WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den

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 8 - 15, 2000 on the Guru's Den
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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  <icecreambabe at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 10/08/00 00:07:36 GMT

I'm very interested in building a forge in my back yard. I know nothing about blacksmithing but want to try my hand at forging swords. What materials can I find in the salvage yard to build a forge suitable for this work? What Can I use for the outside metal shell?
Doug  <dougie_52501 at yahoo.com> - Sunday, 10/08/00 00:32:31 GMT

Guru:Thanks for the mind jog it helped get my research back on track. Found a couple of books down the street at Lawton. Ralph: following are some sites that have been helpful since I went to the County Line site
Hansens http://stores.yahoo.com/wagon-wheel/orderinfo.html
Prairie Schooner http://www.teleport.com/~eotic/wagons.html
History http://dizzy.library.arizona.edu/images/ronstadt/wagons/wagon.html
Book list http://wuarchive.wustl.edu/edu/arts/metal/TOC/BookRevu/Bklist01.html

mills  <Millsnorman at yahoo.com> - Sunday, 10/08/00 01:39:04 GMT

Are you going to change your logo? After all a flame on an anvil is combustion, and an explosion is just rapid combustion.

slattont  <slattont at yahoo.com> - Sunday, 10/08/00 03:52:39 GMT

C.A., I understand & agree with your posting. My comment was in jest. Times have changed & will continue to do so with each generation, even within a generation where things are moving so fast! How we react to change will either save or destroy what we believe in. Keep posting~ I'm listening. never too old to learn :)
jerry  <birdlegs at keynet.net> - Sunday, 10/08/00 05:40:06 GMT

Work hardening: Marie, At the university you should have access to a better library than mine. I also avoid writing papers for students. . I'll give you what my ASM Metals Reference Book says and maybe that will point you in the right direction.

cold-working Deforming metal plastically under conditions of temperature and strain rate that induce strain hardening. Usually but not neccessarily , conducted at room temperature.

strain hardening An increase in hardness and strength caused by plastic deformation at temperatures below the recrystalization range.

strain hardening exponent A measure of rate of strain hardening. (formula followed, too many Greek characters to reproduce here)

Work hardening can be either benificial or detrimental. It occurs in almost all maleable metals. Gold is the notable exception. Annealing reverses the effects.

Alloy aluminum plate is stretched to increase its temper (hardness) making it stiffer and improving machinability.

In any field, working sheet by hammer, press or spinning, work hardening occurs and often the metal must be annealed between steps. The same is true of wire drawing and extruding.

The detrimental effects are that continued working beyond a certain point leads to "brittle fracture". Things break, body panels crack, springs break, the tail falls off the airplane. Jimmy Stewart was in a great movie on that subject.

This should get you started or give you an idea where to look.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 10/08/00 05:54:47 GMT

Iam working for a church organisation in Zimbabwe that trains young blacksmith. Can someone out there help with designs for mechanical hammers made from scrap. Instructions and tips for making various tools are alaso welcome.
Thank you in advance.
Garikayi  <trymore at euroseek.com> - Sunday, 10/08/00 11:32:42 GMT

Cracked and Jerry: anyone up for suing the American Bar Association for reducing our quality of life through encouraging their members to pursue inane liability suits?
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Sunday, 10/08/00 14:43:25 GMT

Just got this info from the ABANA web site for those who are upset about the FABA thing.

The ABANA Board of Directors will be meeting in La Crosse, Wisconsin for the annual meeting scheduled November 16-18, 2000. If you would like to submit comments, suggestions, complaints or general membership correspondence for the Board to review please send your letter to the Central Office by November 2, 2000 so LeeAnn will have time to copy and organize the information for the Board's review. Thanks!

Alan L  <see above> - Sunday, 10/08/00 15:06:01 GMT

Zimbabwe: Garikayi, See our Power hammer Page, Catalog of User Built and Junk Yard Hammers.

The spring helve "Little Rusty" seems to be the most fool proof to build. My "shock absorber" hammer works but not as well as it should for the amount of effort that went into it.

For making hand tools we have some articles on tool making on the iForge page. As well as low cost anvil alternatives on the 21st Century page.

Let me know if I can be of further help.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 10/08/00 17:14:51 GMT

Alan, they would probably file countersuit :p
jerry  <birdlegs at keynet.net> - Sunday, 10/08/00 20:07:46 GMT

where can i find a planishing ball for sale or an easier way to make one than grinding a block round?
Robert Englson  <shroomin_b_bob> - Sunday, 10/08/00 21:02:42 GMT

where can i find a planishing ball for sale or an easier way to make one than grinding a block round?
Robert Englson  <shroomin_b_bob> - Sunday, 10/08/00 21:03:54 GMT

Ball: Robert, How big? I'm not familiar with the exact specs or description of the tool. though I can guess from its name. Is is fully spherical or does it have a shank like a mushroom stake?

If its large and needs to be made of tool steel there are many smiths that frequent these pages that have large power hammers (up to 1,000 pounds) that may be willing to forge one close to shape for you.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 10/08/00 21:39:20 GMT

When you mention a PI tape is that one that gives you the diameter when you measure around a circumference. If so yes and Lee Valley tools is now making these.
JNewman  <newmanj at attglobal.net> - Monday, 10/09/00 00:46:10 GMT

Will be out of town from tomorrow through the 16th of October. May not be able to get on line while we're gone.

