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

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

This is an archive of posts from October 1 - 8, 2001 on the Guru's Den
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Anvilfire "Tool" Auction Test

This is the link to our new auction test site. The anvilfire Tool Auction is another Andrew Hooper Production
   - guru

New for Fall smiting: Here at Cracked Anvil Center for Analysis, we are just about ready to go onstream with: magnetic soap to rinse those horrid little steel splinters out of your hands the painless way. And scented, too, for those intimate, apres forging moments with your significant other: choose from among Sage, Cinnamon, or the man's man's aroma, Gear Oil.
   Cracked Anvil - Monday, 10/01/01 03:02:52 GMT

Gear Oil? Umm ... just whom would I be attracting with this scent?
   adam - Monday, 10/01/01 03:52:57 GMT

Cracked. . .?
   - guru - Monday, 10/01/01 03:59:18 GMT

MMMMMM! gear oil...kinda like to think that the dinasaurs it came from smelled like that.
Re cold galv VS hot dip...on the coast, heavy marine grade hot dip will outlast properly painted steel with a cold galv coating about 3 to 1 I found.
Larry: put an old hammer by the jacks and a can of penetrating (detergent type helps a tad) oil next to it. Everytime you pass them, add a drop of oil and tap the steel in all directions. A small airhammer will help. Do this till you loose patience.
Next stage. Apply your big wrench with a modest pressure...apply the hammer or small airhammer to the base of the wrench handle persistantly. Switch directions regularly...rock it back and forth. Swear a lot.
Next stage, with a rose bud , heat the outside casting all around the frozen part as symmetrically as you can. Try to heat as fast as you dare without cracking the casting so that it expands while the steel core remains cold. At a few hundred degrees , use the wrench to rock the steel screw and tap some. If even the tiniest movement is detected, add more oil and keep working it. If no pie....
Next step, continue heating to just below the heat where the oil flashes...some smoking ( eech) is expected...at this temp, any oil is penetrating oil and you have not yet blown the temper of the steel screw entirely....to wench..er only if you have Chastity helping, otherwi9se, to wrench and hammer again.
Cool and repeat if necessary.Swear some more.
Generally , rusted parts cooperate by this point...If not, 2 options....
1... heat the cast to dull red as the Guru says, add grease to the joint and wield the big wrench as above while hot.Only modest profanity should be necessary......Or
2...Degrease the pieces aggressively! Use the electrolosys-washing soda-battery charger method and let her soak.A plastic trashcan is the right vessel here..
This might also be a good alternative starting place BEFORE you apply heat as it is easier on the tool and can work suprisingly well. Ive removed bolts this way that were so rusted that it wasnt possible to tell if the bolt head was square or hex.
Can you tell that I might have done this before?
   - Pete F - Monday, 10/01/01 05:51:19 GMT

Cracked, while I haven't yet had the honor of trying your facinating new magnetic soap, I have found something that might work nearly as well. Plus it will work on those pesky, nonmagnetic brass and copper slivers as well.
I just use soap and a fine Scotchbrite pad like a washcloth between my fingers. It seems to pull out those tiny slivers without a problem and leaves my hands silky smooth.

(Not to mention the advantage of not leaving fingerprints on Chastity's windowsill.)

Try it out and see if it don't do the job.

   - moldy - Monday, 10/01/01 06:35:35 GMT

Anybody here know the origins of "Cold Iron" and its being anathema to faeries? I was asked this question by someone on another list and thought I would come here for answers.
   Dave - Monday, 10/01/01 11:30:00 GMT

Larry, sometimes the rust is pitted inside the two parts and is acting to "lock" them together. I've had that happen with cast iron gears on steel shafts. If that is the case, and acid/soaking won't work, you may just have to cut the less valuable/easier to replace part. New nuts can be turned to fit the screws. Or maybe the nuts can be cut into two pieces and another collar can be made to fit over the top and hold them together? If it is pitting, you may find the screw threads pitted beyond use inside the nut.

Cold galvanizing can be had from electric utility companies and contractors too. The best hot dip zinc coatings are put on steel electic power distribution towers and switchgear structures. Cold galvanizing is used for touchup after installation. Hot dip galvanizing on parts cleaned well before galvanizing is the most durable for atmospheric corrosion in my experience.

Never sieze is great stuff. I use it for assembly of just about anything when friction is not required. I also use a lot of loctite. It seals threads as well as locking them. So the threads are fuctional longer in WI winter road salt. Just don't use the permanent stuff (272, 271)on grade 2 fasteners if you ever expect to take them apart.

Moly Disulfide solid lubricant works much better than open gear lube for most of my uses. It doesn't attract dirt. And it's slightly less messy.

Your mileage may vary.....
   Tony - Monday, 10/01/01 13:06:03 GMT

Demo's---Look over the site *first* and discuss forge placement with the folks running the thing. Can you drive to your spot? Is there shade? Where's the water? Which way does the wind blow? Where will the crowd be? (Can you prevent folks from entering the smithing area behind you)

*Always* bring your own shade---that tree you had roped off with the RESERVED sign will have been removed by a drunk driver---have your "back-up shade" ready to go. I use a heavy canvas tarp---the ropes for the poles make a good place to run my crowd control rope too.

A big block of wax makes a quick finish for just made items---the wax makes them feel less rough as well.

Try not to coke up a lot of coal at one time. Real chunk charcoal makes a non-smoking fuel---but get used to it *before* you hit the road!

A modern fire extinguisher prominently displayed makes the "authorities" feel that you are a fine upstanding safety conscious smith---boy are they easily fooled!

Wooden icecream maker buckets make nice travel slack tubs.

*Who* will watch your set-up when you visit the facilities or get food? NB always bring some emergency food; it's easy to get caught up in the smithing and go way too long without eating.

*Don't* work on major projects or items that *must* get done, you can concentrate on only one thing and at the demo it's "public relations". (Keep ice and burn cream handy for this same reason)

Have contact info for the local smithing org handy.

Use an anvil that rings like a bell---brings in the people from far and wide.)

Try to have fun the crowd can feel when you are not.

*DON'T* invite that photographer who took a flash photo of your face in the dusk to get a close up of a real fluxy forge weld---just daydream about it...

   Thomas Powers - Monday, 10/01/01 14:15:27 GMT


The Mid Ohio Blacksmiths will be holding a hammer-in the third weekend in October. It will be located at a MOBsters place just south of Grove City in central Ohio.

Nothing special planned justa passle of smiths getting together to smith, swap techniques, materials, lies. Camping on-site, tailgating free; send me e-mail for more details.

   Thomas Powers - Monday, 10/01/01 14:18:55 GMT

I am attempting to learn an art form my grandmother and great grandmother used. They made raised copper art. I am not sure if you can help, but I am interested in the grade of copper, the tools and where I may find them or information about this art. Thank you for your time either way! I appear to not know much about it!
   chris - Monday, 10/01/01 14:57:52 GMT


Check out Larry Zoeller's reduction plans for the Kinyon plans, too. It reduces the hammer weight from ~70# to 35#'s. I built one and am very happy with it. Zoeller's site is http://users.ntr.net/~zman59/hammer.htm
I have pictures of my hammer on my site at http://home.adelphia.net/%7Emcroth/blacksmith.html .
   Mike Roth - Monday, 10/01/01 17:04:45 GMT

Thanks Guru
   Mark - Monday, 10/01/01 17:08:16 GMT

I learned something very important this weekend while cleaning my power hammer and I thought I would pass it along for anyong who is new to owning a hammer, or will be owning one in the future. ALWAYS MEASURE BOTH ENDS OF THE DOVETAIL IN THE DIE BLOCK BEFORE YOU TRY AND DRIVE OUT THE WEDGE. I did not do this and spent a good two hours driving the wedge in the wrong direction. However, I have a good excuse for doing so. The wedge was protruding about 1" from one side of the die block and didn't make it past the end of the die on the other side. I assumed that the wedge was overhanging on the side in had been driven in from, so I made a drift and tried to drive it out the other direction. Of course it didn't budge. Thomas dropped by for a few minutes and as soon as he saw it, he suggested driving the wedge in the other direction, which of course loosened the die. Fortunatley the die block was not damaged and only my pride was injured.
   - Patrick - Monday, 10/01/01 17:39:30 GMT

I, of course, am too much the gentleman to rub this in; Paw Paw get off the floor you'l do yourself an injury laughing like that!---I guess my eyes aren't quite as bad as I thought they were and someday will be with luck!

   Thomas Powers - Monday, 10/01/01 19:02:18 GMT

I hope you can help me,I inherteded my grandpa's old anvil and was wondering the value of it just out of curiosity. It's a Peter Wrich Page I think it says (page) I can't tell it has a nick in the letter (g).But it says it was made in England and it is solid Wrought. I am thinking about starting smithing myself and don't plan on selling it but I would like to know a little about this great tool I have any idea on how to tell how old it really is?? I thank you for any help you can offer....Troy Mallett.............
   Troy Mallett - Monday, 10/01/01 19:05:43 GMT

I hope you can help me,I inherteded my grandpa's old anvil and was wondering the value of it just out of curiosity. It's a Peter Wrich Page I think it says (page) I can't tell it has a nick in the letter (g).But it says it was made in England and it is solid Wrought. I am thinking about starting smithing myself and don't plan on selling it but I would like to know a little about this great tool I have any idea on how to tell how old it really is?? I thank you for any help you can offer....Troy Mallett.............
   Troy Mallett - Monday, 10/01/01 19:08:28 GMT

Copper Art Chris, What kind of raising? Almost all copper sheet is the same except in thickness. Copper is generaly pure copper or it not copper. There ARE numerous copper alloys but you do not want any of them. The most commonly available sheet copper is used in construction for flashing. This is pretty thin stuff and very soft. The same is available in smaller quantities at craft shops.

What you will need to know is how thick you want the copper. See our On-line Metals for available thicknesses. Look under "sheet or plate", "foil" is probably too thin. I suspect you are looking for 5 or 8 oz.

