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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 October 1 - 7, 2000 on the Guru's Den
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I have a 100lb Beaudry and don't know what to use for the right brake shoe material. It came with some type of cork but that deteriorated quickly in use. I've had this hammer about 10 years and have been using old flat belt material but oil from the main bearing eventually ruins the brake lining. Another problem is that the only way I can see to change the lining is to pull the pin from the cam lever and pivot the shoe to the side since the shoe mechanism is babbitted into position under the flywheel and does not appear to be removable. This means I have to slide the belt into place but can only reach the outside rivet holes to hold the material. If someone has a Beaudry, they'll understand this explanation. Any ideas on the right material to use and the best way to install it???
HWooldridge  <laura.l.wooldridge at gte.net> - Sunday, 10/01/00 01:46:53 GMT

I was researching wootz steel and it is thought the superplasticity in the hypereutictic steel was due to globular cemintite and i latter read that you create globular cemintite by hodting the metal just below austinizing temprature for a while. well i was wondering what the heck are these globular carbides and how can they create the amazing properties.
chris lee  <tree_child at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 10/01/00 02:13:25 GMT

Chris: Globular carbides are carbides that have a nearly spheroidal shape. The superplastic property of "ultra high carbon steel" as developed by Wadsworth, Sherby.et al is due to the globular carbides AND due to the very fine grain and carbide size. Generally speaking, the finer the grain and particle size, the greater the amount of reduction by cold working before work hardening/fracturing occurs. The work of Wadsworth & Sherby was aimed at industrial process benefits during manufacturing, whereas the Wootz material gained it's fame from the wear resistance vs toughness benefits of the finished product.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Sunday, 10/01/00 03:04:45 GMT

looking for coal source in southern missouri thanks terry
terry  <tandt at townsqr.com> - Sunday, 10/01/00 12:17:26 GMT

I am cleaning up an anvil I bought, it has some small pits and in fairly good shape, I have a milwaukee grinder and 3 sizes of flex wheel paper. I have never grinded an anvil and don't want to mess it up,,any suggestions? Do I need to ground all the pits out, it feels fairly smooth- thnaks
Robin Rieske  <tbreeze at sover.net> - Sunday, 10/01/00 21:08:43 GMT

Another heat and shop question..I have an 8 x 6 shop with a whisper baby gas forge, uninsulted shop on dirt floors, any idea if I will need another source of heat using a gas forge (I am in Vermont), also, the only ventilation I currently have is a window on either side and a heavy duty fan,. I have a metal roof, any ideas on ventilation? I am a beginner to it all, having lots of fun and wanting to continue throughout our long winter
Robin Rieske  <tbreeze at sover.net> - Sunday, 10/01/00 21:13:10 GMT

Anvil and Forge: Robin, You want the face of your anvil to be as smooth as you can get it but flat is important too. Dress it as best you can but don't try to grind out any deep pits. Just work around them.

That Whisper baby will warm things a little but not enough. You will need a vent over it if you are going to work in a closed shop. Gas forges burn vey clean but they produce a lot of carbon dioxide. When the CO2 builds up enough and the forge recycles it then you start getting a LOT of CO (carbon monoxide). Not good!

I know a fellow that heats his shop with a 4 burner NC-FORGE. Just keeps it running 24/7. But this forge is big enough that radiant heat from the hot shell does the job. When he starting to do this he put an 8" vent and hood over the forge. It still heats the shop and fumes are not a problem. But you should see the size of the tanks it runs on!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 10/01/00 23:36:04 GMT

My interest is in the repair of a very old anvil. When new, circa 1900, the anvil had a nice steel face. Somewhere between 1900 and 2000 someone broke off half the the steel on the top. A repair was attempted using a welder. The new surface looks fine but is not nearly as hard as the original steel. There is no way of finding out what type of welding rod was used. The welded face can be cut with a file. The original steel cannot be cut with a file.

With a great deal of effort I could get the anvil up to 1500F. With even more effort I could figure someway of then dropping this 150 lb anvil in a barrel of water. Could you give me your opinion as to whether the mystery weld (6011???) might harden?

I have tried to solve the problem by assuming that it was 6011 and researching the question that way. This has not proven helpful since the amount of carbon in the 6011 rods is not listed. For some reason makers of welding rods do not specify this property.

I carried out the experiment of heating a welding rod to cherry color and quenching in water. It did not harden. This might not be meaningful since the flux that surrounds a 6011 rod might be an important contributor to carbon content.

I would appreciate any thoughts you had on the subject.

stan timmerman  <gtimmerman at mail.utexas.edu> - Sunday, 10/01/00 23:37:21 GMT

got a dozzie for ya this time guys..... I have "found" a 50# cannon ball approx 8" dia that I think will make a great shaping tool... the ??? is how do I weld a 1.25" bar on it to hold it in my hardie hole... what rod would I use?? what amp etc... I only have a 240 amp lincon buzz box but if needed I'll farm it out to somebody with mig or tig welding facilities but I'd much rather do it myself ... the cannon ball itself has only the English armory arrow /|\ on it but I happen to know that from where I "found" it .. that it predates 1890 but I have no idea of the metal comp Thanks for ANY ideas Mark
Mark  <mparkinson2 at home.com> - Sunday, 10/01/00 23:59:10 GMT

Mark: CAUTION!!!! Some cannon balls were loaded with powder and shot. Might explode if heated hot enough!!
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Monday, 10/02/00 00:09:02 GMT


I'll second Grandpa's call for caution! We have a few folks each decade that are killed by Civil War ordnance. By the 1890s most projectiles were shell, rather than solid shot! Have an expert from a local military ordnance group look at it first, or calculate the "solid" weight against the actual weight. ANY descrepancy or any sign of a screw-in mounting on it, put it in a safe place and DON'T MESS WITH IT! These shells are like the "unloaded" guns that kill people all the time. Other sources of information would be the National Park Service (see below) where you can contact the artillery experts at many of our battlefield and fort historic sites.
If it turns out to be a shell, turn it over to the bomb squad, because that is what it is!

If, on the other hand, it is solid shot, it is probably cast iron, a quirky substance that has done funny things to some of my drill bits. I'll let others advise you on those factors. Please be careful and make sure just what you're dealing with.

Atli; in the past an occaisional gunner with St. Barbara's Company.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come have a row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Monday, 10/02/00 01:45:30 GMT


More bad news. I just checked the tables in one of my books. Eight inch SHELLS for howitzer weighed 50.5 pounds of which four pounds was the bursting charge! Mortar SHELLS weighed 44.5 pounds (3.75# charge). This is more than enough to take you out and a good deal of your house, (not to mention part of any neighbors) and start dogs barking a mile away. Looks like you might have a live one there! BE VERY CAREFUL.

Glad Grandpa thought about this.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Come row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Monday, 10/02/00 01:59:03 GMT

Wow, now we got welding cannon ball questions! Kind of beats the cutting open oxygen tanks with a torch in the hazard catagory, don't it.
Moldy Jim  <ttttttttt> - Monday, 10/02/00 03:34:20 GMT

Cannon Balls: Mark, Don't do it! For all the reasons above.

8" cast iron ball = 71#
7.5" ball = 58#
7.25 ball = 53#

If its close to 8" then there is a BIG hollow place in it. Like Bruce says, "Bad news". . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 10/02/00 05:17:51 GMT

Botched Anvil Repair: Stan, Heat a SMALL corner of the welded area with an oxy-acetylene torch as quickly as possible. Let cool. The mass of the anvil should be as good as a quench. If its not hard in that spot then its not going to harden. You can always try a spark test on it too. .

