting i know to be 5260 for a fact (i read up the part numbers in the shop inventory) and it works great and is almost perfect for knives. i guess that the used steel is not good as the grain is fautigued. but i guess to each his own.
   bigfoot - Friday, 09/11/09 07:00:47 EDT

Stormcrow, yes, a 6" bore cylinder will make 42 tons at 3000 psi.
Grant's suggestion to go with a big rod is very good advice for any press that has the working tooling mounted on the rod vs on a guided platen. There are several reasons, first as Grant notes, the bigger rod make retract much quicker, second the bigger the rod, the bigger the bearing area in the cylinder head, also the bigger the rod the the less likely for the rod to collaspe under column loading if something gets a little sideways.
If you can find/afford it, extra lenght in the cylinder, beyond design travel is very good in a press. This keeps the piston up in the cylinder travel, giving a better support to the rod and bearing. What I mean is, if the total stroke the press will allow by frame design is say 6", buy a 10" cylinder, and the piston will be 4" away from the head/bearing, giving a better alignment when pressing.(note, extra lenght in a pnuematic cylinder uses extra air on every stroke, a hydraulic cylinder does not)
Guru, in hydraulics, oil gains heat from several sources, One is heat from fiction when moving,
second is heat from shearing in the pump.
Third, If oil at pressure is allowed to move to a lower or no pressure condition without doing work. A internal leak or oil going across a presure relief valve will make heat at the rate equal to Hp used to raise to pressure minus the frictional losses etc in the pump.

In handy little booklet I suggested, is a dandy chart on page 37, titled "Cooling capacity of standard steel tanks"
The Industry standard 50 gallon tank will have 29.2 square feet of surface, and reject 1.5 hp of heat, at 50F differentil. This 50F sounds a bit high till you assume a 70F shop and understand that most oil systems are designed for a standard max temp of 120F.
I like to design mine for 110F. A rule of thumb is that for every 5F over 140F the life of the oil is halved.
110-120F is actually very normal in industrial systems and 130-140 is normal in moving equipment like earth movers.
   Ptree - Friday, 09/11/09 07:02:26 EDT

High Power: Where you have to be careful is that if you are not in a industrial area with 3PH power your maximum HP without getting the power company upset with you is 10. Rural and domestic distribution grids are not rated for high HP surge (starting) loads. You may be required to put a special starting circuit on the motor to prevent dimming everyone's lights on the local grid.

So, you might be able to afford to build it, but the power company may come looking for you when you run it. . . Soft start systems can be very expensive. So look into these limitations if you are in a residential or rural area.
   - guru - Friday, 09/11/09 08:33:29 EDT

Brazing Anvil Faces:

I actually talked with a guy who has done this a few times at a BAM conference a year or two ago. He said that D2 is the best face plate steel since it has such low distortion during heat treat and therefore low stress on the joint during hardening. If I recall correctly, he used a silver solder type matererial. The anvil and plate are ground flat. Heating can be done by a forge, provided you can keep the heat uniform. I don't remember whether he had the plate heat treated before or after brazing, but I suspect before since D2 has a high austentizing temperature. He said this worked very well for re-facing anvils.

   Patrick Nowak - Friday, 09/11/09 09:03:13 EDT

Press Design: Note that the H-frame in your posted example is best for high loads. C-frame's must be VERY heavy to resist excessive deflection. Look at typical old C-frame presses, they are massive.

IF you can afford to do it, I highly recommend bolting your H-frame together (with lots of bolts). Welding is quick and easy but makes a machine that is very difficult to maintain in the long run. All you need to do is make sure you use enough bolts to keep the shear below 10,000 PSI.

1/2" = .196 sq/in = 1963 cap., @ 40T = 40.75 or 40 bolts
5/8" = .307 sq/in = 3068 cap., @ 40T = 26 bolts
3/4" = .442 sq/in = 4418 cap., @ 40T = 18 bolts
1" = .785 sq/in = 7853 cap., @ 40T = 10 bolts

While this sounds like a lot of bolts if you have 8 on a flange (4 on each side of the web) that is 16 bolts at one end of the press. A row of 5 = 20 total. The smaller the bolt the easier the holes are to drill. I would use the 5/8" bolts with 21/32" holes.

The above loading gives you a 4 or 5 to 1 safety factor and will let cheap bolts do the job. If you use high strength bolts you COULD use half the number and still have a high safety factor. Most high strength bolts are rated at 10x the above values.