Tools needed depend on the type work you are doing. They can vary from common tools from a hardware store to hand made specialty tools. Most artists end up making many of their own. I've used nut picks and broken screw drivers that I reground the end to shape.

"Raising" is a technical term applied to making bowls, helmets and various hollow vessles by hammering. The material is actualy made thicker at the edge shrinking the perimetr and making a bowl shape. Raising is done with a variety of hammers while working over a "stake" or special anvil.

"Repousse'" is the making of shallow bas-relief sculpture on a surface. This is done by sinking (stretching) the metal down into a mold, shotbag (or sandbag) or a soft supporting matrix called pitch (mixture of wax, tar and filler).

Both of these proceses can vary from thin stuff done entirely by hand with small tools up to heavy plate worked with power tools.
   - guru - Monday, 10/01/01 19:10:30 GMT

Peter Wright Anvil: Troy that's "Wright" and I suspect "Patent" not page. This anvil has a hardened tool steel face forge welded onto a wrought iron body.

Peter Wright was one of the popular brand name anvils made in England and exported to North America. The quality of finish was generaly the best of any worought anvil. Peter Wright's were made from the 1830's until about 1920 or so.
   - guru - Monday, 10/01/01 19:35:20 GMT

Thats very interresting and thank you for clearing up the name for me.It is really hard to read what it says and that was the best that I could make out. I have a buddy that has been Smithing for a few years now,and he said that I had a good one and that he would help me get started. I just like to know has much as I can about the tools of the trade and thank everyone for there help....Troy..................
   Troy Mallett - Monday, 10/01/01 19:44:32 GMT

WRONG WAY WEDGES Yep, that is a common enough occurance. It often results in broken dovetails, a VERY expensive repair that often resulted in scraping the machine. Better hammers have a replaceable "anvil cap" or "sow block" to prevent damage to the anvil or frame. Of course these are expensive and generaly not available now either. . .

The wedge sticking out on the small end is typical of Little Giants. Care must be taken not to bend or mushroom the end. When the "head" or big end of the wedge can be gotten to it is best to pull the wedge out. This can be done by drilling a hole in it and attaching a slide hammer or even welding the end of a bar to the wedge.

On a big 750# Chambersburg hammer a friend hooked such a welded bar in the bucket of his track hoe and rotated the bucket to pull out the wedge! This was after much pounding, heating, welding of slide hammers and such. . . A hydraulic jack was considered but the setup would be time consuming. SO, nothing like heavy equipment and MORE POWER!
   - guru - Monday, 10/01/01 19:47:26 GMT

Peter Wright Anvil: Troy, I forgot to comment on the value but that varies a great deal. Generaly used anvils (in the US) sell from as little as $1/pound for those in bad shape to as much as $4/pound for realy nice anvils. Often more depends on who's buying and who's selling than the anvil itself. Old anvils in good shape are just as good (often better) than new anvils that are more expensive.

Your anvil will have the weight marked (often faintly) on one side in the English hundredweight system.

Hundredweights (CWT) = 112 pound
1/4 CWTs = 28 pounds

Generaly the marks are seperated by dots, example:

1 . 2 . 8 = 112 + 56 + 8 = 176 pounds
   - guru - Monday, 10/01/01 20:02:47 GMT

My wife works at an Historical Farm out of the 1880's in Schaumburg Ill. On Sunday the 7th of Oct. I will be assisting (sp) the on site blacksmith as his "helper" could you tell me how he can explain why I'am older than he is to the public? Thank you so much.
   Mike H - Monday, 10/01/01 21:05:32 GMT


I rarely laugh at things like that, though I have been known to chuckle. Why? Over the years, I've done a lot of things that I ain't tellin' NOBODY about!


You're a retired smith, just stopped by to give him a hand.
   Paw+Paw+Wilson - Monday, 10/01/01 21:20:04 GMT

I was wondering if you could give me a ball park as to how much this forge I have is?
It's semi-portable with a 3ft by 4.5ft base. It has a hand blower (squirrel cage). It's never been outside and has no rust on it. It's manufacturer is Canedy Otto with manufacturer #1086. Made in Chicago Heights. The make is either Western Chief Royal or Royal Western Chief (hard to make out which one). I'd appreciate a quote. Thanks! Alice
   Alice F. - Monday, 10/01/01 22:53:37 GMT

Adam-- Our demographics reveal that the inhabitants of a smelly, filthy-dirty world full of grease and soot and sharp things with tetanus germs all over them, who go around all day and into the evening wearing eency hats with teency bills adorned with teddy bears and flowers and polka dots, usually wearing them backwards to boot, who wear scummy jeans or bib overalls or raggedy Carhartts and bright red suspenders and Mammy Yoakum boots with steel showing at the toes, don't do what they do, or wear what they wear, to attract anybody. They do it because it damn well pleases them. For such a clientele, our marketing consultants tell us that Gear Oil scented soap will be dead-on. We are always open here to suggestions. Bulletin: Chastity Dangerfield asked me to advise Pete F. that she does not moonlight.
   Cracked Anvil - Monday, 10/01/01 23:38:29 GMT

Mike, You are the HELPER, The brute force, The GoFER, The laborer. . . In any millinium that means that you are not necessarily the one with the training or education. If that is the job then act the part. . .

Before the machine age every blacksmith needed helpers. It is best if strikers are apprentices of journymen BUT in earlier times most untrained laborers knew how to handle a sledge whether it was for breaking rock, drilling rock or pounding iron. Even today in countries where labor is cheaper than electricity, children or the elderly may spend hours cranking a blower or working the bellows. Rarely was there a time when a smith worked alone. It was only after the invention of steam engines and then electricity that it was common for a smith to work alone.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/02/01 00:41:09 GMT

Western Chief Forge Alice, you have one of the better made forges. Prices vary wildly on these items and like I just told the fellow with the anvil it depends on who's buying and who's selling.

There were hundreds of models of these things. The reprint catalog I have doesn't have numbers in that range so it is probably a later model. Old forges bring anywhere from $150 to $400 US depending on their condition and who wants it. NEW forges sell for considerably more and sometimes folks want old ones rather than new.

If you are interested in selling it for the highest price put it on eBay (or OUR auction page) with a reserve of $200 or more and see what happens. You will need digital photos to show it off because the model number means little. People will also want to know details such as does the blower makes noise (gears worn out), motor runs (if electric). . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/02/01 01:10:17 GMT

Mike: Besides which, you live in an environment that is still transitioning from labor-rich and materials poor, and you're darn lucky to have a job, because a lot of people don't. Bread on the table (not to mention a table) is a GOOD thing!

Dave- Faeries and Iron:

Short answer- It's just an allergic thing, like poison ivy. ;-)

Long, speculative answer- Some folks contend that the legends of faeries and other quasi-supernatural beings have their origins in the indigenous peoples being driven up into the hills by later invaders. (About the only indigenous folks left in Europe are probably the Basques. Everybody else has come from, or is related to, someone who came from somewhere else, and conquering populations are always free with their genetic material.)

Now, a lot of the migration and conquest took place during the Bronze Age, but bronze (copper and tin alloy) is a lot like gold and silver- it's components are found in a native (metallic) state, and it casts and work-hardens, etc. Iron is really more magic. You start out with reddish dirt or rusty wet lumps of bog ore and you smelt it into a bloom, then using secret methods you can make some into steel and harden and temper it, and make nasty weapons that will keep the wee folk, living on the margins, away. (And trust me, living on the margins, with iffy nutrition, can produce some "wee" folk.)

To put it another way, iron is big magic. It's civilized magic, high technology. It is a sovereign method for discouraging witches, ghosts, and wee folk away. All good Christians would have access to iron, where some stone-age bog sprite would not.

Very efficacious, used it myself when passing the "Haunted Black Oak of Oakley Farm". ;-)

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/ (cASE sENSITIVE)
   Bruce Blackistone - Tuesday, 10/02/01 01:34:28 GMT

Rusted jacks: Thanks for all the answers and advice guys. I may not have made it clear in the previous post, but the screw and collar assemblies are both made of cast iron. That is the rub. Another jack I got in the same bunch had a steel screw and it came loose and worked perfect with the first soak and tapping routine. I guess the cast iron creates larger rust particles that have to be broken down. I have two click jacks( also known as railroad jacks)and the steel screw that I use for barn repair so I wont be needing these right now. I'm going to try the soaking and tapping route for a while longer. Even if they are damaged beyond use for their original purpose they will make a neat looking coffee table base. Thanks again.
   - Larry - Tuesday, 10/02/01 01:38:21 GMT

Hello, I work with wrought iron and stained glass.I have a technical question that I hope you can answer for me. How do I attach copper wire to the wrought iron? Is there a soldering technique?Thank you
   Charles Mantaro - Tuesday, 10/02/01 02:01:25 GMT

No Chastity in the moonlight..it figures....Sigh.
Cracked: Do you mean to say that we dont have to dress this way??