To make a hard face you would need to remove about 1/8" of the soft build up then weld with hard facing rod. I think Stultz Manganese XL is recommended. Check with your welding supplier. Its a heck of a job and takes tons of grinding out inclusions and weld divots. . No quenching required.

Ah, on age, 1900 is a relatively NEW anvil. Anvils aren't antiques until they are about 250 years old. . :) If it has the style of an OLD anvil (pointed feet, short horn) it is likely from the early 1800's. You would be surprized how many 175 year old anvils are in use every day.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 10/02/00 05:30:54 GMT

Just returned from CBA (California Blacksmith's Assoc..) "Oktoberfest" at Fritz Hagist's Ranch on the Northern Ca.coast. Apart from the beautiful weather , the demonstrators were excellent. Bob Patrick came from Arkansas with his expertise in forge welding, a master not only in Blacksmithing but in life as well. Our lives are richer for knowing him. Jay Kidwell, demonstrated the art of toolmaking, with his flair for working a crowd as well, the laughter could probably be heard all the way to the beach. And nothing, nothing compares to the foghorn wake-up call of Toby Hickman at 6 AM every morning (So much for sleeping in!). Made many new friends and saw many old friends. Dorothy Stiegler, Michael Bonde, E.A. Chase, to name a few. Can't wait for the Spring conference. Tim Cisneros, Cisneros Forgeworks
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Monday, 10/02/00 13:32:30 GMT

welding equipment companies have huge, highly trained engineering tech staffs sitting around just waiting for the phone to ring. call the one who made your rods-- Esab, Lincoln, whatever-- and ask what they mix into their 6011, etc., by way of carbon.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 10/02/00 15:17:06 GMT

Anybody know who manufactures ITC-100. It is an IR reflector used for coating forge refractory. If not, maybe somebody knows of a substitute.
Bret  <banderson at acs.roadway.com> - Monday, 10/02/00 15:17:58 GMT

Just last week I bought a hydraulic. tube forming machine at the Boeing, Long Beach auction. It has made its last tube, but all the parts are there for a really nice 125 ton forging press :-) Now all I need to do is to design and build a frame for the press. I was thinking along the lines of picking up a piece of 36" wide I beam at a salvage yard (leftover from making a bridge) and cutting out the center of the web for the press. Kind of a pre-made H frame! Or should I go with the more conventional I beam fabricated frame? What do you guys think?

As a safety item, the press frame should be made at least 2x the working pressure.
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Monday, 10/02/00 15:29:57 GMT

International Technical Ceramics:

ITC-100, Is a material radiates 98% of all the IR and is reflected back to the work. It creates a hotter running forge with a cooler outer shell.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 10/02/00 16:20:30 GMT

Ok...Thank you guru for the ITC link. Nice product. Here is another one for you. Kaowool refractory? Who makes this product? This site is great!!!!!!!!!!!
bret  <banderson at acs.roadway.com> - Monday, 10/02/00 16:58:06 GMT

Kaowool: Bret, That one is harder, Kaowool is a trademark of Babcock and Wilcox Co. (or whoever owns them now, McDermit the last I heard). It is sold by foundry suppliers and boler/furnace people. There are other brands but Kaowool is the original.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 10/02/00 17:14:12 GMT

KaoWool is a ceramic fiber blanket. It is a good light weight alternative to a castable/ramable refractory.
It is simular to fiberglass, so care should be used in using it. It is more prone to tearing etc but the ITC-100 does act a little like a rigidizer.
You can get ITC-100 from various places, but one of the easiest ways is to order some from Jay Hayes at xmas4lites at earthlink.net.

Kaowool can be gotten from ceramic supply outlets. Here in the Portland,Or area it costs about 4 dollars(US) a square foot. Usually comes in a roll that is two foot wide and about 30 feet long(or is it 40ft?) If you buy the whole roll they usually drop the price to about 2.50 a square foot.
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Monday, 10/02/00 17:32:17 GMT

Well I am right down the road from B&W so I called them and they said they sold the Kaowool product to Thermal Ceramics. I checked out their website and called them to verify this. Can you believe it..they wouldn't send me a free sample (haha). They actually have quite a few different refractory products.
Bret  <banderson at acs.roadway.com> - Monday, 10/02/00 18:10:56 GMT

I have another question Mr. Guru

I recently inquired about making small rings (2.5" dia.) out of 1/4" round. A budy of mine gave me a torsion spring off of a garage door. This would be an excellent supply of rings but, how could I soften the metal so that it can be bent after cutting?
Bret  <banderson at acs.raodway.com> - Monday, 10/02/00 18:17:49 GMT

Hello I am working on a forge under a roof much like a car poort that has a flew butt it doesnt draw very well, I am thinking of putting in a side draft smoke box, will it work? or If any one has a better idea im open for any thing that will help, short of calling in OSIA LOL
Hawk  <hawkm77 at hotmail.com> - Monday, 10/02/00 19:19:44 GMT

Seeking a supplier of wrought iron basketry handles for a very busy retail web site. We sell basket weaving materials
world wide & wrought iron handles are in demand by our customers.

To view what we are requesting please visit www.basketpatterns.com, enter our store and do a search for wrought iron.
We would like a creative iron worker who is willing to offer
us wholesale pricing. Someone who can meet deadlines, offer unique designs and offer high quality items.

Thank you in advance for your time,
Sheri  <info at basketpatterns.com> - Monday, 10/02/00 19:48:58 GMT

Springs: Bret, To soften, heat to a red heat and bury in lime or vermiculite to cool the steel VERY slow. You should be able to hack saw the material after annealing.

The problem with the spring steel is that if you weld it (buzz sputter) the weld area will be VERY brittle from the heat and quick cool. There are a lot better uses for the spring steel and I'm sure some other smith would be glad to trade for something.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 10/02/00 20:25:44 GMT

Flue: Hawk, it depends on how big the flue. 12" or 14" will work fine. The side draft box works by reducing the intake area so that the draft produces a high velocity. This sucks the smoke sideways and UP into the stack.

About 10" x 10" (250mm x 250mm) is about the right size opening.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 10/02/00 20:30:42 GMT

125 Ton press: Wayne, That's a lot of tonnage! I'd use the 36" WF beam for a side frame press a la' Don Fog. Mount all the machinery on the sides between the flanges. The design depends on what you want to use it for. How much HP? Forging presses need a fairly high HP so they are fast acting. Be sure to design all the shear points for that load. 125T will shear a 2"+ bolt!

On that working pressure. . 125T will be a working load. Stall load may be more than 2X. It depends on the overload or over pressure bypass setting.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 10/02/00 21:06:21 GMT


Garage door spring, sliced with a cutting wheel, heated, shaped, and tempered, makes excellent flint strikers.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 10/02/00 21:55:06 GMT

i made a pair of curtain hooks for my daughter's room. both from the same piece of quarter inch round stock. but i couldn't get a bit through one to drill screw holes. then i tried the other one and the bit went right through? what's going on? btw, both are mild steel.
coondogger  <onehorse at mediaone.net> - Tuesday, 10/03/00 00:18:19 GMT

At one time I belonged to a medieval re-enactment group (the SCA) and learned some blacksmithing techniques. I found a forge and anvil at a farm auction a couple months back, and then found a coal supplier nearby (Pocohontas slag coal). When I tried out my "new" forge this afternoon, it seemed like i was forever turning the crank on the blower and the fire never did get hot enough to make a piece of rebar workable (it only turned very light orange and not at all soft). What did I do wrong? Please forgive the ineptitude of this question, but I am new to working with a
forge of myown.
Brian  <bhandri at midlands.net> - Tuesday, 10/03/00 02:28:26 GMT


I'd suspect that you quenched one quicker or in colder water than the other. Or one was hotter than the other when you finished forging it.