Note that generally you want to design for the worst condition. These means the stall load and the pressure release not working. I'm not sure how much this is in hydraulics but a factor of 1.5 usually does it. If you use the calculation for a 10,000 PSI limit at the rated capacity then use high strength bolting that should cover it. This also lets you round the number of bolts.

12 per side (6|6) = 24 bolts per end. At 10 KIPS = 73,632, just short of 80,000 pounds. At a 1.5 overload of 120,000 pounds that is 16,287 PSI using 5/8" bolts. That is still very conservative using high strength bolts.

You could get away with a lot less bolts but I like overkill.
   - guru - Friday, 09/11/09 09:32:44 EDT

Press design.
If a C frame, a seat of the pants design rulle of thumb is that the frame of the C needs to be twice the depth og the gap. Overbuild should be a 6:1 for a C frame IMHO.

For bolted strutures, especially using the high strenght bolts, a torque wrench must be used to gain the strenght and safety of the many bolts. Otherwise, The highest stressed bolt fails first, and then a "ripple failure occurs" Seen it:)

Last but not least when designing for a forging press, remember to design for failure of the fluid conductors and cylinder seals. Think long and hard about where the spraying oil will go WHEN it fails. Spraying oil and a hot billet + a flamethrower. Note that I did not say IF, but WHEN the fluid conductor fails. I have worked for over 31 years around hydraulics, 24+ around forge shops with hydraulics. It is WHEN it fails. And I have cleaned up the mess from fires.
   Ptree - Friday, 09/11/09 09:51:59 EDT

Why Bolting? When I built my manual 20T hydraulic press I thought I would never need to take it apart again. The bottom of the frame is welded together and the head bolted on for convenience. The platen is also bolted in and so is the guide bearing.

Bolted construction also makes it easier to drill all those small holes for guards. As Ptree noted high pressure spray is as dangerous as flying parts. A small sheet metal guard that is easy to remove for maintenance can prevent serious injury.

About a year after I built the machine I was pressing some parts together and not watching the return spring. The spring went solid (shut height) and I kept pumping. The result was that I crushed the guide bearing assembly. SO. . . I had to take the press apart and replace the assembly.

the other problem with the welded frame is that the welds at the bottom pulled the two verticals together. I welded it with the head bolted in but I have to use a screw jack to spread the columns to remove it. . .

I want to make some changes to the press. Increase its cylinder size to 50 tons and raise the head for more stroke. The welded assembly is going to make this difficult. I need to make new bolt holes for the higher load. It would be easy to put them in the top but it is better to be on the sides in shear. The existing construction makes it difficult.

We recently moved the press. We disassembled it to make the parts lighter for moving. The frame without the head, cylinder and platen was a significant load to get out of where it was by hand. Luckily SOME of it was bolted together.

At the time that I built this press all I had for drilling holes was a little K-mart 1/4" electric drill. I had to worry in the holes for the 1/2" bolts and the rest were 3/8" and 5/16". The press was built mostly with a cutting torch and arc welder.

So, if you have a choice and the capacity to make those holes, it an really pay off in the long run.

We are currently building two power hammers. The frames are welded in one piece but they bolt to the base flange and so does the anvil. We know one of these machines will need to be disassembled to get it into the shop it is going into. A few minutes with a wrench and two men will be able to get the machine through a door and into a shop with low head room and no lifting means without damaging the machine. A few drilled holes can make a world of difference.
   - guru - Friday, 09/11/09 10:09:39 EDT

Got something heavy to move?? I once met a retired man that had a business installing bank vault doors. I ask him how he moved them, he said he just put PVC pipe [as used in sprinkler systems] under the doors.
I have since used this system and it works perfect. If you're worried about crushing the pipe, just use steel pipe. One problem though, if your cement floor is on a slope, your heavy object may move a little bit faster than you anticipated.
   Carver Jake - Friday, 09/11/09 11:27:01 EDT

Rollers: work great in some cases and not in others.

When we moved the above press it had to be taken through a narrow door across a deeply bowed or sagging wood floor that was also impinged upon by a bunch of steel bar stock that had stuff on top of IT so it could not be moved. Rollers worked but not easily. We still had to manually hump the load over door sills and debris.

Rollers do not work in gravel unless they are very large and never on soft soil. In the case of the power hammer mentioned above there is a soft lawn then a shop with dirt floor to contend with.

Rollers are a great argument for good concrete floors.

I have a bunch of 1" pipe (1.315 OD) rollers 3 feet long. They were cut this length as this is a little more than the average small machine base. The first set I had were all schedule 40 pipe. Many of them got flattened and spiral grooves swaged into them from moving heavy loads. The bad ones were replaced with schedule 80 pipe which holds up better under heavy loads. For some applications I've had to saw the rollers into one foot lengths. But most of the time the 30 to 36" ones work well.