This weekend will be the CBA Octoberfest..my favorite .
Check the CA Blacksmith Assn website for details.
   - Pete F - Tuesday, 10/02/01 07:05:20 GMT

Dear Sir,
We heattreat bearing rings made from AISI 52100 steel.
Is there any specific advantage of double tempering these bearing rings? What is its effect on Retained austenite?
Grain structure, wear and mechanical properties?
What is the maximum delay of time permissible between quenching and tempering that do not effect the bearing races either metallurgically or mechanically?
I appreciate for the advice from the knowledgeable and
Experienced. Thanks- KUMAR. K.P.
   K.P.KUMAR - Tuesday, 10/02/01 12:36:53 GMT

Jock and All,
I can imagine that there is no way to answer this question
accurately. Here it is: what is the average electrical cost of the typical blacksmith shop? Here is the back ground. My wife and I share the bills at our house. She gets the electrik, I pay for stamps, she buys the food, I carry ourt the trash.....all right down the line, fair and square. Anyway, she casually brings up the fact that our electrik bill had gone from about 150/month to over 300 dollars in a twenty day period. I didn't make any recommendations, like, have the locks on the shop changed but I was kinda wondering if maybe my compressors are running up the bill, or if it would vary greatly with the level of welding. Maybe some of you know how your bill is affected by your work load. I plan to keep a diary, read the bill every day with a comment like : pool pump off, didn't work in the shop, ski lift no running tody, etc.
Larsun (getting to be too many Larrys around here)
   Lsundstrom - Tuesday, 10/02/01 14:08:20 GMT


It's my experience that too many Larry's will seriously jack up the electric bill. Plus they drink up all the beer.
   - adam - Tuesday, 10/02/01 14:30:12 GMT

Pete F. & Larry-- Pete, think of one's style of dress as a kind of reverse Rorschach test, i.e., an extrusion of the inner self. In other words, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do (and dames, too). Larry, think of cast iron as a kind of scarcely-evolved dogpoop, about as strong and dependable. Put heat into it, and force, only if you don't really care about it very much. Don't cost-analyze your shop. It'll just make you sad.
   Cracked Anvil - Tuesday, 10/02/01 14:43:04 GMT

Double Tempering K.P. Kamuar, To the best of my knowledge double tempering has only minor benefits. It is an assurance that the part is thoroughly tempered and has a few as possible residual stresses. It is most beneficial in parts of uneven section. If the same temperature is used in the second tempering as the first there should be no adverse effect, only more uniformity of temper (if it was not uniform to from the first tempering).

The ASM Heat Treater's Guide recommends tempering parts made of 52100 "as soon as they uniformly reached near ambient temperature. 100 to 120°F (38 to 49°C) is ideal." (italics mine).

The only reason I know for immediate tempering while the part is still warm is to avoid possible thermal shock or mechanical damage to the very brittle part.

It would also seem to be more energy efficient if handling a large volume of parts.

In this steel the greatest advantage can be gotten by tempering at as high a temperature as possible. If the loss in hardness is acceptable then there is a greater increase in toughness. As always this is the conundrum of heattreating steel.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/02/01 14:54:07 GMT

Soldering to Iron Charles, to solder to iron/steel you must start with bright shiney CLEAN steel. Then you apply a little copper sulphate solution which will then copper flash the surface. Dry off the residue and then tin with a low temperature solder. Pure tin is best, I like the rosin flux with tin powder for tinning. It is almost fool proof.

For attaching stained glass to iron frames there are several methods.

I've seen this used in old windows. Anchor brass bars in the glass work (frame) and use screws to attach the brass to the steel. I believe the steel was brass plated or galvanized to reduce the bi-metalic corrosion.

Design mounting fingers or clips into the ironwork that are bent around the glass (like a gemstone mount in jewlery).

Probably the best method to attach WIRE to the iron is to drill small holes and thread it through.

THEN there is the use of epoxy glue. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/02/01 15:11:20 GMT

Shop Electric Larry, I think you found an ah. . "hidden cost". Yes, air compressors are a big sucker of electricity as are welders. . . An air compressor runing non-stop is no different than an air conditioner. . .

You ah. . DID build your air hammer during that period of time didn't you???? Add $150 to its cost.

Both of my welders recommend a 90A (NINETY AMP) 240VAC circuit breaker. I've never run rod heavy enough on my Miller buzz box to trip a 50A breaker but I HAVE tripped a 90A breaker running the HF TIG unit on my other welder while welding 1/4" aluminium plate!

Generaly you run welders for brief periods but if you are welding heavy plate (that frame WAS 3" wasn't it?) and making multiple passes then you are not only using a lot of electric you may be near the limit of the duty cycle for the welder.

It is hard to reduce electric bills. I've been shivering all week because I insist that we should be able to go through at least ONE month in the spring and fall without running the AC or the heat. . . But that seems to be the cyle. Turn off the AC and turn on the heat the same day.

I didn't run AC in the house this year since I was alone and spent most of the time in the office. However the office is small and the computer, printer and monitor throw off a LOT of heat making the AC necessary. Now that heat warms the office a LITTLE but not much.

Years ago when we didn't have anything but a few electric lights I watched the bill go up as we added each item. Small water heater (a necessity) - $30/month, New frost free refrigerator $35/month. . . The fridge just dirves me crazy. The antique we had from 1939 and had to defrost about 3 times a year cost about $8-$10 month to operate. The new "certified energy efficient" refrigerator costs $45/month and adds that waste heat load to an AC unit if you run one. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/02/01 15:42:53 GMT

I am a metalurgist for the Timken Co. and would agree with the guru in that a double temper may relieve some aditional stresses and it may cause retained austenite to transform to martensite. This may not be a good thing. Some retained austenite is often desirable as it can improve the durability and toughness of the part. I am curious to know which company you work for. Here at Timken, any process change must be tested and approved by several departments. Parts must meet a certain microstructural standard and they must pass a variety of life tests. I would assume that the company who makes the bearings would have similar requirements and they could tell you what effects a double temper would have on their products. If you have more questions of this kind, feel free to e-mail me.
Patrick Nowak
   Patrick - Tuesday, 10/02/01 16:26:44 GMT

Jock, I think you nailed it. It's what I feared. Thanks, even though the truth hurts, this is one place where it can be found.
Larry S
P.S. If I add $150 to the cost of Air Hosed One, how will that effect its junk yard status? I need to review the criteria you established but I can't remember when exactly you made that ruling.
   - Lsundstrom - Tuesday, 10/02/01 16:38:31 GMT

Hey Jock, What do you think about an oil burning forge that burns used french fry oil from your favorite fast food place? Think it would work OK if you filtered it first? Also, are there any plans around you know about for building oil burners? How good do oil burning forges work?


P.S. Cracked, I LOVE your commentary!!! Keep it up!
   Mike Roth - Tuesday, 10/02/01 17:33:06 GMT

Hidden Costs Larry, There are many hidden costs in do it your self projects. Your labor is the biggest one. Even government and big industry succumbs. Often they will do a job in-house that costs more than going outside to buy it. WHY? Its "funny money". The cost of people already on the payroll are often not tracked well enough to apply to certain projects. They are already in the "budget" while an outside purchase is not. Items made "in house" are a straight expense while outside purchases must be capitalized and put on a depreciation schedule (our tax system at work keeping accounts employed).

Do-it-yourself and JYH rules say if its already laying in your shop (all that welding rod) or you don't hand out cash specificaly for the item then its not a cost. Neither is your labor. But if you apply ALL costs, then you quickly find that you should have bought it instead of building it!

Labor is the killer. If you apply a fair labor rate for scrounging (say $10/hour) including unsucessfull searches and pick and delivery. . how much did that steel cost? Ah, its been laying around the shop for 10 years. . . can't remember. Well, it still had a cost THEN and now you need to add intrest to that investment. .

We were given a cost of about $100 for the NC-JYH Paw-Paw picked up. But it was built of brand new rectangular structural tubing and had quite a bit of machining done on it. But the tubing was "off the shelf" and the machining done in-house. There was more than $100 worth of steel in the machine and it had a tube for the anvil. . .

*I* do a lot of do-it-yourself too. Yes, there is pride and satifaction in a job well done. But often the costs of making an item are higher than buying it.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/02/01 18:14:29 GMT

On the other claw, by making it yourself you might get to make something that looks like, and works like, something that nobody has ever seen before. (Hmmmm. That could be a good thing OR a bad thing!)
   Bruce Blackistone - Tuesday, 10/02/01 19:37:13 GMT

Vegatable Oil Forge Mike, I'm sure it would work. I expect the oil would need to be preheated since it is relatively heavy compared to fuel oil. But in a big enough forge it might not matter.

Oil burning forges work very well. I've seen designs that mearly dripped fuel oil into forge with a blower on the side and forges using old domestic furnace burners complete with ignition and high pressure pump. I have a picture of one mounted on TOP of the oil tank! It used a venturi burner and the tank was pressurized by a hand pump. OErjan built a similar unit that vaporizes the oil in a coil. A tricky design but very efficient.

Oil forges seem to burn hotter than gas forges and have a better atmosphere for welding. However, the exhaust fumes MUST be vented up a chimney.

Those using a commercial unit are easy to build and easy to light. Those using more primitive methods are sometimes difficult to light. Once the forge is hot it is not difficult to keep it going as the radiant heat from the walls ignite the fuel.

I thought all resturant vegatable oil was recycled. ??
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/02/01 19:43:55 GMT


I need some advice. I am trying to build a break drum forge. The only concern that I have is that the bottom of the drum (will be the base of the pan) if very thin in comparison to the rest of it. I was think that in order to extend the life of the forge that I would install a grate that would will the entire bottom to:
1) keep coal from falling into the chute
2) act as buffer so that the botton doesn't burn out.
There is a place in Minneapolis that will cut plate to any size circle that you want. What type of steel will take the heat best and how thick would you reccomend? Keep in mind that I will need to drill holes in it to let the air flow though.
Thanks in advance for the advice.

   Chris Bernard - Tuesday, 10/02/01 20:38:48 GMT

On my first forge I just tack-welded a slotted soup skimmer thingie that you can buy at any grocery store. Also dont worry about the tinner metal on the bottom of the forge. I get asked why my forge doesnt heat up with all those coals in there while my work-piece can heat to welding. I think the most basic answer is heat rises so the metal on the bottom isnt as affected as much.