Y'all behave yourselves till I get back!
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 10/09/00 02:15:14 GMT

Guru, I have seen some liturature on the hammers from China. They look like a smaller version of a self-contained Chambersburg with a flywheel on the back instead of a enclosed geartrain. The small one is 168lbs rated, has a cast iron frame, not sheetmetal like a lot of the other newmade ones. 1 phase or 3 phase motors etc. Dont have the info here at the house, but send me your snailmail address and will send you a copy of the flyer. Iam good friends with the people that are importing them and I believe that these hammers are a good piece of equipment. Smokey
Smokey  <smokey at rmi.net> - Monday, 10/09/00 02:50:55 GMT

PI Tape: JNewman, That's it! The "inches" on the tape = PI inches. Wrap it around a shaft and you directly read the diameter to 3 times the accuracy of reading a conventional rule. They are great for measuring large shafts and shafts where you cannot use micrometers or shafts that have steps in them. A rarely heard of modern tool.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 10/09/00 03:48:50 GMT

Chinese Hammers: Smokey, Yes I know quite a bit about these machines. Will send e-mail.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 10/09/00 03:50:39 GMT

Alan, NO! I had what my lawyer, Champertous "Champ" Barratry calls a telcon to see what he thought about that and he told me to go wash my mouth out with soap, and not that fragrant, scented kind, either, but the big yellow bar. Champ says we might even get hit upside the head with one of them SLAPP-- Suit Lodged Against Pesky People-- actions just for thinking about it. We never had this conversation.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 10/09/00 03:56:33 GMT

i'm having trouble with twists. they never come out uniform and even. i've been putting the heated end in a vise, then using a cresent wrench to turn the piece. what am i doing wrong?
coondogger  <jessie> - Monday, 10/09/00 11:26:58 GMT

I have found that the secerit to even twists is an even heat if the heat is off by even a little then the twist will tighten at the hot spot and slow at the cool spot.
try heating a longer section of the bar than you want to twist then cooling np to the point you want to twist this way you'll get a more even heat line and the end of your twist will be the same as the middle.
also try preheating your vise and wrench so as not to suck the heat out of the part.
the last thing is to make sure that the bar you are twisting is of an even cross section if the sise changes then so will the twist.
hope that helps
MP  <mparkinson at mpmetalworks.com> - Monday, 10/09/00 12:12:17 GMT

Even Twists: Coondogger, MP is right aboust even heats. A relatively fast heat is required to get an even twisted section in the middle of a long bar. If the heat is slow or soaking then the heat spreads and you end up with a hot zone surrounded by medium hot zones. The result is a tight twist with lower angle twists on either side.

LONG evenly twisted sections are most often done cold. Done hot they must be done very carefuly, the smith controling the twist by eye and where the heat is applied. A little water can be used to cool areas that have the right twist when adjusting areas in between. Long even hot twists don't just "come out" on their own. They are painstakingly worked and may take many heats (unless you have a very long gas or oil forge).

Twists on tapered sections cannot be even using even heat. These are the most difficult to do and are generaly done by twisting a short section at a time or correcting the twist section by section after an overall twist.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 10/09/00 13:11:27 GMT

The question about a planishing ball here above reminded me: Did anyone hear anything from Mark, who asked about welding what could be a howitzer-shell? Havent seen him here since...
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Monday, 10/09/00 15:05:45 GMT

MP: Olle, yeah he's still with us an I just noticed he has a new URL/email address. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 10/09/00 15:23:56 GMT

note on twists: A good way to begin with the twisting problem is get a better tool. Crescent wrenches are hard to keep square as you are applying the force (esp on square stock), we used to take monkey wrenches or old crescents and weld on an extra handle off of the top jaw. This made it easier to control the twist using both hands, quick and steady. The other important thing is to count the turns, that way you can recreate it elsewhere.
escher  <fake at dontspam.com> - Monday, 10/09/00 16:05:05 GMT

Cracked and Jerry: Who, me? I didn't say anything! somebody must have posted me by mistake, yeah, that's it....

And when I twist things that aren't words, I always clamp the vise on one end and the wrench (a two-handled monkey) at the other end and twist fast before the heat goes. That means that if my heat is too long, clamp exactly where you want the ends to be. That way temperature variation is minimized.
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Monday, 10/09/00 16:38:26 GMT

i would like any info you can find on a royal western chief mnf. by Canedy Otto Chicago Hights Ill. Thanks for looking Nora
nononora  <nononora at msn.com> - Monday, 10/09/00 20:06:17 GMT

I am looking for a blacksmithing/iron works association for beginners in the Washington, D.C. metro area. I heard there was a chapter of a national association in Potomac, MD but I can't locate them. Please help!! Thanks.
Sharan Jayne  <szjayne at oc.fda.gov> - Monday, 10/09/00 20:08:49 GMT

Another type of wrench to look for is what I was taught to call a 'Ford' wrench(because they came with early Ford's) It look like a monkey wrench, but with out the teeth. Or you could say it was a flat jawed adjustable wrench with parallel jaws. Weld a handle on the moveable jaw and voila a two handled twister
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Monday, 10/09/00 21:18:17 GMT

I was given a champion hand crank blower and forge that has never been used and i think im missing a piece do you know if i can get a picture or scetch. its a No.400 if that tells you anything . thanks for any help
Clint Radabaugh  <bluedodge at moonman.com> - Monday, 10/09/00 21:33:29 GMT

Blacksmiths of the Potomac: Sharan, Try this address
BGoP Web Site. These folks are very active and monthly meetings can keep you busy. There is also the Mid-Atlantic Smiths and Central Virginia Blacksmiths Guild. Then with a little travel you can stay busy EVERY weekend! For a complete listing of ABANA chapter sites go to:

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 10/09/00 23:38:05 GMT

Guru -

I've got a Fisher anvil, and the logo appears to be an eagle holding an anchor. I know the eagle is the trademark for Fisher, but this one is the first I've noticed holding an anchor.
Is there some significance to the anchor, or do they all have anchors and this is the first time I've noticed?

It's dated 1906, and it also has an "N" on the right rear foot, same side as the eagle.
Any idea what the "N" stands for?

Bob Rackers - Monday, 10/09/00 23:57:30 GMT

Canedy Otto: Nora, They were a manufacturer of high quality blacksmiths machines. They are generaly better than the more popular Champion and Buffalo Forge equipment. That's all I can tell you.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 10/10/00 04:47:44 GMT

Olle: Yep still with you guys had to take time out from the keyboard to work in the forge... on the cannon ball thank you to all the advice from Guru et al ... I look for and found what looked like a plug in it and after that stoped droping it in a corner !!!!! after my heart rate became normall again I took it to a friend who works for a local pipe laying Co and he Xrayed it for me .... Its hollow but the hollow was empty .... after checking with a local arms hitorian with cannon ball in hand he said it had been rended harmless and pointed to a stamped mark on the ball to prove it .... thinking (not my long suit) about it for a while we decided the best way to deal with it .... we carefuly drilled out the plug (only 1"x3/4") and then used a scope to check the inside of the hollow the hollow is now filled with lead and the plug hole filled with a tapered shaft that I forge square on the other end to fit my hardy hole .... result - one great shaping tool - one friend who won't even look through my scrap pile any more - don't have to go to Dr's to do my heart stress test this year.... it must be cheaper to buy em
mark parkinson  <mparkinson2 at home.com> - Tuesday, 10/10/00 12:58:39 GMT

Paw Paw is PI**ED!