The more severe the quench, the harder the steel.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 10/03/00 03:06:14 GMT

HWoolbridge, What model Beaudry hammer do you have?
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Tuesday, 10/03/00 03:20:42 GMT

Not Hot Enough: Brian, First, you may have bad coal. I've never heard of "slag" coal but it doesn't sound like the best. Second, your fire may not be deep enough. Normaly a forge fire needs to be about 6" to 8" deep (150 to 200 mm). For a hand crank blower you may want it deeper (a foot) and then put your iron down IN the fire. You usualy need to poke a vent in the top and push your iron in from the side.

Try a deeper fire, and let us know what's up.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 10/03/00 03:50:28 GMT

Brian: If you got the rebar to light orange it should have been workable. Maby the stock isn't rebar, or maby it is a special stainless rebar,(if there is such a thing).
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Tuesday, 10/03/00 13:52:09 GMT

I also have a 20t cylinder that I was going to use in my first plans. I came upon the press by chance and wasen't able to pass it up. It has a 3hp motor on it for now so as a 125t press is would be to slow, I haden't thought of that. However the pump system (which is self contained and seperate from the press) should be easy to connect to the smaller cyl. The cyl on the old press is a 8"dia and the 20t is about 4" this should speed things up conciderably. After looking at the presses in use, on the web, 20t should be fine. Thanks for the wake up call, the smaller press should also be less expensive to fab.
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Tuesday, 10/03/00 14:25:28 GMT

Being close to coal country in Pennsylvania, "slag" coal is very low-grade anthracite. At least that is the term used in this area.
Bruce Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Tuesday, 10/03/00 15:14:28 GMT

Pree HP: Wayne, The 3HP may still be marginal. What you will want to do is setup the stops so that there is very little return travel. If you are going to work billets that are say 1-1/2" I would only want 2" of opening and while operating just let the dies seperate enough to move move the stock. I'm sure I don't have to remind you steel cools fast!

Boeing 747 knives. . . Hmm I think you might have a trademark issue :)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 10/03/00 16:10:13 GMT

Forging Temperature: Grandpa, My brain was out of gear. . too many questions. . my brain translated "light orange" to "just barely orange". . .

Brian, Grandpa is right (as always!). Orange going on yellow is very hot. I noticed you didn't say how big a piece (we forget re-bar comes in some huge sizes). Stock in the 1/2" and less range moves pretty good but is still HARD work. 3/8" and less and a an inexperianced smith will have no problem. But 3/4" and up is a bear to work. Rebar also comes in 3 basic types, a "low" carbon, a "medium" carbon and a "high" carbon. The medium and high do not translate to what we normally call medium and high carbon steel but in any case the higher the carbon the tougher the steel is to forge. If it happened to be a high alloy type as grandpa mentioned then it would also be difficult to forge.

For practicing hand forging keep the size small at first. Unless you use a hammer a lot a 2-1/2 to 3 pound hammer is BIG. Start on small stock with a relatively light hammer. Later you will learn that if you want to hand forge large stock that you want some friends with sledge hammers!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 10/03/00 16:23:33 GMT

More Heat: Brian, if the coal is what Bruce indicates then you had to work REALLY hard to get that heat. Scrounge up some good bituminous coal. Or Bruce will sell you some by the bag. It doesn't hurt to try good coal so you have a reference.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 10/03/00 16:37:04 GMT

I was wondering if you oculd recommend a book, or a internet site that would give me some info on proper quenching and tempering ad it pertains to blade-smithing.

Steve Holt  <hotez at juno.com> - Tuesday, 10/03/00 21:29:32 GMT

Heattreating Steve, www.principalmetals.com. And try our, Getting Started article, book review page and our 21st Century page. However the answer to your questions are going to be more questions. What kind of steel? How hard do you want it? Some of the answers require expensive specialty books such the ASM Metals Handbook. But for general use MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK is best.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 10/04/00 00:39:12 GMT

I currently produce damascus steel using carbon steels such as 1095, D-2, L6 etc. I would very much like to start producing stainless damascus. Do you know anything about this? I've tried a couple of attempts using 440 and a mild carbon steel which is interesting. I've got a 125# little giant and a 100 ton press to get the job done, I'm just missing something. Can you help? Anyone with advise please drop me a line. Thanks!
Dave  <DBofNC at AOL.COM> - Wednesday, 10/04/00 02:55:35 GMT

Sir, can you explain the control mechanism on the Kuhn air hammer? I know that there is a steel ball and a spring you vary the pressure to the ball with. I believe the driving pressure overcomes the pressure from the ball, allows air to escape and the piston to move upwards. The ball then reseals and the piston is driven down until the cycle repeats. The more tension applied to the spring the further the piston travels before the release point is reached. could it be this simple?
l.sundstrom, m.i.smithing? - Wednesday, 10/04/00 12:44:56 GMT

SS Laminates: Dave, is that a 25# or a 100# LG? :)

The trickiest part of SS laminates is determining the heattreating. You have to have combinations that can be hardened and tempered with processes that work with both or where one does not effect the other. Its a real puzzle that takes research and serious thought. THEN you have to be able to actually do the heattreating within the temperature limits determined.

Many makers find that you need an aggressive flux to weld stainless. A small amount of flourite is added to your borax (5% or less I think). Note that Flourine gas is not good stuff and flourine compounds are very agressive chemicals.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 10/04/00 14:25:34 GMT

Kuhn: Larry, I'm not sure what goes on in a Kuhn. Never had a chance to take one apart. . :)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 10/04/00 15:05:15 GMT

I know there are one or more recipies for browning (surface treatment, not the gun)in the archives, but I cant find them. Please, Guru, say again?
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Wednesday, 10/04/00 15:13:00 GMT

I remember reading a couple short stories about
blacksmiths including one where people of various
trades were arguing about who was the most important
person in the kingdom and the argument was "settled"
by evidence that the blacksmith was the person who
produced all the tools needed by everyone else. Anyone
know where I can find a copy of this or other interesting
stories about blacksmiths?