Many of the machines in my old shop are still sitting on the rollers used to move them in the shop. I probably have over a dozen rollers tied up this way.

Rollers such as these are not terribly expensive but like everything else they DO have a cost. Along with the rollers you need wood and steel wedges for holding and getting a load on the rollers. You also need a full sized "rail road" pry bar to lift the load and sometimes to make it roll. These along with come-alongs, chain, straps and shackles are part of have a rigging kit.

Number or Rollers: The tendency is to use too many rollers under a load. Unless the load is VERY heavy no more than three are needed and most of the moving is done on one or two. When you have two rollers under a load you push it until the load is balanced on one roller or just past the balance point IF you can right it by hand. Then you take the roller out of the back and put it under the front. Roll to the balance point again and shift the roller forward again. Sometimes you need three under long loads or uneven floors but using two with one taking most of the load works the easiest. I've moved 50 and 100 pound Little Giants alone using this method.
   - guru - Friday, 09/11/09 13:02:10 EDT

I have part of a crew that moved 82,000# machines on heavy wall tube rollers, across wood blockfloors. The woodblock was over concrete,and was on the upper floors of a 7 story machine shop. We were limited by floor loading and head room so could not use a forklift. We used prybars to move, and wedges to hold. We did this type moves all the time.
   Ptree - Friday, 09/11/09 13:11:04 EDT

The problem with springs is that there is no law stating that the manufacturer *has* to make them from a certain alloy and that alloy has to be suitable for knifemaking.

If the manufacturer thinks they can get suitable performance using a different, cheaper, alloy expect it to show up!

Perhaps in earlier times they had less alloys to play with and so tended to stick with a more limited number of them.

Thomas---who has run into one strain hardened micro alloyed leaf spring so far!
   Thomas P - Friday, 09/11/09 13:17:18 EDT

It is with deep sadness that I have to report that I will not be attending Quad-State this year. My wife will not have recovered sufficiently from her foot surgery to take over running the house on her own by then.

Thomas Powers
   Thomas P - Friday, 09/11/09 13:18:46 EDT

ThomasP, Say it ain't so!!
Hope she well soon.
Now you can plan on next year, and draft Ellen as well:)
   Ptree - Friday, 09/11/09 14:32:39 EDT

Got my Caneday Otto blower today. The eBay experience was not great but it got here in one piece. It does need a thorough cleaning but it appears to be quite funcional. The oil filler and drain have been replaced with screws but that is not a big deal. Paid a total of $125 including shipping but I have to make some legs for it. Not a bad price compared to others on eBay. Lots of puttering stuff for the weekend!
   quenchcrack - Friday, 09/11/09 18:47:12 EDT

All right, a bit more background on the press situation. I have a second cousin with many years machine shop experience (ran a good sized shop [for our part of the world, anyways] until the economy took a dive a while back; not this current go-around) and specifically has experience building much larger hydraulic presses for manufacturing. He and his son are the ones I'm having actually build the press for me (if I can actually swing this project).

The design is going to be a double press: an H-frame for the main heavy-duty forging and a C-frame built onto one of the legs of the H-frame. That'll let me run two sets of tooling at the same time for things like punching and drifting. The main cylinder will be a 6" cylinder my cousin has. It's longer than I am tall, but he can cut it to length. I'm thinking a 10" to 12" stroke will give me more than adequate room for dies, spring swages, and other tooling, lus large glowing pieces of steel.

The shop area I'm looking at setting up at is an ex-architectural woodworking mill. It has 3 phase power (with the four-prong locking plugs so I won't have to have it wired directly), natural gas lines, potentially compressed air, cement floors, and rollup doors. And a forklift. I'll have to supply my own jib crane. :-)

Ptree - Think it would be a good idea to install sheet metal shields around the hydralic lines to protect them and keep it from spraying when there's a leak? That's something I've considered. I don't particularly care for a flamethrower suddenly shooting my way, or having hydraulic fluid shot into a vein.