Bleeping trucck!
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Tuesday, 10/10/00 14:30:27 GMT

Dear Guru...I am the product manager of a midwestern metal manufacturer...we make garden poles, squirrel baffles, etc. for the birdfeeding and garden markets...we are planning on getting a forge to add a special smithed line...our initial product amibitions are modest -- hammered-end crook poles with twisted middles, wall mounted hangers, hand crafted hanging hooks,etc...do you know of any workshops in my neck of the woods that are happening, or of any smiths that give classes? I am calling the president of the abana chapter for my region but he is way far from the city...thanks...Barbara
Barbara Lemon  <ervatool1 at aol.com> - Tuesday, 10/10/00 16:10:30 GMT

I take it the at #! at #$ truck is not running well enough for you to get to the site?

Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Tuesday, 10/10/00 16:19:25 GMT

Why do you think it is missing something? Perhaps a slight more description would help us help you.
Is it just the blower(that is what the No.400 is for) Or does it also have a forge? Since many type and sizes were coupled with the blower, we will need more info.

I have a No. 401 FOrge with a No. 400 Blower. The forge is about 3' X 4' stands about 33" high on metal legs(looks sorta like angle iron) Has a large cast iron Buffalo fire pot. The blower is attached with a cast(I think) arm that has a clamp for the bottom of the blower gear box and the other end has a flat plate that is bolted to the bottom of the forge hearth.

Now some blowers had a free standing stand with 3 or 4 legs.

Hopefully this helped.
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Tuesday, 10/10/00 16:25:45 GMT

I have an email question from Spain to answer.

Does anyone know what a "stove pipe weld" is? And why slag inclusions would be a problem?

If I knew what the weld looked like I probably know the rest.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 10/10/00 16:51:36 GMT

Midewest Blacksmiths: Barbara, I can't be any more specific than you are (what city?). Easy miskake to make on the net.

Your local ABANA Chapter is who I would have sent you to. Where the president is located generaly is not important. Many chapters are state wide organizations and sometimes cover multiple states. Meetings generaly rotate from one member's shop to the next.

If you join and offer to have a meeting at your place THEY may come to you rather than the other way around. Yes, a few may learn some of your manufacturing methods. But there are NO secrets in the metal working business, only lost methods that are continously re-invented. Give them a tour of your finishing line, demonstrate how efficient punch presses are. All these folks have more than just a forge and anvil in their shops and are interested in ALL metal working methods. I garantee you will learn more from them than they learn from you. You may even find a ready source of sub-contractors.

In a production setting (to be competitive), you will need a forge, small power hammer and a twisting machine (on top of what I'm guessing you already have). Almost all those twists made in the middle of long bars are done in special machines or converted pipe threaders. The chapter members will also be a good source of used machinery if you don't insist on buying new.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 10/10/00 17:10:31 GMT

What would be a good choice for two metals for making some nicely contrasting non-structural damascus (or pattern welded) material.

slattont  <slattont at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 10/11/00 02:44:21 GMT

Slattont: Nickel 200 and mild steel, or nickel 200 and pure copper, or sterling silver and red gold, or shakado(sp) (96% copper,4% gold) and pure copper, or shakado and sterling silver, and so forth. You didn't mention color or cost.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Wednesday, 10/11/00 03:04:25 GMT

Color not as important. Thinking easy of welding. Decorative things. And cheap, and easy to weld. Not blades.
slattont  <slattont at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 10/11/00 03:45:17 GMT

I understand that there is a way to build a spring assisted third hand to hold material on the anvil. Any info/help would be much appreciated!
Andrew Dean  <avdean at compuserve.com> - Wednesday, 10/11/00 04:52:45 GMT

Hold Downs: Andrew, There are two popular methods. A simple bent bench "hold fast" or "hold down" to fit in the hardy hole. A loosely fitting round steel bar is bent past a right angle to about an 80 degree angle. One end bent to a gentle curve and slightly flattened. Its dropped on the work and given a slight tap to lock it on the work. To unlock it is given a tap on the back side of the bend. Dead simple.

The second type is made from a piece of flat bar bent to fit over the heal of the anvil and then at 45 degree angles to meet in the middle. A hole is punched or drilled in the flat where the two ends join. It looks sort of like an upside down stirrup. A coil spring is attached via the hole and attached below to the anvil stand. The loop is lifted and released onto the work. Sometimes a low handle is attached to the loop to make it easier to lift.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 10/11/00 05:53:05 GMT

Tim: Best contrast is nickel 200(pure nickel) and any straight carbon steel. The easiest to weld is A203E (3.5%nickel mild steel) and any straight carbon steel without nickel. Other steels with nickel are P6, 3310, and 9310 which may be easier to find than A203E.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Wednesday, 10/11/00 12:48:42 GMT

In Support of Monkey Wrenches

The advice given about making even twists above is all very true and good. Even heat, attention to form, counting turns, marking length all make for pleasing twist by giving the smith control of the process.
I must take exception to one piece of advice however. Welding a handle to a monkey wrench does not improve your skill as a smith or make your twists better. It also ruins a Monkey Wrench. A twisting wrench is a very easy tool to make. It actually takes less time to make one than it does to find a Monkey Wrench and arc weld on a handle. To become a good smith look to the techniques of smithing first.
JohnC  <careatti at crosslink.net> - Wednesday, 10/11/00 14:05:53 GMT

I was not and am not saying an additional handle on a wrench will make you a better smith, but I am saying that it will help you control the twist better. (you know counter-torque and all that physics stuff)
And yes make your own twisters. But I prefer having an adjustable one instead of having a dozen different ones lying about. But this is my own personal choice, which I made after doing it both ways.
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Wednesday, 10/11/00 16:51:29 GMT


I've got custom benders that I made for specific jobs. I've also go a modified monkey wrench. Guess which wrench gets used most often?