   Norm Harvey - Tuesday, 10/02/01 21:35:38 GMT


It also has cold air blowing on it which lowers the heat.
   Paw+Paw+Wilson - Tuesday, 10/02/01 21:43:47 GMT

Some thougths on Heat Treating:
Earlier today I addressed a question regarding the heat treating of bearings. This got me thinking about other heat treating questions I have seen. Most people ask about how to heat treat knives and simple tools like chisels and hardies. These items are relativley simple to make and heat treat especially when plain carbon steels(10xx,4xxx,5xxx,etc) or simple tool steels like L6 or O1 are used.
Heat treating more complex tool steels such as the A, D, M, H, S,and T series, which all contain high carbon plus lots of chrome, moly, and tungsten, is more complicated. Most of these steels make great knives, (and other tooling) but they need to be heat treated in atmospheically controlled furnaces, which most blacksmith don't have.
As I am learing in my job, a part that will see critical use, such as a bearing, must be evaluated before being mass produced and put into application. Any automotive, off-road, rail-road, etc. products are extensivly tested for microstructure/metallurgical conformity. In addition the production method are subject to strict standards. Process must not only produce parts to a spec, they must also have limited variability. For these reseansons, I would encourage anyone needing to heat treat a critcal part to A)Consult with metallurgists familiar with the intended application, and B)Have the part professionally heat treated.
For those of you wishing to use high alloy tool steel for knives, you can often have them heat treated by professionals, to your specified hardness, for reasonable costs. I used to get 440C stainless knives heat treat for $20.00 for as many knive as i could bring in. (They chaged about $1.00/lb and had a $20.00 min)
One steel that you can work with at home is H13. It makes great hot work tools and is not very difficult to forge. However, it is air hardening so tooling to be struck must have the striking surface annealed or coated with a softer metal (welding rod) to prevent spalling. I hope this has helped to answer some of the many heat treat questions that folks have. Two references that I would suggest are "The Heat Treater's Guide" and "Tool Steels". These books will give you a good idea if a steel can be heat treated in the forge or if profession services are required.
   Patrick - Tuesday, 10/02/01 22:01:08 GMT

Forge Bottom Chris, don't over think it. I've never had luck with "grates" with drilled holes. They usualy vaporized at welding heat if you had good coal. The side plate of brake drums is about 5 times thicker than sheet metal rivet forges. When you bolt a cast flange onto it that provides an air cooled heat sink. I show a simple cross bar to reduce the hole in my brake drum forge plan and that works fine. In my big forge I had several types of grates and they all either clogged and got tron out or burned up. The hole needs to be restricted in size somewhat but in general it works best open.

There are several types of commercial forge grates. The most common today has a "clinker breaker" that is semi triangular in cross section in the opening of the twyeer. This acts as an air cooled cross bar and can be rotated to adjust the air or to dislodge clinker.

Another old type has slots in the bottom of a heavy cast pot. The "bars" between the slots are heavy sections that use the heat sink capability of the pot to keep from melting. An odd "T" shape clinker breaker can be rotated to clear the two side slots. The bottom middle slot is cleared with a pointed poker.

One simple type is a pot with replaceable slotted cast-iron grates. The grates are replaceable because they DO burn out often. This is an old design and I do not know if grates are available anymore.

All of these tend to be high maintenance or expensive. So the best is to keep it simple. A welded in cross bar will eventualy burn out but it is easy to replace. It is low cloging and does the job.

The simplest of all twyeer designs was the old side blown type using clay pipes (see my story Blacksmith of 1776). Later this was the classic brick forge that was almost infinitely durable that even later evolved into the complicated water cooled twyeer favored by the British and for a brief period in the US. Simple is better.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/02/01 23:44:38 GMT

Anvil question: Here's a question for y'all that have hammered anvils more than I have.

If a person was about to buy an anvil, but had only used a London pattern, are there any operating differences (other than no step) on a European style double-horned anvil they should be aware of? Is one any better than the other for general-purpose forging?

If at all possible, I'd appreciate some feedback by around noon tomorrow (Wednesday). Thank, guys! I appreciate it.
   Stormcrow - Wednesday, 10/03/01 03:03:46 GMT

Chris - The forge I work on most is made form a plow disk, which is probably a lot thinner than your brake drum. I've never seen it at a temperature where it started to glow any, and I've burned some decent-sized pieces of steel in it. I'd say your safe. My grate, which probably is les efficient than others here, is a piece of sheet steel with a bunch of holes and a few slots torched through it. Eventually it will lose enough of itself from oxidation that it will need to be replaced, which will take about a minute.
   Stormcrow - Wednesday, 10/03/01 03:07:19 GMT

Wow! My forge is made from a plow disk also. I cut a hole in it to allow a firepot to drop in, and welded four half inch nuts to the bottom that I attach my half inch threaded rod welded to some angle iron for legs. It makes a great protable forge, and the concave of the plow disk sort of helps to keep the coal in a nice heap around the hot coals.
I also took a metal bucket and wrapped a piece of sheet metal around it to make a hood that is rounded to fit nicely on the disks outer edge. I love it!

- Norm
   Norm Harvey - Wednesday, 10/03/01 03:35:52 GMT

Hi.( hack- cough ) I have just inaugurated a little smithy in an ex chicken coop. Forge is an old homemade, around which I have built a tin hood. That leads up into a six-
inch (inside diameter) chimney, stainless, 1 inch thick insulation. It is 9 feet high. Granted there wasn't much wind tonight, but am I supposed to expect a lot of the smoke or coal fumes to overflow when I use the Champion blower? It is still manual, not motor-driven. Would a fan in the chimney help? At least I succeeded in making my first forge weld . Had been building up to this since 1976. Was well worth waiting for too! Greetings from chilly
Charlevoix county, Québec.
   gary - Wednesday, 10/03/01 03:37:47 GMT

Tomorrow's a big day, men, Wednesday, so let's try to get it right this time, okay? And don't forget: eschew the recondite!
   Cracked Anvil - Wednesday, 10/03/01 04:00:54 GMT

Smokey Forge Gary, bad news, the blower has nothing to do with the smoke, that is typical of coal, period. You need at LEAST a 10" flue for a forge. Hoods reduce the efficiency of the stack by sucking up cold air as well as hot so you need an even bigger stack. Side draft "hoods" where the opening is next to the fire are much more efficient but you will still need a 10" dia stack.

The best setup is either a larger brick stack (chimney) with side draft flue built in OR a metal side draft hood with 10" pipe leading into a 14" square brick chimney.

See sidedraft forge hoods on our plans page.

A draft inducer (small fan) will not be sufficient. In a 6" pipe you would need a large exhasut fan of about 500 to 800 CFM capacity. Commercial factory forges were made with a fan like this that sucked the air DOWN around the edges of the forge. There were no overhead stacks. The exhaust ran under the floor and outside.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/03/01 05:45:43 GMT

Double Horned Anvil Stormcrow, It depends on the type you are looking at. True European anvils often have a round hole only. No square hardy hole. Some have both round and square. The horns are also proportionately shorter and conical rather than "rhino horn" shaped.

Many double horned anvils were made with one or two steps.

The double horn shape also reduce the length of straight corner on the anvil but this is usualy not a problem.

These anvils tend to have a heavier waist than a London pattern anvil so they will look smaller but actualy have more mass where it counts for heavy forging. This also tends to reduce the ring. American pattern anvils with long horns and heals compined with a narrow waist act like a double ended tuning fork.

What works best is what we are used to.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/03/01 06:05:40 GMT

But good Cracked;
A tiddle of modestly obfuscatory abstruse verbalization adds a superficial gloss of intellectual depth that indicates we ain't quite as dumb as we dress.
   - Pete F - Wednesday, 10/03/01 06:33:16 GMT

Stormcrow: A proper blacksmith should be proud to have a good American London pattern anvil!
You just go right ahead and send that effete European boat tail on to me so I can keep it out of circulation for the betterment of the art.
In other words..grab it if you can..all things being equal...(assuming that your orientation is towards the ornamental).
If you are just gonna forge knives and repoint chisels and stuff, the step and larger table of a london pattern might be advantageous
   - Pete F - Wednesday, 10/03/01 06:44:19 GMT

Hi Jock, Just tried to check out the auction page again & the link appears to be dead. Is something wrong with it?

Thanks for the info about the oil burning forge. I'll have to check out about the recycling thing though. Maybe I can find someone willing to part with some anyhow! I'll ask around to see if anyone knows a resturant manager. Do you know of any other plans for the burners? I found the one on Ron Reil's site, but it's kind of hard to make out.
   Mike Roth - Wednesday, 10/03/01 13:05:05 GMT

Good morning to you all, didn't have my coffee yet so please bear with me. Got my power hammer working its all painted up sort off pretty like still using a 3 hp compressor but got myself a 60 gal. air storage tank instead of a pipe with a rod through it!! beefed up the anvil, but still got that 4" cyl. in it, but got word out for a 2" the 4" sure strikes hard, but not for very long as you all where warning me about. But had fun trying. Thanks to Guru, Tony,Shannell and others for sharing your knowledge. I still in need of a coffee. I have a few rock chisels from my hand held electric rock and cement breaker which are 12"in. long and are in need of re-forging they are kind of tulip shape not bad as a piece of art, but no good as chisels, would like to know what heat will I need for annealing,forging,harden and tempering would I be able to do the tempering without a tempering furnace. Have a good day, I'm going for a coffee.
   Heinz - Wednesday, 10/03/01 13:07:34 GMT

Gurus: The auction site is not working,or i'm not doing the job right! I sure would like to have a shot at one of those tongs by Bill Epps...GD
   Greg Dahms - Wednesday, 10/03/01 13:51:49 GMT

Chris - Forge Grate

A friend of mine who introduced me to smithing used to go to the junkyard and collect the heater elements from Electric ranges. He would use them as grates and replace as necessary. Eventually they will burn out, but you can usually get a lot of them for next to nothing. -- btw are you in the Guild of Metalsmiths in MN yet?
   Escher - Wednesday, 10/03/01 14:01:04 GMT

Auction Page: #1 you have to be registered. #2 DO NOT put dollar signs in your bid (it screws up and tells you your bid is too low). Happy bidding!
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/03/01 14:19:40 GMT

I'am a newbee to smithing (2 pairs of tongs,assorted punches & chisels) I have made an anvil from rail iron &
forge.i enjoy using recycled materials including tools. I have refaced some old hammer heads & was interested in some tricks of the trade regarding heat treating hammers.due too
my inability to obtain a new cross pein hammer I need to create my own.
   diver - Wednesday, 10/03/01 14:50:52 GMT

i'am a newbee to smithing (2 pairs of tongs,assorted punches & chisels)i have made an anvil from rail iron &
forge.i enjoy using recycled materials including tools.i have refaced some old hammer heads & was interested in some tricks of the trade regarding heat treating hammers.due too
my inability to obtain a new cross pein hammer i need to create my own.
   diver - Wednesday, 10/03/01 14:55:39 GMT

Grates; I buy old cast iron drain grates when I can find them cheap; also for "disposable" grates I just scrounge a piece of expanded metal and cut a circle out of it for the grate; replace as needed---1 will usually get me through a full day demo with no problem and the stuff is free---my circles are usually a bit off as I just hack a piece off on my cutting sadle.