Thanks for y'all's input.
   - Stormcrow - Friday, 09/11/09 19:35:32 EDT

D2 & Distortion in heat treat: D2 distorts less than an oil guenched tool steel, but quite a bit more than A2 or A6. There might be valid reasons for using D2, like if You got it for free, but other than that I can't think of one for use in an anvil face. Just My opinion.
   - Dave Boyer - Friday, 09/11/09 19:50:02 EDT

Stormcrow, I tend to use sheet metal as a guard of last resort for hydraulic lines as it tends to get banged up when using the press and not be intact in a couple of years when the failure occurs. Several good ways to proceed;

1. mount the cylinder to have the ports to the rear.
2. Use schedule 40 minimum, sch80 if possible pipe for the lines that are on the press. Use seamless, pipe. Use real honest forged steel fittings.
3, if the piping is simple, a pipe inside a larger pipe, with the larger one set up to drain leakage to a safe point is best. The outer, if in a safe from banging, can be thin wall, like muffler tube.
4. if using a guard, use substantial gage to resist hot scale, bumps tools etc. Think about where the fluid that may spray and hit it will go, IE will it just run down on your feet.
5.Install a "Giant Mushroom head" kill switch at the operator station and another one say 10-20' away, along the natural path you will scramble when the stuffing is scared out of you.
6. Install a LARGE fire extinguisher, close to the exit door, or at the second distant kill switch.
7. If you have a landline phone, make sure you can use it from the scramble line out of the place.
8. Remote the tank pump as far as is practical from the hot work zone.
9. If the tank holds more than say 50 gallons, put a float switch that will sense a gross drop in level and kill the pump.
10. Mount the valve where you can shield it from both hot metal, and from spraying oil on you.
11.Consider placing the tank unit in a liquid tight pan at least 4" deep.
12. Consider where the rod seals will spray. This is the hardest to guard against. A C shaped meatl guard to direct the fluid away from you will giave a brief chance to break and run.

AVOID rubber hose anywhere the hot metal can possibly reach, because it WILL.
Consider a less flamable fluid like ethylene Gycol, even though it takes more maintenance and the components need special seals. The tank would then need to be on top and the pump mounted below to ensure low suction head. Truth is this is the best tank layout anyway:)

Do not use: cast iron hardware store fittings, plastic tube, unknown quality pipe or tube, copper tube etc. USE steel, and steel forged fittings. Pasy attention to any pipe threaded fittings.

   ptree - Friday, 09/11/09 20:41:09 EDT

Stormcrow, PS, use a little of that overlong cylinder to get that piston up away from the cap as I noted this morning. Good insurance, and will help the rod seals last. Be aware that if this is a tierod cylinder, the tierods will be roll threaded, and can not be cut threaded if shortened. If your source is used to cutting down cylinders he will be aware.
   ptree - Friday, 09/11/09 20:47:07 EDT

Just out of curiosity...when I was a small boy, I remember my grandpa having a coal or charcoal forge. It consisted of a round pan on a tripod, then there was a crank on the side, I would turn the crank as fast as I could ,let go and watch it spin ( had a flywheel ), I believe there were fan blades below the opening at the bottom. Got any info on it ?
   Mike T. - Friday, 09/11/09 21:50:48 EDT

Thomas P.

Will send up a prayer for your wife's recovery.
   Mike T. - Friday, 09/11/09 22:08:22 EDT

Mike, Once upon a time. . long long ago there was three major manufacturers of blacksmiths forges, blowers and other equipment. There was also a half dozen more small manufacturers and hardware chains that had these tools made. There were probably more than 300 different size and model forges made from the 1880's until the 1950's.

The majority and most popular of all these had hand crank blowers. So your childhood memory could have been any one of hundreds of forges all similar in design.

The hand crank turned a large fan that turned about 40 times faster than the hand crank. The fan was relatively large in diameter and thus gave that flywheel effect.

These old forges are still quite poplar but many smiths lacking a small boy to turn the crank often use motorized blowers. But for some jobs the hand crank gives the best control. For some examples see:

Champion Catalog

Buffalo Catalog:
   - guru - Saturday, 09/12/09 01:31:39 EDT

thanks for the pointers on gas 'v' electric for water heating for the laundry.

As I see it from the numbers you have knidly posted I will be running at about £0.25 cost of propane -V- £0.60 electricity for the same 'energy' in an hour. (10,000 btu)

I had a couple of other thoughts as to the advantages of propane, the water will be heated and straight into the drum of the washing machine, (so what we heat is what we use)

With the electric imersion heater there is a couple of hours warm up time on the tank, then after a couple of loads of washing there is still some hot water in the tank which cools as I unplug the heater (might be a couple of days before Its needed again, so cant leave it on) - this rather negates the 100% efficieny of the heating element!

I might look into heat recovery systems in the future if the 'business' ever gets bigger, though the foul water from horse blankets really is foul, and I would have concerns about the relibility of a recovery system having that flushing through it (sludge!)