The monkey wrench, of course. And it's the one I take to shows, because it's adjustable.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 10/11/00 18:05:53 GMT

I got some 3/4" and 1 1/8" improved cable from a local crane outfit that I hope to someday fordge into cable damascus. I need to lean lots of the basic's first but I started scrounging for materials already. I was wondering since this stuff has been sitting in their yard for a while and is rusted, but not real bad, if it is still worth trying to weld it or does the cable need to be new (rust free) to make an acceptable weld?
By the way, if this stuff is useable crane companies should be a good source for cable for anyone who wants to try cable damascus, because they have it laying around after replacing the rigging on their cranes and can not sell it because of the liability. The guy I talked to was more than happy to give me about 6' of each to try once he knew I was not going to use it as a cable.
Matt Matlock  <matt_matlock at juno.com> - Wednesday, 10/11/00 18:22:25 GMT

Tool Prefference: I'm sort of on John's side on this one. However, for efficiency I never used anything other than tongs for twisting. I always tended to use a small set of tools. Many less than those on hand. My two favorite sets of tongs and one hammer got used more than any other tools. I tried adjustable wrenches and spanner style twisting wrenches and found them too clumsey and slow to get on and off.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 10/11/00 18:23:38 GMT

Cable: Matt, There's rust and there is RUST. A little exterior rust is not a problem but interior rust is hard to get around.

Tonight's iForge demo is going to be on making a cable s-hook with forge welded ends.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 10/11/00 18:29:43 GMT

I take it the truck is still down?

Actually I use what is handy. But I mostly plan the work ahead of time, which means I can get the wrench adjusted before hand and it is quick then.
Perhaps once I have a permanent shop and do not have to carry most of my tooling in a hand bag I can afford the multiple tools. Right now I have 3 tongs, two different size vise-grips, one hammer, several and sundry punches and chisels and one hot cut. Been this light for about 6 years now.... Now If I can just get a shop built this winter..... (grin)
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Wednesday, 10/11/00 20:39:22 GMT


Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 10/11/00 22:49:58 GMT

I teach a Welding Sculpture Class in CA. One of my students approached me on a process called "Fire Polishing". This one threw me. I do not know of this process. Can you give me any information on this process, if it exists??

Thank you
Dennis R. Johnson  <Gryskyhawk at AOL.com> - Wednesday, 10/11/00 23:24:02 GMT

I dont think using a monkey wrench is an indicator of a poor smith. I guess I worry about all those loose monkeys running around.
Good luck with the shop. You will get one.
JohnC  <crosslink.net> - Thursday, 10/12/00 00:17:30 GMT

Hey there
I live up in Canada, a geat place, but little information available.
1 I am looking for scrolls or patterns for scrolls for ornamental iron work.
Thank you

Ray Schindler  <belwoodiag at sympatico.ca> - Thursday, 10/12/00 00:28:12 GMT

I am conducting research about blacksmithing in preparation of a sermon....
At what degree do metal need to be heated before it can be bent and shaped into the desired form??

What are common techniques in shaping and forming metal??(ex. for designs, textures, etc)

J. Hart  <a2hmin at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 10/12/00 02:08:07 GMT

I am a 13 year-old who wishes to become a blacksmith. I would like to know if ther is a age requierment or not. I also would like to know how to start,and were to go.

Evan  <icecold at 37.com> - Thursday, 10/12/00 02:24:31 GMT

Ray Schindler What part of Canada are you from? There are lots of blacksmiths up here, 200+ in Ontario Artist blacksmith Assos. Caniron next summer in Sask., in B.C. a year ago.
JNewman  <newmanj at attglobal.net> - Thursday, 10/12/00 02:25:22 GMT

Could you please tell me the correct original color for a little giant 25 pound hammer made in 1952. I am also very interested in obtaining paint that would be a good match, are there any farm equipment or industrial types of paints readily available that would be a close approximation? Thanks for any help you can provide. Russell.
Russell Warner  <rgwarner at flinthills.com> - Thursday, 10/12/00 03:03:34 GMT

J. Hart, Check your e-mail. I sent you quite a bit if info. for your sermon.

Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Thursday, 10/12/00 03:12:00 GMT

Evan, no there isn't an age requirement! Where you can go for help, depends on where you live. More info would be needed for a more helpfull answer.
Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Thursday, 10/12/00 03:14:58 GMT

Reply for Arvid
This is a little late but Albert H. Sonn refers to this tale as being from Sussex, England, in Volume 2 of Early American Wrought Iron. He states that it is an "anglicized" version of of an old jewish legend.

slattont  <slattont at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 10/12/00 03:25:11 GMT

Esteemed Guru,
I am interested in making some knifes from some old metalworking files. I have annealed, shaped and rehardened the metal (oil quenched) but have been unable to find a good color recommendation for tempering the blades. I would like to finish up with a Rockwell hardness in the area of 58 to 60. I tempered one blade to a very pale straw but the edge seems a bit brittle. I tempered the next blade to a bronze / brown and the edge seems better (I'll know more after I work with it some more.) One internet source recommended heating to blue but that seemed a bit much. I would appreciate your assistance. Thanks. Ed
Ed  <ednbarb at citizens-tel.net> - Thursday, 10/12/00 04:01:34 GMT

Fire Polishing: Dennis, I'm pretty sure this is a term used in glass working. The flame melts the surface and produces a smooth surface. Ask the student the source. There is a TON of pseudo/science and fiction sites that misstate all kinds of information.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 10/12/00 04:45:50 GMT

Scrolls: Ray, We have a method for laying out scrolls on the iForge page and we have scroll jigs on the 21st Century page.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 10/12/00 04:48:51 GMT

Little Giant Colors: Russell, Early little giants were black like most machinery, sometime early in the century they started using a dark green (my 1918 100# Meyer Bros was Green, see Power hammer Page). Some late hammers were machine tool grey. Sid Sudemeier the current owner of LG paints them ALL bright green.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 10/12/00 04:53:43 GMT

Temper: Ed, a blue is generaly a spring temper. Temper colors only work accurately on plain alloy steels. Additions of chrome and nickle change the colors. There is often two sets of colors that pass across the steel. Temper colors are much to jubjective and in this era
there are numerous methods to determine actual temperatures. Tempil temperature crayons work and meters using thermocouples are also common.