Arvid  <ffaww at uaf.edu> - Wednesday, 10/04/00 16:53:09 GMT

Bret..If you are looking for a distributor of ITC-100, send me an e-mail with your location. I have a list of distributors across the US and some forigen countries. The main office is in Jacksonville, Fla about 30 minutes from me. I made a set of kitchen cutlery for the owners in trade for some ITC-100. I painted a coat on the refractoreies of my gas forge and got very good results. If there is a firebrick/refractory supplier in your area, check with them about Koawool scraps. I bought a large box full in Jax for $20. It was mixed 1" and 2". Sometiimes they have some and sometimes they dont. It never hurts to ask. I figure there was around $200 worth of "Insuwool" in that box. Broken bags of refractories go cheap too.
Randall Guess  <RanDGuess at aol.com> - Wednesday, 10/04/00 18:19:24 GMT

Can anyone tell me if you can use regular soft copper tubing for a gas line on a propane furnace. How about an acetelene regularator for the regulator?
smitty7  <rfsbj at webtv.net> - Wednesday, 10/04/00 19:42:32 GMT

Awhile back I'd asked if I could forge 3/8ss stock in my propane forge, Paw paws reply was "sure". I found it a little tougher than the mild steel I was used to.To get to the point can I use the 3/8ss for punches? I was thinking the stock removal method for making matrix punches might work for such hard material. No?
George Frazier  <blacksmith2001 at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 10/04/00 20:33:21 GMT

Hello Guru
Do you have any "recipe" how to forge a wolf's head ?
Thank You
(An amatuer black smith.)
Lars Wixe  <wixe at swipnet.se> - Wednesday, 10/04/00 21:26:23 GMT

SS Punches: George, SS is funny stuff. Its red hard and tough to forge. It is heck on cutting tools and abrasive resistant. But 304 is soft like butter when it comes to making tools.

400 series (405, 440) and others are hardenable (much different process than carbon steel) but rarely used for tools other than knives.

Years ago Sears had a set of Craftsman SS combination wrenches. I came REAL close to buying a set. They were crazy to make them then and they should already be a collectors item. . .

Any piece of old spring will make a better punch. Carefully anneal a piece and it will file like mild steel.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 10/04/00 21:37:04 GMT

Copper Pipe: Smitty, Copper tubing (soft) is used heavily for propane. However, if you are going to run a line inside a building check with your local building code. Localy they require copper but in other places they may require black iron pipe.

IF you are running from a small cylinder to a forge I would use a hose or at least a "stinger" of hose for flexability.

Check all connections for leaks! Propane is prohibbited in many locations becasue being a heavy gas it doesn't dissapate. Leaking fuel will hang around the floor and can be very dangerous.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 10/04/00 21:43:40 GMT

Wolf's Head: Lars, No I don't but we have a number of horses and dragon heads and such on the iForge page.

Hmmmmmmmm . . . just thinking and drawing in hyperspace.

I'd start with a piece of 3/4" (19mm) square bar.

Forge a short step into the bar about the bar about half the thickness of the bar.

Then forge a blunt wedge type point on the step 90 degrees from the step. . (It might work better to make the blunt point first).

Punch eyes into the front face or corners of the step.

Behind the step draw the bar down into a neck leaving sharp corners as you do so.

With a sharp chisle cut ears from the neck working toward the eyes (front). Using a blunt semi pointed punch with a round end punch into the base of the ears from the front (to make them look hollow). Its important to do this AFTER the ears are cut. .

Underneigth (oposite the ears) do the same as cutting the ears to make the raised fur on the wolfs "cheeks". I would use one good cut like making an ear and then smaller ones from the resulting corners.

Slplit the "mouth". I always use a saw on the mouth because I've messed up too many half finished pieces trying to chisle the mouth.

Open the mouth and close it onto a piece of 1/8" (3mm) material to give the jaw a square set.

Curl teeth out of the jaws, chase a nose and give it a little hair texture with a chisle and it might look wolfish. . .

Lars, please remember this was a drawing in hyperspace, it should work, if you make one let us know how it turned out. Maybe volunteer for an iForge demo?

It may take several tries. I can already see imporvements, the a "snout" (nose) may want to have steps on the right and left below the step for the eyes to make the snout narrower and the face wider. . . SOMEONE has to do the R&D!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 10/04/00 22:27:49 GMT

Browning: Olle, First you kill a chicken. . . .

Doubt if there is any other in the archives other than the early gunsmiths "rust" method. YES, I know I NEED to setup a search and index routine in the archives. . .

The classic "rust" browing is just very fine rust on a very clean surface. To prevent pitting the process is done in multiple steps repeating the process clean, rust, scrape, clean. . .

1) The iron/steel must be absolutely bright and clean.

2) Rusting is performed in a "Damp box". This is a wooden box with supports for the piece (gun barrels have wooden plugs stuck in the ends and are supported by them). In the bottom of the box there are rags, sponges. . whatever to provide moisture so the inside of the box is damp.

3) Rust overnight or a couple days (trial and error)

4) Remove the part, clean off the loose rust with a stick of softwood. Wipe clean, remove finger prints (degrease, boiling was popular).

5) Repeat until there is an even dense brown then oil.

This is basicaly an accelerated "iron patina". Like well kept old tools. After it is complete I believe you can carefully boil the part in a caustic to get a "plum brown". But I'd have to look it up. . . Let me know what kind of finish you are looking for, I have a book full of them.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 10/04/00 22:45:25 GMT

Guru..I have searched the archives and internet for "sintered", as stamped on a 3/4" brass or bronze round that I aquired. It seemed perfect for bolsters and butts for knives. After cutting and fitting on a hidden tang, I attempted to silver solder (450F). I got abnormal foaming of flux and a brownish yellow smoke and fumes (my shop is well ventilated). The sintered piece soldered to the naval brass next to it but didnt bond to the blade. I have never had a problem with soldering and attribute the failure to the "sintered" piece. I found your post about powdered and sintered steels in the archives, but nothing about sintered brass/bronze. I couldnt find it in 11th Ed. Machinery's Handbook either..My question: What is sintered brass or bronze?
Randall Guess  <RanDGuess at aol.com> - Wednesday, 10/04/00 23:36:59 GMT

Sintered: Randali, Sintered bronze is what "oilite" bearing are made of. Powdered bronze is compressed in a press until it sticks together. Afterwards it is sometimes baked to "weld" the material together but most is pressure welded. It is usualy a porous material. After sintering it is put into a chambre where is it empregnated with oil under high pressure. Thus becomming "oil empregnated sintered bronze" which "oilite" is a trade name (I believe).

Even if it is not oil empregnated, sintered metal can have a LOT of internal oxides and is sometimes filed with other metals, plastics or graphit. Powdered metal technology is one of the most important of the metalurgical fields today because you can make "alloys" from materials theat previosly couldn't be alloyed (for chemical or physical reasons).

Very good stuff, but soldering and welding is not recommended.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 10/04/00 23:58:11 GMT

Here's what I have in my notes on browning from the archives:browning sol
Hydrogen Peroxide, w/1 Tablespoon of Muratic Acid per pint of hydrogen peroxide. Warm the piece you want to rust not hot just warm. Apply the mixture w/spray bottle, and you get instant rust.
BROWNING SOLUTION:::1 pint peroxide--1/4 cup vinegar--couple tablespoons of salt-- heat iron tillsolution almost boils
Quick Rust Patina -
Ken Riley let us in on several "secrets". His big secret was how to make a rust finish quickly. The recipe: Add between six drops and a full dropper of muratic acid to pint of ordinary drugstore 3% hydrogen peroxide. The more acid, the quicker and darker the rust -- experiment. Heat your iron so that when you spray with the solution it vaporizes but does not boil. An ordinary spritzer head will screw onto the peroxide bottle. When the color is to your liking wash with soapy water, dry and wax finish for interior use. Outside it will continue to rust.
jerry  <birdlegs at keynet.net> - Thursday, 10/05/00 00:02:44 GMT

While I await responses to the forging SS issue I'd like to throw out a couple of things. One, our hammer is a Little Giant 100#. Two, above in reading I seen where there were severl questions concerning an oil fired forge. This is the type of forge we use. Its entirely homemade and has been working for us for several years now. I can make a drawing and send it to anyone interested. Also I see many people talking about making equipment. Something everyone should look into is their local scrapyard. Ours has yeilded our little giant hammer ($185.00 scrap price !!) Oil burners units dumped by heating contractors ($3.00 each) 100 ton press dumped by local factory that makes electrical parts (traded 5 knives to owner of scarpyard no cost, good thing it weighed 3900 lbs). Two rolling mills for rolling out steel (these were rare $20.00 each). Also untold motors and gear reduction units. We got a surface grinder (6 x 12) for under $200.00 because it was 3 phase. You can run 3 phase motors on 220 current and save yourself money on equipment and your power bill if you know how to wire it. Scrapyards are the only place to shop, I found a wooden machinist box once full of dies, taps, rules micrometer etc. Just dumped out in a pile. Know what you want and talk to the people there. Any questions on the oil forge or wiring 3 phase drop me a line.
Dave  <DBofNC at aol.com> - Thursday, 10/05/00 02:44:23 GMT

Guru, How does a smith price himself?