Ill start hunting ebay for a big 'RV' water heater or similar!
   - John N - Saturday, 09/12/09 05:06:03 EDT

Hey guys, Like how this site gets me thinking 'out of the box'

Its just dawned on me ive got a big industrial Karcher steam cleaner thats sitting next to the washing machine. It can run on diesel / fuel oil etc. Now Im guessing the boiler on that is pretty efficent, its rated at 3L fuel consumption per hour, but has a flow rate of ?500L per hour @40 degress) (the specs state between 350 & 700 l per hour, so im guessing a mid figure @ 40 degrees)

If I took the spray jet off the lance, and fed it into a holding tank can anyone see any major disadvantages?

In the UK we can buy 'red diesel' for non transport use that doesnt incur fuel duty, which brings the cost to about £0.50L instead of the £1.20 we pay at the pump for automotive use)

The steamer & washing machine are set up in the corner of a VERY big factory, so im not worried about asphixiation from the boiler!

All these questions have been bought about by the frankly stupid amount we have to pay for energy now. In one of my bays we pay £ 0.20p per KWH for the electric, the other 0.25p (the current exchange rate = $usd 0.40 KWH)

Not to far in the past it was 0.06p, I understand the environmental necessity of being more efficent, but its when it his the wallet it becomes urgent!

(sorry to be so off topic with the water heating posts, but the collective blacksmith knowledge on this site on efficency,'back yard engineering' and practical ways of doing things makes me ask :)
   - John N - Saturday, 09/12/09 05:51:15 EDT

Energy costs are a serious issue for everyone, especially businesses. "world oil" prices seem to skew costs so that some producing nations have costs higher than those that do not. . . it is a world filled with schemers and profiteers that somehow always come out on top.

One thing that can help a hot water system is to insulate the tanks better and insulate the pipes as well. Using any kind of "free" energy can reduce costs greatly. While solar is not always very efficient or dependable in some places it can be a great assist. Warming a large feed tank a few degrees that supplies your heater can mean big savings in the long run.

Many years ago we had solar hot water from simply running a long length of hose across a tin roof. The hose was not all that long but it was enough for a quick shower. Simple systems like this work when freezing is not a problem.

Changing fuels often offers savings but the folks that sell fuels (from charcoal to uranium) keep adjusting things to that "world" price per BTU. The sick thing was when they tied corn and sugar to oil prices last year . . . this has caused a huge surge in food prices globally over a misconception that these products could replace oil.

So, when you make that fuel change keep an eye on changing markets. The "cheaper" fuel often does not stay the cheaper fuel once the powers that be catch on.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/12/09 12:31:06 EDT


If you have to run the pump on the steam cleaner, you'd have that electricity usage to take into account. From your description and what little I know of such things, it sounds like a high pressure hot water washer. Running a high pressure pump can't be free. But maybe you can bypass it.
   Mike BR - Saturday, 09/12/09 19:48:27 EDT

My wife used to tell an amusing story about how all the cooking oil disappeared from the stores in Taiwan during the '70s oil shock. At that time, relatively few on the island could afford cars, and no one heated their house (some do now; Taipei does get chilly in the winter). So for the typical housewife, "oil" meant cooking oil. When word spread of an oil shortage, there was a run on the grocery stores.

It turns out they were just a few decades ahead of their time.
   Mike BR - Saturday, 09/12/09 21:34:24 EDT

Mike, good point on the pump on the steam cleaner, its 2.2kw, but it also supplies the blower to the boiler so cant be bypassed.

I popped the spray jet off the steam cleaner, and it put out 8 l of very hot (?80 degree) water in 1 min. (I weighed it in a bucket, high tech eh :)

by my recconing at 3 litre of diesel hr @ 50p litre thats 2.5p a min diesel, & say, .5p electric for the pump = 15p for 40 litres of very hot water (more than enough for 1 load of laundry) this is 25% ( a quarter ) of the cost of using the electric emersion heater !!!