Anytime you are heattreating an unknown steel you become your own metalurgist. Manufacturers make their own material selections and just known what an object WAS doesn't tell you what it was made from. Trial and error is the name of the game.

Machinery's Handbook lists "ordinary" files as 1.25% carbon steel (HSS range). For the hardness you list (which IS very brittle in most cases) the average tempering temperature is 400 to 450°F.

The thing about custom heattreating is that you can selectively heattreat the steel. Temper the back of the knife to the lowest harness for strength and leave the edge harder for edge holding. I would temper to the edge temper in a salt bath or oven for a uniform even temper then use a heated block to further draw the temper on the sections that I wanted softer.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 10/12/00 05:25:53 GMT

Getting Started: Evan, The only age requirments are those applied to general employment if you are looking for a job in a particular field. It is never too early to start studying. I started reading Machinery's Handbook and researching blacksmithing when I was your age. See our article "Getting Started" linked at the top and bottom of this page.

What is important at your age is to have the support of your parents and to STAY in SCHOOL. At your age you need help with transporting yourself, tools and equipment. You will also need to purchase BOOKS. A few libraries keep at least one blacksmithing book but that is generaly the best you can expect.

In ages past an 8th Grade education was the requirment for most trades. However, today, blacksmithing is not by the apprentice system. Most of it must be self taught. That means lots of reading and independant research. When you get to hardening and tempering of tools the research can get quite technical. If you are intrested in the high art of blade smithing you will find that the top people in the field have masters and doctorates in metalurgy or engineering. And YES, these folks still pound hot iron! Many artist/blacksmiths have art or design degrees.

Most modern smiths are also self employed which means having a business plan, doing paper work, taxes, meeting environmental and employment laws. Yeah, all that yucky office work! A good education helps cope with all theses tasks.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 10/12/00 05:54:04 GMT

Fire Polishing II: Dennis, Stefan Hugel wrote to me from Norway this morning to point out that according to an ancient National Geographic the technique was applied to Pewter work. So it may also be applicable to low temperature melting alloys.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 10/12/00 06:00:45 GMT

not quite sure how to start... ohh well

if it help at all, im just starting out, not by anymeans a novice even

im looking for an anvil, only for cold work on mild and stainless between 10 and 22 ga. (alot of riveting and planishing and the like, going to be building armour, specificly 14th century)

in my area (Alabama) i cant seem to find _any_ that aren't, for lack of a better term, crap

i'm realy wanting one that isn't cast, with a hardie (not sure on the spelling there) hole for use with different stakes (maybe 3/4"?) and a horn would be nice

ive been told that shipping is a killer on them, so i was realy looking for the most cost effective way to buy one, weather it be drive cross country or buy one and ship it

as to the cost issue, it'll get alot of use, so im not looking for an el-cheepo one, but im not looking to drop 1000 dolars on an anvil realy

i dont care if its used or not as long as its in decent condition, heck most of anyyhing would be better than the (frequently rust ridden, and i clean it alot too, adn keep it oiled) iron I-beam im using now

also i had a another quick question, until i can find and buy and anvil, for the I-beam makeshift one im using now, ive been told if i spray galvenize it that it wouldn't rust at all and that there would be no problem with it chipping or affecting my work, my better judgement tells me this is not a good idea adn that it would chip and just be a mess, and possibly even transfer over onto my work, an opinion on this would be very helpful

thank you for your time,
Altros  <llid at bellsouth.net> - Thursday, 10/12/00 08:47:05 GMT

gus  <PF&SINC at AOL.COM> - Thursday, 10/12/00 12:23:06 GMT

I have whitesmithed a fair massive bracelet of twisted and bashed together pure and sterling silver, including also a fair amount of hard solder (not true mokume). What I am seeking is a good surface treatment that will bring out the contrast in the pattern. A bit of etching would be acceptable, the piece is presently planished to a smooth surface with the sterling deliberatly darkened by exposure to sulpher fumes, pretty but not as striking as I would wish. Thanks, Robert
Robert  <kreese at one,net> - Thursday, 10/12/00 13:14:58 GMT

Hi Guru, Just like to say thanks for all the great info & tips you guys produce. I'm just starting out in blacksmithing & you guys produce the best help I've found on the net. Smithing sounds like it is still quite strong in the states unlike Australia where it has become a dying art. People here are just starting to rediscover handforged work but it's hard trying to compete with cheap imported c--p from SE Asia & India. Keep up the great work.
Chris Watts  <cjwatts at southwest.com.au> - Thursday, 10/12/00 14:11:09 GMT

Anvils: Altros, Join the AFC. Go to local meetings, there are almost always members there with anvils to sell. Yes, some will be junk but a lot will be good. Almost all will be rusty (to some extent).

Yes, I-beam makes too springy of a work surface. You CAN improve it by welding sides on and making a box section out of it.

Painting the work surfaces is not a good idea. Yes it will come off on your work. It doesn't hurt to paint the non-working surfaces. Oiling with detergent motor oil doesn't stop rust due to the fact it is designed to absorb water. Most thin penetrating oils are mostly kerosene and they evaporate. Many also contain corrosives to help break rust. WD-40 is pretty good but needs to be applied such that you see an even liquid surface to prevent rust.

On our 21st century page we have a cheap VERY efficient anvil substitute. If you break out of conventional thinking there are a lot of very good alternatives. Also see our armour articles for more tooling ideas.