Patrick---no "learing" at work! Save it for the triphammer! Don and I are still arguing on whether to paint *your* triphammer my colour blue or his colour blue. Going to the SOFA meeting Saturday? I'm running carpool details.

   Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 10/03/01 15:00:37 GMT

Rock and Breaker Bits Heinz, Depending on where they came from they may be plain carbon steel or one of the S series shock resistant steels. These are both treated about the same BUT the alloy steel will fall apart if overheated.

Common practice on breaker bits is to heat just enough of the bit to forge it. An orange but not a yellow heat (2200°F) max. Forge as needed and hot cut off the extra that may have been split of cracked. Quench in oil and then grind the tip to a pyramid.

A seperate heat treat is not used. If you do then the entire piece will need to be hardened and tempered. Note, I said the above is the COMMON practice. Most bit sharpeners only get a couple dollars per bit. There is no room for a comple heat treat.

Yep, You are going to need more compressor! It is currently common practice to use small cylinders on air hammers to reduce their air consumption but a commercial 100# air hammer like the Chambersburg had a 4.5" cylinder or 15:1 ram to lift ratio. As hammers get bigger the ratio drops and its not until you hit a 5000# hammer that you hit the 3.2:1 of current small hammers. . . Just something to think about.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/03/01 15:23:10 GMT

Heat treating a hammer Diver, these are usualy pretty hard but also need toughness. Tempering depends on the type of steel used. If made from high carbon steel I'd draw a hammer back to about 500°F (260°C) (that's between a dark yellow and a brown temper color). On the other hand, as a blacksmith you can always dress your tools if they mushroom a little and erring on the soft side does not hurt.

   - guru - Wednesday, 10/03/01 15:36:31 GMT

You and Don had better both keep the blue paint away from my triphammer. It's going to be red, with yellow highlights.
I was planning to finish cleaning and painting it on saturday if the weather is nice, so if it rains, I'll go to SOFA. Otherwise, I'll be at Don's. Do you think you would be available sunday afternoon to bring down a motor and help me put it and belts on the hammer?
   Patrick - Wednesday, 10/03/01 15:49:59 GMT

Patrick I was just over at the junkyard yammering about how the human eye can do better than a 1/16"---what were the dimensions on the dovetail slot?

Fire engine red would be primo! Have you checked at the paint store on Parsons for some industrial paint at a good price? I should be available on Sunday after church

And for those who were wondering Patrick's wife refuses to name their first born "Moloch/Molochsina" after the hammer, (Tubal Cain was not on the short list either)

Thomas--always happy to help
   Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 10/03/01 17:01:43 GMT

junkyard.. what's that? Surely these personal messages can go by email.

When the dimension is a small proportion and you have the experiance, dimensions down to thousandths can be judged by eye. I set points for years to .016" +/- .002 by eye for years. The difference between .015" and .020" is easily decernable. It is easy to get out of practice but I could judge inches up to a foot to within +/- 1/4" and fractions of an inch to within 32nds up to an inch. But I have been measuring things in the shop since I was 10 years old and spent regular time at drafting for some 20+ years. Working as a mechanic you rapidly learn to judge bolt sizes or waste a LOT of time trying wrenches. The same for selecting stock or hardware in the machine shop. I've done all the above. Like any skill, it is learned and requires practice. Those without practice MIGHT be able do make two marks an inch apart +/- 1/2". . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/03/01 19:13:29 GMT

Well I'd love to send this one by e-mail but...Dear "Username" at firstenergycorp; I would like to send you the info on the MOB hammerin however replying to your e-mail bounces. Please send an address I can use.

Thomas---I'm assumming the "junkyard" was a quip. I don't hold with site exclusivity and would be perfectly willing to drop this one if you'd like me to.
   Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 10/03/01 20:36:45 GMT

I have just aquired a 30" sheet metal shear C1880's for $125 Canadian ($80 US) the problem is that the springs have lost all tension. Can they be re-tempered ? if so how? the springs in question are 1 3/8 dia X 10" long made from what appears to be 1/4 or 5/16 round ( havent mic'd em yet)
Thank you
   Mark Parkinson - Wednesday, 10/03/01 21:50:35 GMT

Diver, The eye is not hardened and tempered, just the head and peen. I heat the head first at the edge of the coal fire to cherry red, quench face-first in water; agitate. Make a tempering tool by turning an eye on the end of a heavy bar, the I.D. fitting around the hammer head. Remove scale from the face with an abrasive, put in vise face up, drop the sparking-heat tempering tool over the face. Temper by heat conduction to a dark straw in face center. Cool. Wrap a thick, wet rag around the face and hold it it place with large hollow-bit tongs. Heat the peen to a medium cherry, quench in water, peen first, keeping wet rag on. Temper the peen to a purple after removing scale. I usually use a torch for the heat source, or for a ball peen, you can make a smaller tempering tool.

P.S. I "tossed my cookie" temporarily and will try to regain it.

P.P.S. On my way out of town for a short while. See y'all soon.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 10/03/01 22:23:17 GMT

I have been off on again trying to contact the tool auction site all day,I first messed up putting "$" on the bid and was informed I was too low on the bid, guru set me right with that problem, but i've kicked out the rest of the day with other problems, my accout was frozen and then my account did not exist,then i tryied to e mail the auction site and that did not go thru after several try's, so i'm back bugging the guru's again!!! Could you guys set on the rightpath? Thanks in advance... G Dahms
   Greg Dahms - Wednesday, 10/03/01 22:43:56 GMT

Auction Errors. Greg, Kiwi (Andrew Hooper) setup the auction and does the debugging. Its written in PhP and I don't have a clue how to fix it. Try to take note of exactly what ever you did AND what the system did and then email with your system OS type to:

"Andrew Hooper"
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/03/01 23:15:31 GMT

Thanks, will do!(I'm set on those Bill Epps tongs!!) G.Dahms
   Greg Dahms - Wednesday, 10/03/01 23:24:28 GMT

Retempering Coil Springs: Mark, The problem is the springs have been stretched out of shape. Retempering won't help. They have to be reshaped. Tension type coil springs are usualy wound "tight" with no spaces between the coils. If over traveled they yeild and then can never return to the original length and have little tension where they need to.

SO, you would need to heat them to a yellow orange and then compress back to shape. IF they stay fully compressed on their own then you can harden and temper them. However, springs are made from everything from 1095 to 304 SS. So tempering will have to be trial and error. Springs are usualy tempered to a blue (if plain carbon steel). I have best luck oil quenching them.

I recommend checking the industrial suppliers like McMaster-Carr for replacement springs.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/03/01 23:25:32 GMT

hmmm thanks thought that would be the way be go... Keilers spring Co here I come

   Mark Parkinson - Thursday, 10/04/01 00:01:38 GMT

I am just getting into blacksmithing, and a few different sites i have gone to i have seen people using small portable coal forges with bellows. I've gone through a bunch of different links and pages with plans on them, but i've yet seen one for the plans of one of these. I am just wondering if anyone has one, or knows of a place i can get plans for one. Thank You
   Seth - Thursday, 10/04/01 03:37:11 GMT

Oh, and the forge i was talking about is seen on the celtic knotwork link you have in your link sections. I've seen them used at renaissance faires on a few different occasions
   Seth - Thursday, 10/04/01 03:48:41 GMT

Watched a blacksmith on Cyprus a few years back sharpen breaking bits. He had a crude setup, forge was a 55 gal drum, and used a rag instead of tongs. After expertly sharpening the end of a bit on an ancient anvil with at least 1/2 inch dish worn in the middle, he SLOWLY dipped the end of the tool in water, just touching it, backing out, touching again, out, in, a combination quench with temper from residual heat. I don't know how good he was at heat treating but his forging skills were excellent. Since he had a large pile of bits to sharpen, I assumed his customers thought they lasted well. I've used his light dip method on brush hog blades with good results: good wear, no cracks.
   Andy Martin - Thursday, 10/04/01 04:07:21 GMT

Thank you again for the advise on the rock breaker bits and for the ram to lift ratio, have to think this one through and let it absorb.
   Heinz - Thursday, 10/04/01 06:42:01 GMT

Jock! One of your lurkers wrote to poor Cracked complaining about him dispensing pseudo-psychological windbaggery, can you believe it! I mean, after all the work he's done trying help people with their garage problems and what all and it has plunged poor Cracked into a hissy fit of inward self-analysis and he says the lurker is right, and he needs to work more on his taciturn curmudgeonly grunt and his manly disdainful sneer so as to have them ready for the next smiteramama and so now he's locked himself into the forge with Chastity Dangerfield and says they are working on his treadle-powered riveting machine (Hah!) and are not coming out until it is done and I'll just bet they are and I don't know what the neighbors will think and it's all your fault! Your Obdt. Svt., Yummi DeLisch, (Acting Operations Manager, Cracke Anvil Center for Analysis)
   Cracked Anvil - Thursday, 10/04/01 12:17:36 GMT

Yummi-- calm down, girl! More hammering and less yammering is just what Cracked needs. Real men don't talk about it, they do it! Let's you and me go join Cracked and Chaz! (And, by the way, the word you want is smiterama, not smieramama.)
   swarf - Thursday, 10/04/01 12:26:18 GMT

I have been plug welding 1 1/4" half round cap rail to my railings. The problem is that when you weld ANYTHING the heat pulls the material so that there is a bow in the middle. I have found a way to pre-stress the rails by putting the rail upside down (the half round side on the table), then putting wedges in the middle and clamping the ends, This puts a bow in the rail in the opppsoite direction of the "pull" of the welds. It is rather an art to find how far to bend the them. Sometimes I am right on and other times not. Do you know of a better way? Tim
   Tim Cisneros - Thursday, 10/04/01 13:52:19 GMT

Tim, Riveting? Screws? I've seen 2" steel plate warped by a short 1" weld bead on one side. . . It is hard to control warparge and thermal shrinkage is a VERY powerful force. Most weldments just absorb the distortion as built in tension. This can be relieved somewhat by heat treating but it is rarely done.