Example: Let's say I make handmade nails to sell. How does one figure anvil use,Electric for shop,gas for forge,paint, stock,to and from steelyard,wear and tear on tools,ETC,ETC most important LABOR.( I'm worth $20.00 hr.) Is there a formula?
Fatman - Thursday, 10/05/00 02:48:52 GMT

Guru, How does a smith price himself?

Example: Let's say I make handmade nails to sell. How does one figure anvil use, electric for shop, gas for forge, paint, stock, to and from steelyard,wear and tear on tools,ETC ETC, most important LABOR. I'm worth $20.00 hr.
Is there a formula????
Fatman - Thursday, 10/05/00 02:53:50 GMT

Labor Rates: Fatman, labor is 1/2 to 1/3 your shop rate (generaly). Tools are almost inconsequential. Rent or mortage (the roof you work under), utilities (phone used in business easily runs $250/month), vehical cost (depreciation), insurances. . ADVERTISING. Fuel and material is ALMOST inconsequnetial but should be no more than 15% of the product often less. Take these costs for a year. Then add an annual salary (not an hourly rate). Figure that a man working alone is at best 50% efficient time wise and that means you have 1020 hours to divide into said costs (including your labor). You may find that your SHOP rate must be $60/hour to pay you $20. The shop has to gross 120K.

Vehical costs, don't fool yourself. Figure a minimum of 10,000 miles at the government approved rate. This includes the cost of a new vehical or the repairs on an old one. I've found that if you keep careful records trucks cost more than the government rate. But it is a good place to start.

Now, at $60/hour you need to wholesale 30-50 nails an hour. A good smith with no special tools can make 60-100 nails an hour. I can design you (hand) tooling that will double or triple that rate.

To make anything in quantity in 1/2" and up stock you will need a cutoff saw, ironworker, and power hammer and a dozen other misc machines depending on what you are making.

In the end most of the most productive smiths don't make the 50% efficiency rate nor can sell all their work for $60/hour. So they end up working more hours at the same daily rate. You can make a living as an independant blacksmith but it is hard work and it takes talent. Finding that nitch market that will absorb $100-$200K worth of work (retailing at $200-$500K) is the trick.

In small shops using open die hammer in the 300 pound to 500 pound range, rates approach $200/hour. A VERY skilled operator can produce that much pointing 1-5/8" jack hammer points at $3 each! RIGHT, they have to produce those parts at the same rate as you do nails. . . But now you are in a class where machinery is significant. That volume of bits comes in barrels that you have to have a fork lift to handle, a ton truck to move. The hammer requires 3PH power (no playing with inverters on 20HP motors). You also need an employee which means a bookeeper. . . Oh, yeah, THESE come out of that $200/hour you were drooling over. The smith might still make $20-$25 hour unless he is a very skilled and efficient trader wheeler dealer of tools and machinery. . You aren't? Well your competition IS, I know them.

I love blacksmithing. Its hard work, its a harder life, but I couldn't make a living at it. But many do. Just don't fool yourself about what it costs to life and work.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 10/05/00 04:16:00 GMT


We recieved a letter today forwarded from the AFC regarding actions being taken by the ABANA board. One issue is the "Firing of Anvils" but there are other more important issues to ABANA Chapters and the general membership. ABANA and Chapter members, please take time to read this letter.


- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 10/05/00 05:17:39 GMT

What's a good drill bit for drilling into metal
approximately 1/4 inch thick? Thanks.
Doug - Thursday, 10/05/00 13:52:44 GMT

Drill: Doug, What kind of metal? What size hole? What means of powering the drill (by hand, machine, type of machine).

Most high quality HSS (High Speed Steel) drill bits will drill almost anything except the hardest steel. It is important however to provide sufficinet feed pressure (PUSH) and not run too fast. Virtualy ALL hand drills and "home use" drill presses are designed for drilling wood and do not run slow enough to drill anything but relatively small holes (less than 1/2") in steel.

The brand of bits makes a difference. Most hardware store brands are not the best. Nickle and chrome plate and are for show and not used on the best bits. My industrial supplier carries bits by Consolidated. A VERY good brand. They cost no more than most hardware store variety.

The best type have whats called a "split" point. The straight "dead center" of the drill is relieved to produce no "dead" part of the bit. The dead center of common bits is like twisting a chisle point into the work. It requires a lot of pressure and is hard on the bit. Split point types start easier, take less pressure and last longer.

DO NOT try to reproduce the split point by hand. You cannot. It requires a special jig and a diamond wheel. On small bits up to 3/8" (10mm) the split point is so good that you are better off discarding bits that need sharpening rather than use a resharpened bit without the split point.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 10/05/00 15:36:07 GMT

I have a champion 401 rivet forge that use's the hand crank blower. My guestion is do you know what type of lubricant to use in the gear box. The gear bor is pristine inside with no residual oil or grease. I put some light weight miracle oil in it and it leaked out the front shaft bearing.I was giong inturn to use a heavier weight gear oil but through i better asks the Guru and friends first. Are the bearings supposed to be packed in addition to useing gear box lubercant or does the proper level in the gear box and the right lubercant designed to feed all the bearings,gears etc.

thanks Danny
Danny Young  <danny_young at cc.chiron.com> - Thursday, 10/05/00 19:02:18 GMT

I went and checked the motor again on that hyd. press. It is a 5 hp not a 3hp. The stamp was light the top of the 5 and it was hard to see. I also still need to find out what the volume of the pump is. The pressure regulator and gauge system go to 20,000psi and 25,000psi respectively. The oil tank will hold about 10 to 15 gal. There is also a clamp device that should put some serious squeze on things as it is opened and closed by two, 2 1/2" dia. acme screw threads (one on each side of the work space) with a pitch of .250 from thread to thread. The clamp is made from blocks of steel that is about 4" deep and close to 6" thick. I guess what I am saying is there appears to be lots of toys to play with and many possibilites to think about.
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Thursday, 10/05/00 19:15:56 GMT

Champion Blower: Danny, These boxes leak no matter what. Grease packed around the shafts helps. For a tight gear box the lubricant should be SAE 20 or 30 oil. Non-detergent is best. For a worn out box SAE 50 or SAE 80 gear oil would be best. If the oil makes the box too stiff in cold weather use lighter oil.

Magic Miricle oil is good for some things but it is WAY too light for most gearboxes.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 10/05/00 19:46:39 GMT

I have been refering to this site for over a year now, what a resource! I work in an environmental lab where much of the time what we need is a one-off custom item or is prohibitively expensive and we must fabricate it ourselves. I get encouragement from reading the advice and seeing the different ways of solving problems. Thanks.