On the iForge page there are substitute tools as well.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 10/12/00 17:02:11 GMT

Chris, Thanks!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 10/12/00 17:05:33 GMT

Guru, Thanks for all of the helpfull and timely information you post here. I have a pice of 3' X 2' by 3/8" plate that I want to make into a workbench to put my post vice on. I was toying with the idea of making it a 3 leg table with the post vice being one of the legs and I have some 1 1/8" solid hexagon steel for the other 2 legs. I was wondering if this would be too much strain on the post vice? Any suggestions would be appriciated. TIA, Matt
Matt Matlock  <matt_matlock at juno.com> - Thursday, 10/12/00 17:16:15 GMT

Vise Bench: Matt, It depends on the size/weight of the vise. That peice of plate may seem very solid but it will be a very springy bench unless you weld edging of flat bar or angle iron around the edges. 3" x 3/8" angle would be best. Anything would be better than nothing. For the legs too. That bar will work but will need diagonals. Diagonals extending to below the joint on the vise would be good too. Don't weld to the vise, wrap a collar around the leg and attach to that.

Offset edgeing inward 2" or 3" so that you can use clamps on the bench. I built a really NICE welding bench with a 1" thick top plate. But I only extended the edges an inch. REALLY solid but a pain to clamp work to.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 10/12/00 17:35:45 GMT

Dissapearing Trades and Cheap Imports: Chris, blacksmithing was very near extinct in the U.S. in the early 1960's. ABANA, its Chapters and the increasing availability of books on the subject have brought about a revolution in the trade. Today this revolution is spreading world wide.

You can help this process by seeking out your local blacksmithing association and supporting it. There are several in Australia.

Cheap imports are a problem in all the industrialized nations. However, many have found they CAN compete by mechanizing AND producing superior work. Power hammers, bar twisters (made from pipe threaders), ironworkers and other machines are more readliy available in our industrialized nations as used machinery than in the developing countries where the cheap imports come from. It is a small advantage, but it IS an advantage. It is difficult, but it IS possible to compete.

The laborers you are competing with have primitive tools and generaly inefficient production methods. If you try to compete on their level you will fail. Take advantage of the resources available to you.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 10/12/00 18:06:11 GMT

i am looking to be a apprentice for renaissance re-creation and i was wondering if there was one in washingtonor not. i am 18 years old and i can do some forging but not a lot. would like to learn a great deal.
Ken Adam  <belgarid1 at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 10/12/00 23:52:38 GMT

i am looking to be a apprentice for renaissance re-creation and i was wondering if there was one in washingtonor not. i am 18 years old and i can do some forging but not a lot. would like to learn a great deal.
Ken Adam  <belgarid1 at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 10/12/00 23:53:03 GMT

Is uranium forgeable? I "aquired" some weapon grade uranium and I could make a sword.
James Elwood - Friday, 10/13/00 02:12:25 GMT

Uranium forgable? It is best beaten into PLOWSHARES!
OK, now this is getting rediculous, First it was burning holes into acetylene tanks, then welding exploding cannon balls, Now THIS?
As the wicked which said in her last moments, "What a world, what a world."
You know of course that now that you announced what you have on the internet, the Feds are going to come get you.
Better start running now.
P.S. are you related to Jake?

Moldy  <ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH> - Friday, 10/13/00 02:41:56 GMT

On the 21st Century page, it is suggested, are stated that it is possible to heat 20 mule team borax in an oven and driving off the water to create anyhydrous borax. Would there be any fumes created from doing this?

slattont  <slattont at yahoo.com> - Friday, 10/13/00 03:29:47 GMT

Borax:Tim, You are baking out water. Steam, nothing else.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 10/13/00 04:58:10 GMT

Uranium: James, Did you know that when you post anything on the Internet it leaves records that are easily traced? Your DNS address is:
That resolves to:

Our server log says you use MSIE 5.5 on a Windows 98 system. YOUR ISP can take the time and the DNS address above and tell what account you called in on and where you live if its not a public terminal. If its a public terminal then there will probably be witnesses that can identify the user of that terminal at that time.

A stupid statement like yours can bring the Mounties, FBI or CIA to your doorstep in short order. On a day when Middle Eastern terrorists have killed and injured US sailors they will not be in a good mood at all. . .

Enriched uranium is almost never in pure metalic form. Sub-critical masses of solid material would create a chain reaction producing heat and LOTS of neutrons. Anyone within line of site would likely die in a short time. Therefore all uses where any significant amount is needed the material is diluted in a ceramic or radiologicly neutral material. It is therefore not a maleable metalic material.

Depleted uranium (a stable non-radioactive isotope sometimes called "spentalloy") is used in armor peircing bullets because of its high density AND the fact that it is pyrophoric (it burns like magnesium). The heat generated by peircing the armor plate sets the bullet on fire which then proceeds to bounce around inside the armoured vehicle setting fire to fuel and ammo.

Because it is pyrophoric it must be worked cold or in an enert atmosphere. It is softer than unhardened steel and the metal and all its compounds are highly toxic.

There are some things you do not make jokes about in public, this is one of those subjects.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 10/13/00 07:38:26 GMT

Stove pipe weld ; could they be talking about a boiler tube ? if it is it may be high pressure tube with thousands of pounds per square inch, 2500+lbs per sq. in.
tom L  <Tjlapples at aol.com> - Friday, 10/13/00 09:38:29 GMT

I researching my husbands family history, I have come a Peter Ragsdale who asccording to court documents was a blacksmith in the 11830's till his death in 1860. How would he have learned his trade? I as once told that he could have learned in while serving in the Creek and Indain war in 1813 but he only served for a three month time frame.
I have been told that it took years as an apprentice. Any info would be of help in tracing where he may of come from. Thank you Kelley
Kelley Ragsdale  <jrags0951 at aol.com> - Friday, 10/13/00 12:27:17 GMT

Stovepipe Welds:

Seems to me I've come accross the term in forging muskets. Anybody have the "Secrets of the Indian Trade Gun" (might be a little off on the title) handy?

Hastings XXXII this weekend. I'll be giving the Flaming Scadian forge to an old friend for his projects. I don't know if our usual smith will be there, and I'm working with the faering boat for the weekend, but there should be a lot of hardware clanking about. Directions are at: www.markland.org.(a web site that seems to be forever staggering along under developement.)