now that will add up to some savings at 10 loads a week :)

thanks for the help guys.
   - John N - Sunday, 09/13/09 04:50:50 EDT

Thomas - sorry to hear you won't make Quad State this year. WRT to coil spring steel for autos, in the late 1970's the only alloy bar Crucible Steel's Midland, PA plant sold to the auto industry was 5160. In 1981, I went to work for J & L Research - one of the first projects was to work on a micro-alloyed steel to replace 5160 in automotive coil springs. That job was par of a permanent expansion and de-expansion of their research force that occurred around the steel industry down-turn in the 1980's. About 4, or 5 years ago I was reading in Metal's Progress, the American Society for Metals member's magazine, the announcement of the commercial roll-out of micro-alloyed steels for automotive coil springs. I have not heard of them being applied to leaf springs - that doesn't mean that they haven't been, just that I haven't run across a mention of them being applied. They may not have been, as the manufacturing methods we were looking at back in 1981 would not be as conducive to leaf spring manufacture as they were to coil spring manufacture. The micro-alloyed steels we were looking at used small quantities of niobium (in the US, often called columbium) and nitrogen and controlled cooling from coiling temperature to achieve the desired spring properties. Carbon content was around 0.20 %, and they had other intentional alloying elements as well such as manganese. I can't remember the levels of any of the elements - too long ago and to many other jobs.
   - Gavainh - Sunday, 09/13/09 07:53:50 EDT


I've just completed my first attempt at blacksmithing, and found what looks like bubbly dark nuggets of glass where the charcoal was. Is this normal?

I used stacked white house brick(not fire brick)to hold real maple charcoal(not coal and not brickets) and set it up on a large cast-iron plate. I used a blower to fan the charcoal and was using o1 tool steel, if that matters any. The steel got to an orange color, and the forge was running for about an hour.

The next day I unstacked the bricks and found that the bottom ones had yellowed and were crumbly.

So did I make glass from the sand/quarts that was in the house brick?

   - Roger - Sunday, 09/13/09 16:20:09 EDT

As previously mentioned, I bought a Canedy-Otto Tiger blower on eBay. It arrived and I fabricated legs for it this weekend since it had none. I filled the gear box to the plug and it ran very smooth. I determined that the legs were not held into the bracket tight enough so I took the blower off of the bracket that held the legs. I laid the blower down with the intake hole to the floor and the gearbox promptly emptied onto my garage floor. Is this normal? Is there an oil overflow inside the fan housing or is there a breach somewhere there shouldn't be?
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 09/13/09 19:03:22 EDT

Roger, Any impurities in the fuel or sand from the bricks can form glassy residue or clinkers under the right conditions. Charcoal often has sand or dirt in it that is non combustible.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/13/09 20:05:04 EDT

QC, The only position that these old devices hold oil is in the level operating position.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/13/09 20:07:34 EDT

John N: If You can find a cheap /used gas fired demand water heater, that would be a good way to go, as You arn't heating a quantity of water that doesn't end up being used, as they hold little and only fire when there is water demand. Completly automatic. They are quite common in UK & Europe, I understand, only starting to catch on in the states.

Where I live in Pensylvania, solar water heating works well about 180-200 days per year. Some of the other days it works to a lesser degree and still needs to have the temperature raised by conventional means.
   - Dave Boyer - Sunday, 09/13/09 22:05:52 EDT

commercial charcoal may also come with such nuggets buried in the load from the original coaling.

Thanks for the good wishes for my wife; she is doing very well; she just will not be up to holding down the house on her own for a week at Quad-State time.

   ThomasP - Sunday, 09/13/09 22:16:59 EDT

Thomas P.

Just a thought....get a wheelchair maybe, an assistant, take her with you. I think getting out might be good
medicine for her. I broke my neck and was paralyzed many years ago....but when I made it out of the hospital, I went to the deer camp, my buddies carried me through the woods, set me in a chair, in all, I killed six deer from a chair....best therapy I ever had. :)
   Mike T. - Sunday, 09/13/09 22:39:55 EDT

Hi Gentlepeople,

I am a newbie blacksmith and have aquired some 30 inch maple stumps of varying lengths, and would like to build a solid anvil base and perhaps a jackvise stand. I found some simple plans online but cannot find info on how to bind them with iron to hinder splitting. Any info on how this is done properly to last a lifetime or two? So far I plan to router out 3 legs and a shape of my 139# peter wright anvil on the top. I thought that perhaps I might router the anvil shape deep enough to add a layer of sand to deaden noise and make it self leveling, but that is just an idea. Any info on binding wood with iron is appreciated. Thanks.
   KSB - Monday, 09/14/09 09:49:51 EDT

Stumps: KSB, Generally Blacksmiths anvil stumps are not bound. Part of the problem is that until the wood it 100% dry (for the local conditions) it continues to shrink. IF you shrink a band on a stump that has air dried for several years the band will likely be loose by the next season. The other problem is wood grain direction. Most large parts are made with the wood grain going roughly parallel to the outside of the item or with the center removed. There is something like a 10-1 difference in radial and linear shrinkage of woods.