Fighting shrinkage can result in bent or broken clamps and even broken benches. That is why weld plattens are so heavy.

You could try spot heating the other side of the rail when you weld it. But this just does the same thing as pre-bending unless you heat nearly through. Then the weld and part can shrink in the same plane thus reducing warp.

You can also let shrink or weld bead "pull" work for you. When butt welding angle iron to a flange I tack it at the inside corner. When the bead shrinks it pulls the legs of the angle tight down against the flange ready for the rest of the weld. If tacked outside it opens the joint. The same works for channel. You can even do it with tubing if you can reach the inside corner from the open end of the tube.

A lot of top rail is held on by riveted tennons in a counter sunk hole. The head is finished flush to the suface. A lot of top rail is also held on by short screws or bolts to avoid distortion.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/04/01 16:50:40 GMT

Electrode coatings.
Can anyone explain the pro's and cons of these two coatings...E xx12 =
High titania sodium E xx13 = High titania potassium.
   Mark - Thursday, 10/04/01 17:38:31 GMT

We heat treat, about two tons in a day, bearing rings in salt bath furnaces and temper in muffle type aircirculation furnaces.
These ring are forged, spherodise annealed, machined and stress relieved before hardening.
During hardening, some times, we observed problems of growth and ovality up to 0.3mm on ring of140mm dia. The variations in quench hardness on one ring, checked at six places is, 59/60, 63,63,63,63,64-this phenomena is not
Common for all the lots. When we checked 2000 nos. we found about six of such rings.
Growth and ovality also is not true with all lots; but some times we encountered with 20 to 25 percent of rings in isolated batches.

To contain these intriguing growth and ovality problems, we adjusted Hardening temp. and soaking times by 5 to 8 deg C. Changed the pattern of loading in to the furnace.
We like to share your valuable experience and knowledge in heat treatment of bearing rings and mitigating / limiting problems of growth and ovality .What could be the possible reasons for hardness variation at a particular spot on few rings? What can be a reasonably allowed delay after hardening till loaded for tempering?
Pl. mail your e- mail to progressiveht at hotmail.com
Than`q`- with regards – kumar.

   K.P.KUMAR - Thursday, 10/04/01 17:48:18 GMT

I am a 46 year old man in need of a bit of advice on the size and lay-out of a smithing workshop for a serious hobbyist.I would greatly appreciate any and all help as I live in northern British Columbia and our local library and book store have been of little or no help at all.
Bob van den Born
   Bob van den Born - Thursday, 10/04/01 21:38:46 GMT

Does anyone know where I can purchase 1/2" and 3/8" annealed bearing balls for making grapes? All the bearing companies on the web sell only hardened ones.
   Leah - Thursday, 10/04/01 22:07:10 GMT

1020 Carbon Steel Balls Leah, McMaster Carr has them in 1/8" to 1". May I suggest 7/16" through 9/16" (mixed). 3/8" is just a little bigger than a rasin.

McMaster Carr sells on-line via CC or on account. The package quantity for these is 100 but they are not very expensive (less than $5 for the 7/16"). You will have then the next day.

http://www.mcmaster.com/ Search for "Steel Balls".

I know a lot of folks that use "ball bearing" balls but this is a bad idea. Even when annealed these self harden at welds and will be VERY brittle and easy to break off. The 1010/1020 balls above are ideal. . . unless you forge your own.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/04/01 22:36:25 GMT

Steel Balls. . Leah, the above may be hardened but are mild steel which is not very hardenable and very easy for you to soften or anneal unlike bearing steels which are often air hardening.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/04/01 22:46:49 GMT

Leah, grape balls: Try archirondesign.com 1-800-784-7444 They used to show all the sizes that they carry but not on the current web site. Don't know why.
   - Pete-Raven - Thursday, 10/04/01 22:47:01 GMT

Shop Size Bob, THAT is a very difficult question and is strictly related to the type of work you do or PLAN to do. Early jewlers shops that had a forge used something that looked like a small raised fireplace in an area that would be like a small appartment kitchen today. Besides forge work they also did small foundry work in the same area.

If you are make nothing more than small hardware a 15' x 15' (460 x 460cm) shop space can contain your forge, anvil a small power hammer, drill press and several work benches. However, steel normaly comes in 20' (~710cm) lengths and won't fit in that size shop until cut.

If you plan on doing architectural work then you want as much space as you can afford. 20' x 40' (710cm x 1420cm) is a small space. You also need to look at ceiling heights at this point. 10' (360cm) is short in a serious shop where you need some type of hoist to handle work and unload machiinery. Try to get a 6 foot tall machine off a 4 foot high truck body. . . Its a close job in my shop which has a 16' (488cm) ceiling and a monorail flush against it.

Don't think you need a hoist? The average small power hammer weighs about 2,000 pounds (a ton - ~900kg). Serious "small" power hammers may weigh 10,000 pounds (~4 metric tons). My 4x4' weld platten weighs 2,000 pounds. Drill presses 1,000 pounds (450 kg).

I scoot my bigger anvils (300# & 200#) around on their stands but they get loaded and unloaded with a hoist.

If you do heavy architectural work with 1-1/2" (38mm) square bar you may want a light jib crane to move the work from forge to hammer or anvil.

Lifting equipment of this type is most often overlooked in small shops and ends up costing time, money and possibly physical injury (well *I* can pick that up. . .). Even if you use a borrowed or rented fork lift THEY need a lot of overhead height too!

Tall ceilings also help provide better ventilation.

Think about the type of work you are going to do, then consider the machinery you want (yes MANY hobbiests today have power hammers), then layout your shop. Remember that you need an open space for construction and assembly (building trailers, JYH, big gates) that is designated for that purpose. . . . Yeah, mine has a bandsaw, a JYH, a shaper and a drill press in it plus a lot of junk. . but it is DESIGNATED open space. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 10/04/01 23:21:08 GMT

WARPED BEARINGS: KUMAR, Growth occurs in almost all hardening of steel parts. Its the reason for finish grinding of hard parts. Warparge is almost always due to residual stresses but can also occur from your handling practices or uneven heating and cooling. Hot parts are very weak and can be easily distorted mechanicaly during handling, in the stack or in the pot. Stacked or closely spaced parts can squeeze other parts when they expand for heating. Parts piled in bath or furnace will have random distortions due to the randomness of the stack. A part restrained by other parts around it is surely going to end up distorted.

However, the residual stresses can also be in the original bar and can be be something as deceptive as uneven grain structure from the manufacturing process.

Uneven cooling can also be a factor. Stacked or piled parts cannot be evenly cooled. Any place parts touch each other is the equivalent of a heavier mass and will cool slower. A ring cooled localy with hot spots will almost always warp. This could also cause the hardness variation you speak of.

SO, the most likely problem may be trying to handle too many parts for your capacity under the tolerance restraints you may be facing.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/04/01 23:44:22 GMT

I recently bought an old milling machine made by the WB Knight Machine Company of St. Louis. It was made to run on a line shaft. I would like to restore it to working condition, but I can't find any information on the company or thier machines. It would be nice to find diagrams or any useful information about the machine. Any ideas or leads would be a great help.
   Ryan Jeter - Friday, 10/05/01 01:15:58 GMT

I am doing an assignment at school and I am stuck on this question. "Describe who developed the process of joining metals together"
I hope you can help.


   Dean Cox - Friday, 10/05/01 11:58:35 GMT

Knight Mill: Ryan, I never heard of them. It doesn't mean its not a good machine, just that it is one of the thousands of small manufacturers that have dissapeared in the last 100 years. Hundreds floundered during The Depression and a line shaft driven machine indicates a company that was in operation prior to 1928.

The patent office would be one possible source of information. However, patents are listed under the inventor's name NOT a company. If the machine has a tag with patent numbers that may help you determine who their engineer/inventor was and possibly lead to other information.

Good luck.
   - guru - Friday, 10/05/01 14:09:20 GMT

Joining Metals: Dean, The "joining of metals" includes both mechanical (rivets, screws) and metalurgical processes (soldering, welding, melting).

Welding of metals predates the technology to smelt metals. Prior to the Bronze Age people used "native metals", pure gold and copper found as nuggets or viens in surface rock.

Almost all the basic processes were developed to some degree before the Bronze Age (3000 BC) during the Copper Age (5000 BC) and earlier. Casting, welding, forging, raising, soldering.

Because gold does not oxidize like other metals it is easy to heat using a clean fire such as from charcoal and join pieces together OR melt small pieces together into one larger piece.

Neither the inventors or the place of such early inventions or discoveries is known. All that can be said is that it was pre-historic humans. And since many such discoveries were made independently on seperate continents, lost and rediscovered later, even the most general area cannot be pointed to.