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> - Friday, 10/13/00 14:02:56 GMT

Could it be that some people have trouble understanding the difference between "uranium" and "titanium"? How else to explain that weird post?
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Friday, 10/13/00 16:15:18 GMT

Genealogy: Kelly, In the early 1800's the apprentice system was still alive and well. Unless your relative's father or uncle was a smith he may have served an apprenticeship from his early or preteen years and lasting 7 years. Most often this was timed so that by the time a man was 21 he was a Journeyman smith working in other shops and prehaps ready to start his own.

On the other hand America has historicaly been lax on regulating trades. Mostly because trades people were in high demand. A person could go to work for another and learn a trade then go off on their own and setup shop. Anyone with the skills could hang out a sign and be what they claimed to be.

Last, during those times every farm had a small forge and everyone took part in basic repairs, shoeing the horses, oxen, mules. . . Even in the city blacksmith and farrier shops were common until the automobile replaced horse drawn transportation. Like service stations today, almost every neighborhood had its farrier/blacksmith shop.

Blacksmithing skills were common and anyone that wanted to learn had ample chance.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 10/13/00 16:26:22 GMT


I am fairly new to smithing and am needing to build some tools. I would like some guidance on how to build a hot cutter. I am sure that you have answered this question before but I cannot find an answer.
Also please include materials needed, easy suppliers etc.

Thank you for your help.
Anradan  <tcanevaro at romperlandplay.com> - Friday, 10/13/00 17:56:02 GMT

newbie would like to know how to built and manage a coal fire no promblem starting a fire just managing one thanks terry
Terry  <smith_terry at mailcity.com> - Friday, 10/13/00 18:13:40 GMT

newbie would like to know how to built and manage a coal fire no promblem starting a fire just managing one thanks terry
Terry  <smith_terry at mailcity.com> - Friday, 10/13/00 18:13:41 GMT

Can someone tell me how to get a very pitted look on steel. This is not a textured paint finish. The metal has uneven pock marks like the moons surface on a good day!
I would greatly appreciate any help. Thanks, Richard
Richard  <richardls7 at hotmail.com> - Friday, 10/13/00 19:17:58 GMT

Richard, Part of my business is repairing and or adapting antiques. Some of the wrought that I see is very old and very pitted. To try and match this I made some texturing hammers. I took a 3 lb sledge for example and hit it on a piece of ragged broken steel. Then I took a smaller piece of coarse textured round and pushed parts of the hammer down to leave high spots. All done hot of course. Its easy to get pits on the hammer head, hard to get raised bumps that will leave holes in new work. Also one hit when the work is too cold and you will ruin the texture on the hammer. For decorative work, textured hammers are great. Just look at Tom Latane's work.
Pete  <Ravnstudio at aol.com> - Friday, 10/13/00 19:38:38 GMT

Tools: Anradan, Check our iForge page and 21st Century pages. We have instructions for making a variety of tools.

Generaly a "hot cutter" is a thin version of a handled blacksmiths cold chisle. It can also be a thin hand held chisle. The thinner the hot chisle the better the steel needs to be. Hot work steels remain relatively hard up to a red heat. S-7, H-13 and H-27 are common hotwork steels but other more common steels such as 5160 that are "red hard" also work.

For work under a power hammer almost any tool steel works as it is used for a very breif period of time. Even mild steel works for hot cutters in light duty power hammer applications.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 10/13/00 19:59:50 GMT

Fire Management: Terry, This varies with the grade of coal and the type of forge. However, I can address common mistakes and basic practices in fire management.

1) Too shallow a fire. The fire bed needs to be about 6" (15cm) deep minimum and a foot (30cm) deep on average.

2) Too much air. A gentle blast in a deep fire produces a good soaking heat. A harsh blast in a shallow fire burns the steel and heats the outside leaving the interior much cooler.

3) Fresh coal needs coking time. A new fire or a fire that has had a large amount of fresh coal added needs to site and smoulder a while with a very low blast (or none at all) in order to cook off some of the volitiles. When the core of the fire has coked down then the blast can be turned up and a VERY hot clean fire will exist.

Once a good fire has been started coal may be fed to it by pushing it in from the sides. Keep packing fuel toward the center using the back of a small shovel or rake. Water may need to be occasionaly sprinkled on the fresh coal to keep the fire from spreading too far. Us a can on a long handle. Water tossed on the fire results in a steam that can easily scald. USE that long handle!

I use a pointed 'poker', with a slight curve but no hook on the end, to create a vent in the fire and to clear the air inlet.

These are the basics. As I mentioned the type of forge and coal make a difference. Like everything else it just takes practice. After a while you won't even realize you are "tending" the fire. You just toss on some coal and give it a whack here or there with a poker or a piece of stock.. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 10/13/00 20:21:41 GMT

Heavy Pits: Richard, Petes texturing hammers help. Rapid corrosion using a chemical etch also works. Chlorox bleach does it over night. Apply it outdoors on a wood surface. Do not use metal or galvanized containers. Do not mix other chemicals. Afterwards rince with a weak acid like vinegar then netralize THAT with a baking soda solution. Use a final rinse of fresh water and let sit out doors and rust some more.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 10/13/00 20:28:58 GMT

Textured iron
Julius Schramm, Fritz Kuhn, Otto Schmirler, All German, Turn of Century to 1950 used anvils made of granite to texture iron.
Fire Management One of the overlooked skills of Blacksmithing. The only addition I would make to Guru's excellent advice is to work towards a smaller fire. A smaller fire is more economical (less fuel) requires less rebuilding (more work time) and gives a more soaking heat (iron is easier to work).
JohnC  <careatti at crosslink.net> - Friday, 10/13/00 23:27:04 GMT

Small Fire: John, I sorta glossed over that. . A big coal pile with the gentlest of blasts will create that wonderful soaking heat in a relatively small fire. You just have to pay attention to the spread of the fire and not let it get out of control. Again, a lot depends on the quality of the coal.