Bowl turners soak the stump for several years in an ethylene glycol (I think) solution to replace all the moisture and prevent shrinking. This requires drums large enough to put the stumps in and fill with the liquid. Check into so wood working sources if you want to go this route.

Normally a stump is carefully cut to length as the anvil height is the critical dimension. Then spikes are driven in around the anvil to hold it into place. I prefer fitted wood blocks between the legs. Your plan to inlet the anvil will work but is a lot of labor. It will also only fit one anvil which may be replaced in the future

Greenwwod Oak Stump Some smiths trim away all the extra stump outside the anvil feet. There is good reason for this. The smith often wants to get close to the anvil (should) from many different positions. They trim the block square tapering to a slightly larger base. I also relieve the center of the stump so that it does not rock on high spots.
LEFT: Solid Oak stump by Josh Greenwood, 450 pound anvil.

The short stump will check or crack but these do not hurt the strength of the stump. If you insist on shrinking a band on it then you will need to force dry the stump or store it an attic for a number of years (5 or more).
   - guru - Monday, 09/14/09 10:16:20 EDT

There are few references on shrinking bands as it is primarily the specialty of wheel wrights and coopers. Modern coopers make bands to fit but do not shrink them on, they relay on the tapering sides of the barrel. The rules for tires do not apply to solid hubs due to grain direction and joints.

Bealer's The Art of Blacksmithing has a little on tires. Eric Sloane probably has something but I would have to look through the entire series. The Foxfire books have a long article on wagon building which again has a section on tires. However, I think they gloss over the hub. . . Probably because many wheel wrights were using commercial hubs for a very long time.
   - guru - Monday, 09/14/09 11:04:04 EDT

Make your metal band so that it fits tight now. As the stump shrinks you can drive in metal wedges with various tool holders welded to them. It worked for me.
   Carver Jake - Monday, 09/14/09 12:18:29 EDT

The one stump I did this with was from an old log pulled from the creek. I cut a piece for a stump and let it dry for two years in the corner of the shop. It was an ancient looking thing that appeared to have been part of a log cabin or something prior to ending up in the creek.

After it had dried and checked thoroughly I cut a ledge in the top edge and fitted a band to it. The ledge was to help make it slightly more round than it started. A band was made from an old wagon tire and tightly fitted. . .

I used it to mount a vise rather than an anvil stump. A couple years later, I noticed the band was loose. On close inspection the band had 3/4" of play on two sides. . . In other years (really dry) I've seen 1" gaps. . .

One day I may fix it.
   - guru - Monday, 09/14/09 12:42:30 EDT

Quenchcrack. That's normal. The oil likely flowed out the shaft that the fan is mounted too. I'll get the same with mine when I set them down that way. As long as it isn't bleeding like that when it is mounted and filled to the proper level you are all good.
   Martin - Monday, 09/14/09 13:46:57 EDT

Thanks much for the helpful info. You guys are great!
So far will revise my idea to:
1. square the stump instead of round
2. taper the stump a bit, and make routered legs
3. make band with adjustable bolt and position under horn
4. make attachment for small tools on band
5. router out anvil shape, because I plan to keep this anvil forever and I have another stump for my next LARGER anvil.
6. leave a few inches around the anvil just in case I wear this anvil out and HAVE to get a larger one soon. (-:

I like functionality over looks, and wouldn't go to much trouble except this tree in particular was planted the year my wife was born and comes from her homeplace, and thus has some sentimental value.
Thanks again and keep the ideas coming if you have any...I'll keep checking in for further info. You've already changed my mind...keep on.
   KSB - Monday, 09/14/09 14:23:18 EDT

KSB, We have an iForge demo on anvil stands that has a full range of variations.
   - guru - Monday, 09/14/09 17:24:18 EDT

Quench, Mine will flow oil from the fan shaft into the blower case if overfilled, or at the wrong angle. I arrived at having the fill hole at the top and the try valve is at about a 45 degree angle up from straight down when at the right set-up. Mine is however a "Royal". I saw a odd Cannady Otto that looked to be mounted below the forge as it was set up with everything to have the discharge at about 45 degrees up and the royals are set for discharge at 45 degrees down. The odd one also had an odd discharge end, looking like a "Victolic" clamp on.
Hope this helps.
If I set mine right and fill to just see oil at the try valve, I get no leakage at the fan shaft, nor from anywhere else.
   ptree - Monday, 09/14/09 19:18:54 EDT

My C-O Tiger Blower will hold oil ust fine if it is kept upright. Now I guess I need to drain it if I plan to move it to a demo location in the back of my truck. Not even sure I will keep the blower; I bought it to work with a stainless steel forge pan I was given but these two items take up way too much room in my meager smithy.
   quenchcrack - Tuesday, 09/15/09 07:38:03 EDT

I have just mounted a leg vise on a steel pedistol buried in concrete. The screw is rusted solid.
Do you have any suggestions for freeing it up?
   John Thomas - Tuesday, 09/15/09 14:52:22 EDT

John, Freeing this up will work better OFF the concrete.