I am doing a little forging now with a homemade forge and a welded up RR track. My interests lie in wagonmaking at the present time and my practice with steel are geared towards that end. Question is does anyone know of resources that might have technical aspects of wagonmaking or wheelwrighting? My searches of the net haven't been very fruitful but it is a vast place. I would appreciate any direction anyone could give.
mills  <millsnorman at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 10/05/00 20:33:06 GMT

Press Parts: Wayne, That sounds better. Just remember that at 5HP and X pressure the press is designed to run half as fast as a 10HP unit at the same pressure. If you keep the dead travel short the speed is less important.

However, dwell time with the dies closed is directly related to how hot the dies get. The slower the press the higher the temperature rating of the die material neds to be.

I think you have a darn good start on a low cost press.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 10/05/00 20:35:56 GMT

Wagon Making: Mills, Try Norm Larson books. There are some books available on the subject. We have a Wheel Wright in our local ABANA Chapter (CVBG) but these guys are pretty rare.

Thanks for the compliment!

The only things I know about the Wheel and Wagon Wright business are from what I've read in:
  • The Art of Blacksmithing

  • The Foxfire Books

  • The Americana books by Eric Sloane
  • - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 10/05/00 20:52:12 GMT

    In addition to what the guru said,
    look at this web page. http://www.countylineorchard.com/wagonmaking/index.html

    It has a verbal description of how he made some wagons. It may not help, but who knows.
    BTW if you do find some ecent info please share with us......

    Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Thursday, 10/05/00 21:20:26 GMT

    I have a US made Fisher anvil 100 lbs., 1941. What can you tell me about this anvil, quality wise?
    Don   <allysonb at bethel.gc.k12.va.us> - Thursday, 10/05/00 23:24:06 GMT

    How do you use line of chords that are marked on a ruler? I think it has to do with drawing an angle, i.e. at a given degree. Thanks.
    boneman  <wtrinehart at earthlink.net> - Thursday, 10/05/00 23:55:07 GMT

    Fisher and Norris of Trenton, New Jersey was the first successful anvil manufacturer in this country. Founded about 1843, they manufactured anvils until December 14, 1979. A total of 136 years. Fisher anvils were made of cast iron with a steel face that was placed IN the form before the iron was cast. They do not ring, and don't have quite the "return" that a wrought iron anvil does. The common nick name for them was "Old Reliable".

    More info available in the Anvils in America book by Richard Postman.
    Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 10/05/00 23:59:23 GMT

    I'm looking for a blacksmith/metal worker who is able to make a specific cookie cutter for me. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you. Betsy Russell
    Betsy  <jurassicgr at worldnet.att.net> - Friday, 10/06/00 00:35:51 GMT

    I'm planning on trying to make my own crank-blower. any tips? do you know of anything on the net regarding this subject?
    - Loren
    Loren  <and8995 at olywa.net> - Friday, 10/06/00 02:03:32 GMT

    Cord?: Boneman, The ancients knew how to survey and lay out structures using simple geometry. Well before Pythagoras his "therom" was well known to the mathematicaly educated. In its simplest form you can layout a right triangle using a triangle with sides proportioned 3:4:5. 5:12:13 also comes out even and is VERY handy in carpentry.

    The rule is, the hypotenuse (the long side) is equal to the square root of the sum (total) of the squares of the other two sides.

    In the BASIC progamming language:

    Hypotenuse = SQR( a^2 + b^2)
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 10/06/00 02:11:54 GMT

    Cookie cutter: Betsy, Almost any of the fokls here could do it. How many do you need? I've made them from a section of tin can and bent the sides to shape.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 10/06/00 02:14:58 GMT

    Handcrank Blower: Loren, A square wooden block on a shaft with 4 wood or sheet metal paddles attached. The block on a small steel shaft. The "fan" above in a spiral housing made of two pieces of softwood cut to shape and tin wraped around to make the curved part of the housing. On the shaft a small wooden pulley (about 1.5" to 2") with a groove. The crank placed at a distance with a large pulley (about a foot in diameter).

    That will do it. They've been made that way since the 1800's.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 10/06/00 02:33:23 GMT

    I am a metal sculptor. I have done all forms of metal casting as well as tig, mig and gas welding. I guess I must be doing something right, because my work is in private collections and have done numerous commissions. Recently, very recently I have ventured into forging and I must admit that I have been on one perpetual high! I go to sleep thinking about it and I wake up in the morning thinking about it. I have never done anything so intrinsically satisfying. I only hope that at 67 years of age I still have many years left in me to swing the hammer. I don’t have a power hammer and at least at his time no plans of getting one. I find that the old fashion way, although limiting because it does not allow me to work on large pieces, it is more satisfying. I have joined ABANA, purchased two wonderful books by Dona Z. Meilach and spend hours of surfing the WEB for anything to do with blacksmithing, forging and related subjects. I live in Southern Oregon and unfortunately I can’t find a place near me where I could get some instructions. Although I’m slowly mastering the basics I have 1000 questions and no one to ask. One in particular is cleaning the finished piece. After heating, hammering, bending, etc., I end up with “spatter” like scale, which right now I use carbide burrs and a die grinder to clean up, but the results are not always satisfactory, because I’m left with grind marks. I am familiar with patinas, waxing, etc., but is there a way to get rid of the “spatter” scale some other way? Your answer will be greatly appreciated as will any other suggestions you may give me to help with my new found endeavor. I thank you in advance. Andrew.
    Andrew Dean  <avdean at compuserve.com> - Friday, 10/06/00 02:55:49 GMT

    Chord ruler: Hope you don't mind me answering this one on this forum Guru. The owner of the pattern shop I served my apprenticeship had a "chord rule". This ruler looked home made but he had not made it. It is used to divide a circle into even divisions. It will have graduations marked with the radius or diameter and then the chord length which is the straight line from corner to corner of a segment of a circle. So to use it you scribe your circle with dividers to the radius on the rule then set the dividers to the chord length and step them around on the circle.
    JNewman  <newmanj at attglobal.net> - Friday, 10/06/00 03:14:08 GMT

    I am in the Portland area. email me and I can help you get hooked up with some more local smiths.
    Alan Flashing comes to mind. He is somewhere sorta near you.
    spatter scale? What is that? AS a piece cools down from red to black and cooler use a wire brush. You can also soak the piece in vinegar(ithink it is vinegar)
    Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Friday, 10/06/00 03:21:58 GMT

    Spatter: Andrew, Scale should be relatively smooth and clean. If is is rough and "spatter textured" then you may be overheating the steel and burning it.

    One problem with doing it the hard way is multiple heats resulting in lots of scale. Power forging reduces the number of heats (sometimes to just ONE). Its like having a MIG welder. The results are almost the same but the cleanup is reduced dramatically.

    If you clean off as much scale as possible between heats you also get cleaner work. The old scale tends to flake, then melt and produce "spatter" or "sputter ball" (like from arec welding) type scale. Power wire brushing is recommended. Please see Paws-paws iForge "demo" on safety. (more like scull hardness testing. . . ).

    Scale can be removed by sand blasting or by chemical etching. There is no real easy way. Most blacksmiths love that blue black finish and try to preserve it. . .

    You can also forge 304 SS. It scales like carbon steel but you can get away without cleaning it up or partial clean up. Its a great medium for artists but is much tougher to forge.