Hmmmmm textured granite anvil. Dress the face like a mill stone with a chipping hammer. The porous grades used for mill stones would also be the best for textured anvils. . . Have to check with the stone cutters and Memorial folks.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 10/14/00 00:16:11 GMT

Wayne Goddard used a granite anvil to show that anything would work as an anvil. Got his form a Mermorial and Grave marker place.....
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Saturday, 10/14/00 01:04:56 GMT

Granite Anvil: These have been used from the beginning of time. I've never tried it but I'm told the stone spalls from the heat. However a mis-strike would seem to be a worse problem. I tested a black granite surface plate for rebound and got an astounding 85%. That is better than 90% of all anvils.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 10/14/00 03:31:17 GMT

I wonder if you could help me, about a month ago I've bought
a buffalo 200 blower but the gears are very worn, do you
know anybody who sells parts for this blower (worm gear
near fanblades and and middle gear is pretty damaged.
Or is there another way to run this gearbox, maybe via
belt and pulley's ?
Pleas help

robert schmidbauer australia
robert  <rschmidb at netsprint.net.au> - Saturday, 10/14/00 10:30:32 GMT

Blower Gears: Robert, Parts are not available. Replace stock gears can be purchased sometimes but these are not cheap and require a lot of machining of the existing parts and gears.

Your idea of reworking for pullies is pretty good. To get the kind of step-up in speed you need will either take two pairs of pullies OR one very large one. Old lever operated forges that were designed to have a bellows type motion used one large pulley on a shaft with a crank offset, and a very small pulley on the blower. The parts looked a lot like those off an old treadle type sewing machine. Look on our 21st Century page. We have images of an old lever action forge. You don't have to use the lever action, a crank on the large pulley will work too.

An electric motor works too :)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 10/14/00 13:13:58 GMT

Blower gears. I agree with guru..I have a lever action forge I use on live demo' I switched it over to a pullies and a flat leather belt. Added a home made crank handle.Its looks good and works. Unless you find a forge for parts, I call it "creative thinking" takes over to make it work..
Invention at its best..
Barney  <barney at vianet.on.ca> - Saturday, 10/14/00 14:05:06 GMT

I am working on making a blower out of one of those old hand crank bench grinders and a fan from a vacumn cleaner, it works pretty so far, perhaps you could adapt the hand cranl to your existing blower.
Moldy Jim
Moldy Jim  <Sorry_no_spam_me> - Saturday, 10/14/00 17:46:44 GMT


I am a wood turner and i like to make my own tools, cutters, chisels, out of steel, I like to use 440 S/S, or old planner blades mostly when i can get some, however, I have run across some cheap chisels which I can make in to wood cutting tools for small bowls, christmas orniments, ect. I know the steel in these chisels is of poor qualityand realy soft, My question to you is how can I make the steel a bit harder so it will take and edge and hold it better. I have done some metal work in the distance past, and with halfhimmersI can remember how I harder steel, So if you would refresh my old memories, THANKS IN ADVANCE
Jim Moore
Jim Moore  <boatbum66 at Aaol.com> - Saturday, 10/14/00 18:19:28 GMT

Steel Chisles: Jim, You never know. Many cheap tools are made of good steel and then poorly heattreated.

Carbon steel is hardened by heating to just above the non-magnetic point (a low red) and quenching in air, oil, water or brine (depending on the steel). The quenchant is determined both by the steel and the cross section. I oil quench almost everything. If it doesn't harden then I try (warm) water. Brine is rarely needed. Air hardening steels are relatively rare and expensive.

It is then tempered by reheating it to some point below the transformation point (where is was hardened). This temperature varies from as low as 450°F to as high as 1,300°F. Tempering reduces the hardness a little and the brittleness a lot, making the tool tougher. Double tempering is heating to the tempering point again. The temperature should be held for a brief period of time (up to 15min).

When hand tempering you can use selective tempering (like a soft file tang).

On plain carbon steels the temper color was (is) used to determine the temperature. Alloy steels do not show the same colors. If you don't know exactly what you have then trial and error is your best bet.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 10/14/00 21:31:55 GMT

Dear Guru,
I am a Civil War reenactor and also a blacksmith. I am currently making custom sabers for the calvary group that I am with. I have no problem making the blades or any part of them for that matter, but I do have a very hard time heat treating the blades. When I treat them, they don't hold their temper very long with vigorous use. I have come to the conclusion that I need a better treatng method and I began looking at hot salt furnaces to help me perfectly anneal and then treat the blade. That would also be a lot less time consuming than pulling the blade back and forth over the coals. There is another problem though: I don't know how to make myself a decent salt furnace. I would like to make one out of an old hot water heater/ tank for I can feed larger blades into it and still get the results that I want. I also need to know what salts I should use and at what temperatures. Can you help me? Thanx, Chad Locke.
Chad Locke  <Hotforgin at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 10/15/00 18:42:31 GMT

Temper Problems: Chad. Tempered steel does not lose its temper from use. Yes heat treating long blades is a problem.

Salt baths need to be melted in a ceramic or stainless tank. The Don Fogg web site has the best information I've seen on the subject. He uses a little gas furnace to melt the salts. A temperature controller is the most expensive part. However, a good controller can be used on more than one device and for general temperature measurments.

A salt bath can be used to harden, temper or anneal.

Common Salt:

801C / 1473.8F Melts
1413C / 2575.4F Boils

The melting point is high for hardening high carbon steels but is satifactory for steels up to about 65 point carbon.

Potassium Chloride

770C / 1418F melts
1550C / 2822F Sublimates

This has a wider working range.

Potassium Nitrate (Saltpeter)

334C / 633F melts
400C / 752F decomposes

This is easier to melt but has a narrow working range. Organics mixed with nitrates can produce dangerous situations. Small amounts of sulfur can result in explosive mixtures.

Heat treating suppliers sell various salt mixtures. Some are considered "neutral" some carburizing.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 10/15/00 21:59:04 GMT

I just bought an NC Forge whisper daddy-3 burner-forge. What is the proper amount of gas pressure to run? Thanks
Brian  <cornish at zoomnet.net> - Sunday, 10/15/00 23:28:03 GMT

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