   - guru - Friday, 10/05/01 14:40:51 GMT

I've got a 16' stack above my forge. I use a side-draft system with a 6" diameter pipe and it draws great but of course there are conditions when I get a little smoke about. You can imagine that this rusting pipe is well defined against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge. My wife for whom I built a nice glassed in sitting room has, on occasion reminded me of a promise I made in a moment of weakness to shorten the pipe.
My question is: As smoke rises, it cools and therefore slows down, I think. So...the advantage of a tall stack eventually is overcome by the cooling to the smoke column which increases with height. Based on diameter, is there an idea height for a stove pipe stack?
P.S. Because of the suggestion of an interpersonal element to this question, I would prefer not to involve Cracked in this discussion.
   - Lsundstrom - Friday, 10/05/01 15:15:57 GMT

Stack Height greatly effects efficiency. Cooling in a stack is minimal and would have little effect in a stack of this length. There is no clean answer to this one. Shorten the stack and test it. Other options are, move the shop. . . use a gas forge . . .
   - guru - Friday, 10/05/01 16:24:02 GMT

Can any body suggest source OF supply for ceramic tiles with
respectable poracity for the purpose of gas distributer?

   K.P.KUMAR - Friday, 10/05/01 16:26:33 GMT

Joining of metals---read the historical intro to R.F.Tylecotes "Solid Phase Welding" for a brief bit on welding of gold and silver in antiquity.

His "METALLURGY in ARCHAEOLOGY" A Prehistory of Metallurgy in the British Isles might be usefull as well.

   Thomas Powers - Friday, 10/05/01 17:24:40 GMT

Sir, I have thought about moving the shop. Apart from the problem of getting house jacks under a cement slab, there is no (?) other place to put it. Now as far as switching to gas....that was good.
   - Lsundstrom - Friday, 10/05/01 18:26:28 GMT

Joining of metals:
It is a sad fact that some teachers actually expect questions like that to be answered. Tell him/her to rephrase the question, specifying time period, metal etc.

People that knows very little shouldn´t be allowed to bully those who, trough no fault of their own except being young, knows even less!
   Olle Andersson - Friday, 10/05/01 18:28:30 GMT

Anyone know of a local source of quality smithing coal in the Minneapolis MN area?
   chris bernard - Friday, 10/05/01 18:46:43 GMT

I am trying to find out what the Ms temperature of 440c steel is.Iwould like to set up a mar-quench salt bath for my knife making shop & I need this info to determine the temperature of the salt quench bath. Any help would be greatly appreciated. dlucas61 at hotmail.com
   david lucas - Friday, 10/05/01 19:19:24 GMT

Larry, let me add to what guru said about stacks. There is no ideal height for a given stack diameter. Stack effect is based on the “average” temperature in a stack. Like you know, if the gas in the stack is hotter, it is less dense and is therefore “more buoyant” than the surrounding air and will rise in the stack if the barometric pressure is the same both inside and outside the top of the stack. The gas does cool as it rises in the stack due to heat loss through the stack wall, but it will generally not cool below ambient temperature outside and so if it’s hotter at the forge, the average gas temp in the stack has to be higher than ambient. There does have to be enough stack effect to overcome the resistance to flow in the stack once the gasses get moving.

Gasses will cool differently in a steel stack vs. a masonry stack. Generally, a well made masonry stack will have less cooling, so the average gas temperature in the stack will be higher, so it will draw better if the inside wall is nice and smooth. A triple wall steel stack will also have less heat loss than a single wall typical steel stack, so will draw better all else being equal. As the gasses cool, they do become more dense and the actual volume per pound is less, so they do slow down somewhat as they rise. But that isn’t taken into account in stack design. At least not by anyone I know.

Note that above, I said “if the barometric pressure is the same both inside and outside the top of the stack”. If your stack is near a tree, or another building, or if you are down in a steep creek bottom, etc, you might have situations where the static pressure outside the top of the stack is higher than the static pressure inside the top of the stack. Usually from wind influences. Then you can get backdraft. The high pressure outside moves down the stack, pushes the smoke out the bottom and is generally not good. The higher the stack is, the less likely, on average, that you will get wind induced backdraft.

Backdraft can also be induced in a stack if there is an exhaust fan in the smithy that lowers the pressure in the smithy below ambient pressure outside.

In addition to the guru’s suggestions, if shortening the stack makes it draw too poorly, you can lower the resistance to flow in the stack by increasing the diameter, eliminating or using larger radius elbows, cleaning it, using a low loss stack cap, eliminating smoke shelves, making sure you are not having too much cold air go up the stack along with the hot forge gasses, insulate the stack (last resort) etc.

   Tony - Friday, 10/05/01 20:00:43 GMT

I am 50 yrs old Have done some minor hobby smithing. Have been inactive for the last 10 yrs. I am wishing to get back into working with my equiptment, My question consirns auto leaf springs as a source of metal to practice making blades with. Knives and possibly swords, Located in south Georgia
   Jerry - Friday, 10/05/01 20:12:37 GMT

Leaf springs in Georgia should be fine for blademaking and less rusty/pitted than the one here in Ohio.

Leafsprings are often 5160 a good tough steel. Some folks like the older springs better than the ones from the 80's and 90's. Others warn against using broken springs (since micro cracking occurs in several places before propagation and failure). Generally one can get scraps from a spring maker for free or scrap rate that will do fine for knives; you might want to ask about purchasing a sword length since that's *way* too much time and effort to spend on a piece of metal of unknown history! (never stopped me though)

Thomas experiment and have fun!
   Thomas Powers - Friday, 10/05/01 20:42:40 GMT

Guru and all,

I am now the proud owner of a bottle of PCB etchant from Radio shack. What is the proper procedure for preparing and unsing a ferric chloride solution?

I know the acid to water not water to acid bit......

   - Jim Freely - Friday, 10/05/01 21:52:06 GMT

Thank you for responding to my question. Now I do wear my Anvilfire Cap in public and Jock knows that I'm current on my membership dues but I have one section and only one section of 6" triple wall going through my shop roof and the rest is heavy duty stove pipe. I don't mind a little coal smoke. I think it gives the place the proper "atmosphere". Sure, I could use bigger diameter pipe and I eventually will. But that stuff is expensive! I was just triing to gain some intellectual support for the need of keeping the stack as high as it is ugly. But did I even expect such a low blow as Jock himself leveled at me, under the heading "other options, use a gas forge" No sir, I did not...and I cannot abide such...such, ah, shall we say, impertinance. (grin)
   - Lsundstrom - Friday, 10/05/01 22:00:10 GMT


That depends on how well you want to get along with the little woman, doesn't it? Gas forge might not be a bad idea for that purpose. And it does put a second arrow in the quiver.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Friday, 10/05/01 22:03:48 GMT

Ferric Chloride Solution JIM, What percentage is it? A 0.5% solution is used for Damascus steel etching/coloring. If its that percentage it is ready to go.

The warmer the solution the faster the etch. Slow is better.
   - guru - Friday, 10/05/01 22:34:35 GMT

Spring Steel: Jerry, Coil springs take a little more work but have some advantages. They can be bent before forging to make wavy or curved blades and the thicker section makes it easier to keep a nice diamond section. For making blades, chisles and tools the round section is good for intrgral tang shoulders. Forging round to flat is not difficult and the smaller sections are actualy closer to what you need than most leaf springs.

Auto scrapyards often have loose coil springs lying around that they done't have a clue what they came out of. That means they are CHEAP!
   - guru - Friday, 10/05/01 22:46:57 GMT

Jim, with ferric chloride:
I used a 10 : 1 ratio with mine. It seemed to work fine.
Might be slower but that is good.
No matter the ratio you use always do a test piece first. That way you will not sacrifice something you worked a long time on
   Ralph - Saturday, 10/06/01 06:45:07 GMT

Larry, no problem! grin. Tell your wife that I said you need to leave your stack as is to preserve your health.

Unless of course, she's trying to get rid of you, then..... well...... nevermind.
   Tony - Saturday, 10/06/01 12:10:38 GMT

Testing Ralph mentioned testing the etch. When you do this be sure the sample piece is the same material (a cut off) and the same finish as the actual part. Finish, temperature and cleanliness all effect the results of etching.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/06/01 15:08:30 GMT

Steel Stacks
For economy, you can use single wall galvanized sheet metal of two sizes, like a 10 inch in a 12 inch. You can use short zee bar or hat sections made from sheet metal for spacers to hold the inside pipe near the center. Or tubing with a bolt through it and both walls of pipe. I once made a 30 ft stack this way for the OUTSIDE of an A-Frame house to get the stack above the roof ridge. Just assemble one joint at a time and screw it all together. You don't need triple wall steel for a forge, but you may want an additional spacer where you go through the roof or wall. Triple wall protects you from excess heat on the outside layer primarily in the event of a stack fire. Double wall gives you plenty of insulation to get a good draft. I also believe a coal forge will condense less combustible materials into the stack than a typical wood stove or fireplace.

If you have to go horizontal, doing so at an angle like 45 degrees makes for a better draft than making 90 degree turns.
   Andy Martin - Saturday, 10/06/01 18:45:43 GMT

Thanks Tony,
I guess for now the stack stays. I must confess that I have a gas forge and I love the loud and noisy, quick and clean inferno. The reason I keep the coal forge going is so I will have an excuse for the stack.
Just remember that flow varies directly with the fourth power of the radius. Actually, the term "draw" is a misnomer. Because the hotter air is less dense than the air outside the stack, the cooler air "pushes" the hotter air up the stack, that is, when the pressure of the air at the bottom of the stack is greater than the pressure at the top. Now, put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Coal is king,
   - Lsundstrom - Saturday, 10/06/01 21:28:34 GMT

I'm 23 and have a piece of stainless steel that I would like to make a knife out of. However, I am experienced in welding and working with Iron but do now know how to temper the steel to hold an edge. Please let me know if you know where or how I can get this information. Thank you.
   Chad Heller - Saturday, 10/06/01 23:44:55 GMT

Mr.Kumar and Mr. Guru (Dempsey),
The Patent Office (U.S.A. & Canada, etc. etc.),has a list of assignees of patents. Assignees are the "purchaser" of the patent from the inventor (of record for the specific patent of interest). Using the list of assignees is one way to search for a patent. Most modern patents list the inventor and also the assignee (= patent buyer) on the front cover of the patent document. There is also a list of patentees, to be used for searching, as there is the list of patent assignees. We often run searches using the two above mentioned lists and several others. (e.g. subject matter lists. an example, of which, would be "disposal diapers" etc.).I suspect that all these lists are now available through an internet search. But the electronic database does not have all issued patents. Working backwards for data entry is an on-going process. The desired patent may be too early to have made it into the data base yet. In that case a search at the U.S. Patent Office,in Washington, would be ideal. If that is not practical, try one of the U.S. regional libraries, that is designated to carry a full set of U.S. patents. (they are probably on microfiche. The patentee and assignee lists will also be there with the patent copies. A call to the U.S. Patent Office should get you the name and address of the designated library nearest to you. Then again, that same library information should obtainable via an internet search, at the Patent Office site. I hope this information helps. Good Luck
Regards, Slag, (Patent Attorney, Canada & U.S.A., and Registered Pat. & trademark Agent, etc. etc.).
   slag - Sunday, 10/07/01 02:26:12 GMT

Stainless: Chad, check that piece of stainless with a magnet. If its non-magnetic then it probably not hardenable. The most common SS bar stock is 302 - 305 series. Its not hardenable. The magnetic types. 405, 440 and such are hardenable. Most stainless that is hardenable is what's known as age or precipitation hardening. It must be carefully heated to just the right temperature and held for a specific time. It is usualy done in a salt bath (liquid salt) to get the best control. You are best off to have a professional heat treater do the job. But the first thing he is going to ask is which of a hundred alloys it is. . .