1st) IF it is a very old vise do not use heat. Some of these have brazed parts in the nut including the threads.

Your best bet is to start soaking the threads with Liquid Wrench or B'laster. If neiter of these are available then kerosene. After the parts have soaked several days then apply a load. Sometime impact helps. Not that most leg vise threads will take loads that will bend the vise handle.

If the screw does move a small amount then apply more oil, let soak and try to return it. If you can get the parts to make a small amount then they will eventually become free.

If it does not move then using a small hammer tap the sides of the nut where the threads enter. Work all around the nut. Tap and apply more oil. More tapping, more applying load. . . Eventually something should start to move.

Note that some late leg vise nuts (or boxes) have a hole in the far end. Oil can be squirted in through the hole. Let it soak and try to wiggle the screw again.

Working on something like this takes patience. Gentle tapping. Judicious prying, repeated oiling. It can take a week or more sometimes. But going at it like this does the least damage.

IF the box is a late "solid box" that is one piece steel then heat can be applied to the thread area. However, determining if the type is late or early can be difficult unless you are very familiar with the styles of manufacturer.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/15/09 15:23:50 EDT

After freeing up the screw try to find a wire "bottle brush" that you can run into the screwbox and clean it up good and flush it out---rust is an abrasive!

(actually after freeing up a screw that's rusty I will often run it in and out a while to "lap" any roughness down a bit.)

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 09/15/09 16:33:55 EDT

RE: Freeing vice threads--After soaking, tapping, heating, jumping up and down on the handle with no results, I finally used a couple 36" pipe wrenches with propane torch heat on it. Had a kid stand on the fixed pipe wrench (box end), while I manouvered the movable pipe wrench (handle end). Moved slow, and it was tough, but finally unscrewed. Dressed up the surfaces with a file (to take most of the pipe wrench marks off), and there she is.

David Hughes
   - David Hughes - Tuesday, 09/15/09 18:50:49 EDT

For really rusty threaded stuck things, after the typical lube no move, I go to a gentle heat. I heat to dry out the moisture in the joint, and to suck in lube as it cools. This means warm, not hot enough to smoke the PB blaster.
A couple of these and then try. If no joy, if possible, I soak the assembly in clean kerosene, for at least a week.
   ptree - Tuesday, 09/15/09 19:57:12 EDT

I've been making garden hoes out of farm disk blades, and have encountered a problem that I wonder if someone could help with. I plasma-cut the blade shape out with the cutting edge being the outer edge of the disk blade, then narrowing down to a long tab toward the center of the disk. I then heat and bend the tab at 90 degrees. I heat the tab, including the bend, to bright red heat and bury in vermiculite to cool slowly. This allows me to drill two holes to bolt the head to the hoe handle. The problem I am having is after some use the metal breaks, usually at the first bolt hole. Any ideas how I can change my heat treatment to keep this from happening? Aside from this problem, the hoe is a great tool, and my farm crew really like them. Thanks for your help!
   Dave F - Tuesday, 09/15/09 21:11:21 EDT

Dave, The tab is too narrow at the first rivet producing a stress concentration. The only way around this is for a heavier section at the rivet hole and possibly a lighter section beyond it to spring or deflect without load concentration. The way most tools of this type get around this problem is with a tang driven into a handle fitted with a steel ferrule. In this case there is little stress concentration and the wood acts as a cushion.

   - guru - Tuesday, 09/15/09 21:56:40 EDT

John Thomas, Instead of plain oil, try ATF [automatic transmission fluid] to loosen the parts.
   Carver Jake - Tuesday, 09/15/09 22:30:30 EDT

Dave: I guess you know that what you are doing is annealing that part. If you know what the material is you could probably quench and temper the whole thing and get five to ten times the yield strength. You might try oil quenching from a non-magnetic heat and then draw them to a blue leaving the edge just a little gold color. When the yield strength is too low, the parts bends back and forth till it breaks.
   - grant - Tuesday, 09/15/09 23:29:46 EDT

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