    If you want bright work, "flap" wheels leave a much smoother finish than grinding and are relatively agressive. Don't look at the hardware store variety. The industrial ones are really great.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 10/06/00 03:24:02 GMT

    Chord: JNewman. Thanks. I thought about the question a minute and went with what I did.

    Never saw the one you describe. Sounds handy. I have patternmakers shrink rules and a 'PI' tape. Ever see one of those?
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 10/06/00 03:29:29 GMT

    Loren I am making a hand crank blower out of a $5 fleamarket handcrank bench grinder, I got a turbine(?) out of an old vacumn cleaner for the fan. I cut some sheet steel for the shroud, and when I get the chance I'll weld it together. I kind of temporarily assembled it to try it out, and IT WORKS! Not as much wind as a champion 400 but pretty respectable volume just the same. Not bad for less than $10. One way to make the fan blades could be to cut a circle of the proper diameter, say 8" put the hole in the middle, scribe a 3" diameter in the middle, Mark the rim into 16 sections. Cut on the section marks straight to the 3" center dia. This gives you 16 pie shaped sections 2 1/2 long, twist these sections 90 degrees to make the fan paddles. I might do this on the second crank grinder I have just to do it. The first 1 is about 5" diameter.
    What do you think?
    Moldy Jim
    Moldy Jim  <Sorry_no_spam_me> - Friday, 10/06/00 04:48:13 GMT

    I would like to thank the good old Guru and Ralph for their replies!
    Andrew Dean  <avdean at compuserve.com> - Friday, 10/06/00 05:52:53 GMT

    RE the ABANA thing... That's exactly why I'm not interested in being affiliated with ABANA.

    Hand-crank blowers: There is a great (and cheap) little book on building centrifugal fans by Dave Gingery available from Lindsay Books. It is mostly about small motorized fans for dust collection and shop ventilation, but the info could easily be used for a hand cranked one if you know the pulley reduction values.
    Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Friday, 10/06/00 15:12:58 GMT

    Andrew Dean wrote about smithin the "old fashion way" without a powerhammer. Im not picking on him in any way, I just wonder why people think using a powerhammer is less authentic than smithing "the old way" or, as I´ve been told, that using one is "cheating". Historically a smithy was full of helpers and "strikers" doing exactly what machinery is doing now (but more versatile). Smithing alone, with a single-hand hammer, THAT is something new.
    Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Friday, 10/06/00 15:14:09 GMT

    Power: Olle, Thanks for the reminder. Yes, blacksmiths traditionaly had lots of helpers and often with BIG hammers (sledges). In earliest times there were several helpers blowing and tending the fire as well as helpers to strike.

    A small power hammer can replace several helpers making an individual smith competitive with cheaper labor. It can also be an equalizer for the smaller worker. AND it can prevent repedititive motion injuries. Skilled use of power can produce results that are as delicately featured as any hand work.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 10/06/00 17:34:01 GMT

    I have a mouse hole anvil with the marking 1.0.16. Have heard this tells the weight. Can you explain?
    DALLAS NICKEL  <dnickel at swetland.net> - Friday, 10/06/00 20:41:20 GMT

    Weight: Dallas, Anvils were marked in the "Old English Hundred Weight" system

    Hundered weights = 112#
    Quarter Cwts = 28#
    Pounds = 1#

    112 + 0 + 16 = 128#

    A very common weight moushole. I've had several that weight. Good anvil.

    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 10/06/00 22:48:17 GMT

    Olle Anderson...I'm not against power hammers, but I do feel that as a beginner, I should master the basics, before invasting into an expensive piece of equiptment. I know that I never will be able to do serious work without a power hammer, but avery thing in it's good time. Thanks for replying.
    Andrew Dean  <avdean at compuserve.com> - Saturday, 10/07/00 05:36:28 GMT

    Speaking of power hammers, what is a good source(s) on the web to do reaserch? I would like to find out pricing, new vs used, sizes, electrical requirements, etc.??
    Andrew Dean  <avdean at compuserve.com> - Saturday, 10/07/00 05:44:59 GMT

    Hammers: Andrew, Check our Power hammer Page. There is a list of manufacturers with links. There is also a somewhat outdated article on the new airhamers and a bunch of unorganized information.

    Currently most of the hammers in operation a old machines 50 to 100 years old. Then for many years the only new hammer that was available was the German Kuhn. Then about 10 years ago the "new" makers started building little air hammers. There is now two Kuhn copies imported from Turkey and everyone is waitning to see the promised hammers from China.

    See our review of the book "Pounding out the Profits. It is not much on how-to but it is an excelent history.

    AND you are right. You SHOULD be able to forge by hand before going to the machine.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 10/07/00 06:18:32 GMT

    Hello everyone,

    I have made a small carving knife and I want to case harden it.I think there is a technique using clay to cover the upper part of the blade and then heating and quenching.

    Can you please give me some instructions and details on this procedure?

    Thank you very much.
    George Chrysochoides  <chrys at ath.forthnet.gr> - Saturday, 10/07/00 11:15:46 GMT

    Re: Coal Scuttle. I tried to get in touch w/ D & L coal in Danbury, CT. The phone number still rings but whoever recorded the message did not get bach to me after repeated calls saying I wanted to buy some. I think you should consider removing then frome the list. Morrell in Brattleboro, VT had it and I got a couple of hundred lb. I used the guru for this message as I didn't know how else to E-mail you. I hpoe the info is of use to you -- John
    John - Saturday, 10/07/00 12:55:02 GMT

    Case hardening: George, The clay covering technique is used on Japanes swords to create a differential hardness. The clay reducing the quench rate on the back of the blade I think. (I am NOT an expert on Japanese sword making). The exposed edge oxidizes and the line between the edge and the body is called the "hammon" line. This is often turned into a decorative pattern by scraping the clay with a knife producing waves and swirls along the line. The hammon line is another of the high arts of the Japanese sword.

    Case hardening is the absorption of carbon into the surface of low carbon steel making it high carbon steel and therefore hardenable. The hard surface on a soft body makes a strong wear resistant part using a low level of technology.

    To case harden a part it is first cleaned. Then it is packed in a steel, clay or graphite container with ground charcoal. The container is closed and sealed with clay to keep out air. The box containing the part and carbon is then heated to a red heat (1700°F - 1800°F, 830°C - 980°C). The container is held at that temperature for 15 minutes to several hours. Then the box is opened and the entire contents (charcoal too) is dumped into water to quench.

    Sealing in the box prevents air from oxidizing the part and bright finished parts should have the same finish when case hardened. Various types of charcoal are recommended. Bone charcoal and charcoal made from old shoe leather are common although any wood charcoal will also work.

    Case hardening is not suitable for making good cutting tools that are to be sharpened on both edges.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 10/07/00 15:13:28 GMT

    Coal Scuttle: John, Thanks! We do not maintain that list. Fred Holder of the Blacksmiths Gazette produces that list and we mirror it. However, I need to get the current copy and I'll let Fred know what you found.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 10/07/00 15:19:32 GMT

    More about Case hardening: George, case hardening often penetrates 1/32" (1mm) in a short time without damaging the part. On a thin blade this would be full penetration. The problem is that the case has more carbon on the outside and lessens as it goes into the metal. There would be no uniform area and a thin edge may have too much carbon.

    Claying the part MAY prevent some carburization but what happens in the case hardening box is that the carbon dissassoiates and becomes an airless carbon vapor. The steel at this heat becomes metalurgicaly active and absorbs the carbon.