Make your first knife out of an old spring and experiment with the hardening and tempering. See our FAQ on Heat Treating on the 21st Century Page and the list of Junk Yard Steels.

After you have made a few experimental knives then order a piece of 440C Stainless, make a knife and have a pro harden it. If you are REALLY into it you may want to invest in the necessary heat treating equipment at that time.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/07/01 02:49:42 GMT

Hi Guru, et.al.,,,

Can someone give me some advise on an oiling system for my Bradley hammer. I'm reassembling it after cleaning, painting, adjusting, ect. and would like to add a "one shot lube system". Has anyone done this? The original system used little cast wells with felt pads above each bearing
and every one of them were plugged solid with a mixture of dirt and carbon. My milling machine uses a neat little system consisting of a hand pump built into the main oil reservoir with lines running to the ways and lead screws. Does anyone make a system like that which could be fitted to the hammer and wouldn't cost an arm and leg.
   karma-kanic - Sunday, 10/07/01 03:07:50 GMT

Larry, I've been working in fluid mechanics for some time and that's the first time someone has described air bouyancy in what I consider to be the correct manner. The heavier, denser air "pushing" the lighter hotter air up the stack. Along the same lines, pumps don't "suck". They reduce the pressure in the inlet and atmospheric pressure pushes the fluid in. One never knows how detailed an explanation the audience wants. grin

Karma, how about replacing the felt in the oil cups? The density of the felt controls the oil flow rate to the bearing. Even wool yarn can be used. If there is an oil cup, the original builder intended there to be oil available for the bearing at a relatively constant flow rate for some level of hydrodynamic lubrication. A one shot system is not continuous and may starve the bearing between shots. An elevated gravity reservoir with multiple lines to the bearings and individual needle valves with flow sights to control and see flow rate might work for you too.

Just another option to consider.

I engineer lubrication equipment for a living. See (www.lubedevices.com) to see what we have available if you want. We do NOT sell single or low volume pieces to individuals. See Grainger and McMaster for our stuff in low volume.

Have fun!
   Tony - Sunday, 10/07/01 11:20:48 GMT

I am in the process of building a gas forge and I'm wondering if I apply ITC-100 directly to the Kaewool or if I need to use a rigidizer first. Also I have heard of using more than one layer of one inch K-wool, my tank is about 28 inches long with a diameter of 12 inches. Any help would be appreciated, thanks in advance.Brad.
   Brad - Sunday, 10/07/01 12:56:46 GMT

One Shot Oiler: karma-kanic, The system on your mill is an add-on. Look at the name tags closely for the manufacturer.

However. . This would only oil your main bearings and the guides, not the crank pin or toggles. The oilers you speak of were add-ons I think as I have not seen them on most Bradleys. These machines are from the oil-can era and it is still the best method.

I use replacement oilers with fliptop caps to keep the dirt out.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/07/01 15:37:52 GMT

ITC-100 and Kaowool Brad, the common design of using Kaowool for a forge lining is a mis-application of the product in the first place so anything you do must be judged from that start. The ITC-100 is an infa-red reflectant and gets applied to the surface.

How many layers? How thick is your blanket? It comes in thicknesses up to 4" starting at 1/2". 2" (spec) is about normal. If you are building a Ron Reil type forge you should be using the information he supplies in great detail.

Gas and oil forges SHOULD have a hard lining of refractory brick or castable refractory. Kaowool outside of this will increase the efficiency and keep the outer surface cooler.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/07/01 15:47:49 GMT

Kaowool comes in different densities. 4 lb wool is a better insulator than 8 lb but the 8 lb is more durable. Refinery furnaces often use light weight wool with a heavier surface in overlapping layers to aid in joint sealing. Then a rigidizer is sprayed on the hot face. None if this may be applicable to forge construction except that two 1 inch layers may be better than one, especially if the outside layer is a better insulator.

Castable refractory is readily available in most sections of the country and is very easy to use. It is also quite cheap. Heavier than wool, it is much lighter than concrete and is very durable. If you contact a supply house, ask if they have any out of date castable. It will give inferior performance like out of date photographic film but you won't be able to tell the difference. They may even give outdated material away. Most of it has a shelf life of only 6 months or so.

Manufacturers are C-E, A.P. Green, Kaiser Products, John Zink. There are distributors in most major cities.
   Andy Martin - Sunday, 10/07/01 19:50:33 GMT

I am hoping that you can direct me. I have a very old "Buffalo Forge" Made in Buffalo, NY.many many years ago. I would like to refurbish it if at all possible but need some pictures and/or direction. I Don't really know where to start. Can you help me? Thank you for anything that you might have. George
   George Emmans - Monday, 10/08/01 00:22:28 GMT

I have acquired a very old Buffalo Forge, made in Buffalo, NY. It needs work to make it usable but I need a picture or some direction on it. Any information that you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I am 75 years young and love to bring things "back to life". Thanks
   George Emmans - Monday, 10/08/01 00:45:08 GMT


Buffalo Forge is still in busines, but they haven't made any forges for at least 50 years. I've talked to the company, they have very little in the way of information about the early years.

Your best bet is to join your local blacksmithing group, and get help from your fellow members. If that's not possible, take some pictures, and forward them either through scans via e-mail, or send them snail mail to either the guru or myself, and we'll try to help you.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Monday, 10/08/01 01:51:42 GMT

Description of first person to join metals: Hmmm... Short, dark-skinned, hairy, bearded, rather smelly, skin-clad, with hair scorched off in a number of places and a few burns... ;-)
   - Stormcrow - Monday, 10/08/01 03:15:16 GMT

I am interested in learning the arts of blacksmithing. Is there a difrctory of Blacksmiths I could take advantage of to find a local blacksmith to learn from?
   Andy - Monday, 10/08/01 04:52:08 GMT

Mr Kumar: porus ceramic plates... shops serving the foundry industry usually have stuff like that, to build into forms to let air escape but keep the metall inn, might fit your use
   Stefan - Monday, 10/08/01 05:42:45 GMT

Stormcrow &sp;&sp;&sp;&sp;:-)
   - guru - Monday, 10/08/01 10:36:51 GMT

Andy, Click on the drop down menu at the top right and select ABANA-Chapter.com. It is a list of all the ABANA (Artist Blacksmith Association of North America) local chapters. Find the closest and join! Lots of good people and monthly activities. In some parts of the country you can join several and be busy every week end.
   - guru - Monday, 10/08/01 10:42:28 GMT

Andy; if you post your general location someone willing to help might speak up; if you are near Central Ohio the Mid Ohio Blacksmiths will be happy to get you started; *and* we have a hammer-in Oct 20,21!

Thomas, MOBster, SOFA, SCA, IR"TOS"
   Thomas Powers - Monday, 10/08/01 14:10:58 GMT

Chris and coal:

The best place to get coal locally (MPLS, MN) is through the Guild of Metalsmiths (http://www.metalsmith.org/). They also have classes and are a fairly odd group of people. Kinda like here ;-)}.

I would send this as a direct email, but I don't seem to be able to get at your address.
   Escher - Monday, 10/08/01 15:06:14 GMT

If anyone could help me find out the temperature where martensite forms in 440c during quenching, I would be very greatful. I have already contacted the manufacturer Carpenter Steel , & all I got was standard heat treat info. I need to know the Ms temp. so that I can set up a salt bath mar-quench for my knife shop . Thank You dlucas61 at hotmail.com
   david lucas - Monday, 10/08/01 15:24:44 GMT

Stormcrow, why did you post a decription of me?
   Olle Andersson - Monday, 10/08/01 16:07:04 GMT

I've been useing a lot of RR steel and Iron. I know it's high carbon, but by what percent. I can't find any documentation on the mix. Where could I go to find out?
   Ragtag - Monday, 10/08/01 18:03:25 GMT

I apologize...=) I am looking for blacksmiths in the Southern California Area, preferably close to Simi Valley or the San Fernando Valley. I am looking for someone to teach me basic blacksmithingand guide me when I have questions...and I am willing to pay with grunt work and shop cleaning..service for service...=)

I have founs the CBA(California Blacksmith Association) has a once-a-month class in Tujunga, wich is semi close to me, and I plan on going there, but I still would like a local Smith to "apprentice" under.

Thanks everyone for any help you can give me. =)
   Andy - Monday, 10/08/01 19:57:11 GMT

Hi, I am on the search for step-by-step instructions on the construction of blacksmith's puzzles. I hope to use puzzles as small projects for me to work on, but I don't want to have to buy each puzzle from someone else before trying to construct it. Do you have any ideas for me?
   Tellman Knudson - Monday, 10/08/01 21:07:18 GMT

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