    To do what you want to do, you are going to need to case harden and test several sample before doing the final part.

    Trial and Error.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 10/07/00 15:35:45 GMT

    Primitive case hardening: One of my gunsmithing references describes case hardening in a wood sove (heating stove), without a permanent case hardening box.

    The part is prepared. It is then made into a "packet" using old dry leather with some charcoal packed around the part. Then the packet is surrounded with clay, the whole made into a clay ball.

    The clay is then allowed to dry for several days. Then the ball is put into the coals of a HOT wood stove and left there for a half hour to several hours depening on the size of the part and ball. When removed it is broken open above the quench tank and the whole mess tossed into the tank.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 10/07/00 15:46:51 GMT

    Shooting the anvil is just plain old-fashioned fun and exciting, as evidenced by this eyewitness description of the simultaneous firing of three
    anvils, approximately 15 feet apart.
    "Thunder-- smoke-- airborne! The two outside anvils went up in a
    harmonious tandem (way up) while the middle anvil, a split second
    behind, climbed skyward like a rocket, passing between the two outside
    anvils. Then, suspended weightless against the heavens for a moment,
    they plummeted earthward at last. The synchronization, the flight
    pattern and the phenomenal distance all made for a super show, best
    This report was acompanied by a picture of what is clearly an anvil, at what looks
    like at least several hundred feet up against the clouds.
    The source: a piece by editor Robert Owings in a journal called The Anvil's Ring, about the 2nd annual Ozark
    blacksmithing concerence, hosted by the Blacksmith Association of
    Missouri, summer 1993. How the times, they are a'changin'!
    Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 10/07/00 16:01:37 GMT

    People change and blame it on time!! Sad
    jerry  <birdlegs at keynet.net> - Saturday, 10/07/00 18:13:37 GMT

    Firing anvils and Fireworks: Both have their problems yet they are TRADITIONS. Anvil Firing is a particularly AMERICAN TRADITION. . . And we like our traditions.

    Consider the hazards of anvil firing, then consider the hazards of professional fireworks. I've personally been to three fireworks shows in my life where mortars mis-fired and sent the bomb into the crowd or hit an individual. All three times people were injured. Luckily they were scared a LOT more than suffering bodily injury.

    I've been to almost as many anvil shoots in my life as fireworks shows (most all recently thanks to anvilfire). No one was injured at these shoots, nor was there a close call of any kind. Every one was at an ABANA Chapter meeting.

    NOW, I HAVE heard of some REALLY stupid stories about anvil shoots and since this is a pecularly American tradition I am sure they have been added to and glorified. Anyone shooting cast iron anvils or swage blocks fall into the incredibly stupid category. People using dynamite or smokless powder are also in that category.

    Firing anvils is NOT something that should be undertaken by the stupid, ignorant or untrained. Otherwise I expect it is safer than licensed professional fireworks.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 10/07/00 18:51:20 GMT


    Firing anvils is NOT something that should be undertaken by the stupid, ignorant or untrained. Otherwise I expect it is safer than licensed professional fireworks.

    I fully agree. You or I either one, probably know the process as well or better than most folks. But, I personally would not do it until I had helped Tim Ryan or another QUALIFIED shooter at least once.
    Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 10/07/00 20:36:57 GMT

    Shooting the Anvil..I have been a member of FABA for about 5 years and attended three yearly conferances at which they shot the anvil. Each time the anvil came down very near the launch site. It was LOUD, exciting and carried out in a safe manner. As a professional firefighter for the past 24 years, I have also been on stand-by at several professional fireworks displays. There have been injuries, burns and near misses at some of these displays, yet the popularity is nationwide. The anvil shoots are far less dangerous, in my humble opnion. I am now considering non renewal of my ABANA membership...Though I will not be able to attend the FABA conferance this year due to work schedule I hope they continue the tradition of shooting the anvil.
    R. Guess  <RanDGuess at aol.com> - Saturday, 10/07/00 21:49:05 GMT

    I am looking for a small trip hammer for hobby blacksmithing work, or information about where I can locate one.
    stan  <deena813 at nauvoo.net> - Saturday, 10/07/00 22:09:11 GMT

    Jerry, hey, just a minute here! Ain't nobody blaming nothing on time. Nobody here even talking about time. Pay attention! We talking about the times, what's happening. As in, you know, the New York Times, the L.A. Times, the Times-Picayune, down Nawlins. What's going on, the scene, that kind of times. And the times, not the tick-tock, but the ambience, they definitely changing. For example: when Marcus Tullius Cicero first took note of this phenomenon, saying, "Oh, what times! Oh, what standards!" (only, of course, he said it in Latin, an early form of Italian, "O tempora! O mores!") back in the first century B.C., people didn't think he was blaming time-- the folks knew what he was talking about. And,as just another example, the one I was driving at, or thought I was, just seven years ago, the moguls of ABANA thought anvil-shooting was cool. Now, in this litigious, super-liability-conscious era, the people may be the same, and the time is sure as hell the same 60-minutes to the hour time, but the general consensus, i.e., the times....
    Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 10/07/00 22:32:17 GMT

    I am new to blacksmithing and have recently bought an NC tools forge (whisper baby) what I would like to know is what kind of steel are ratchet, open end and box wrenches are made of. I've got a lot of them from a farmer and these wrenches are missing gears and heads are broken of so I'd like to forge them into knifes and tools, is this steel of good and temperable quality?
    Mike  <myato at silk.net> - Saturday, 10/07/00 22:35:44 GMT

    hai Guru,
    i have a question for you : if i want to make a magnet from a metal and 20 inches wires with 2 Amp current
    what metal should i have (the highest permiability) so, i can attract nails as many as it can.thank you
    Imam  <imam_dermawan at hotmail.com> - Saturday, 10/07/00 22:38:29 GMT

    Small Hammers: Stan, Try our Power hammer Page. Use the site map or menu from the home page.

    Used Tool Steels: Mike, the steel will vary by each manufacturer. Normaly it is pretty good steel. I've bent Craftsman wrenches using a torch and they were tough to bend hot which indicates a high alloy steel.

    The only thing you can do with scap steels is test a sample from each piece. Forge it and harden it and see what you get. Remember some steels are air hardening, some oil, some water. Trial and error is the way to go.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 10/07/00 23:38:48 GMT

    Guru, thank you very much for all the infos.They are great help!
    Thanks also for the primitive approach.
    George Chrysochoides  <chrys at ath.forthnet.gr> - Saturday, 10/07/00 23:49:04 GMT

    Magnet Steel: Imam, Whatever type of steel you use, it needs to be hardened. High nickle alloy steels are the most magnetic. Alnico, is a trade name for special magnet steel that makes the strongest permenant magnets.

    On the other hand, pure iron, that is unhardneable, is used for electro magnets and solenoids because it does not become permanently magnetized. This same iron or very low carbon steel is used in transformer cores.

    My references are not clear. You either want soft iron (a nail will do) or hard tungsten tool steel (A HSS drill bit shank).
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 10/07/00 23:58:51 GMT

    Dear Guru,
    I am a first year university student and I have a project to hand in on work hardening by cold working. This project is due on Monday (today is saturday 8 p.m). Any help by wirten or visual images will be grealy appreciated.

    Thanking you in advance for your immediate response.

    Marie  <icecereambabe at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 10/08/00 00:06:37 GMT

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