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 9 - 17, 2001 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Anvilfire "Tool" Auction Test

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

Olle - Why, you must be the first to join metals! Makes sense, doesn't it?
   - Stormcrow - Tuesday, 10/09/01 00:38:59 GMT

Ragtag-- A standard text, Metallurgy, by Carl G. Johnson and William R. Weeks, American Technical Society, Chicago, 4th edition, 13th printing 1957, says track and wheel steel is low to high carbon, .60 to .70 % (pp. 223, 225). But things have changed a lot since 1957, so maybe RR steel has, too. Miles Undercut, acting provost, Cracked Anvil Center for Analysis (Cracked's still locked up in there, working on, he says through the intercom, his riveting machine, with Chaz, Swarf and Yummi)
   miles undercut - Tuesday, 10/09/01 02:09:56 GMT

Forging stainless?
I understand there are many types of stainless, but can any type be forged? If so what type and any special practices? do you need a stainless block for an anvil and a stainless hammer cleaning with a stainless wire brush etc,..?
Thank you,
- Norm
   Norm Harvey - Tuesday, 10/09/01 15:22:43 GMT

Andy, On the CBA web page will be a contact point for the CBA. Write or call them and ask who is near you.
   Ralph - Tuesday, 10/09/01 15:52:46 GMT

MR. Lucas
The Ms temperature for 440C is 913.7 F.This value was obtained from the following equation:
Since steel compositions have a range of alloy content (eg 16-18%Cr for 440C) I had to assume values for these percentages. Therefore you may have to experiment to get the exact Ms temperature for the bar you have, but this should give you a good ball park.

Forging Stainless
There are not many precautions needed when forging stainless, the biggest probably being that you can get it too hot and it will crumble (esp. high carbon stainless). In all other respects it should be just like forging carbon steel, except that it is hard to move under the hammer. Using a stainless brush to finish is probably a good idea because the bristles may get caught it the piece, and stainless bristles wont show up as rusty streaks.
   patrick - Tuesday, 10/09/01 16:51:15 GMT

Hello all!
Got a bit of problem here. My brother in law wants to move his large coal forge into his shop. Problem is there doesn't seem to be an insurance company who will insure the building with the coal forge in it. Any thoughts from the other Canadian smiths.

Thanks for the help.
   TonyC - Tuesday, 10/09/01 19:55:52 GMT

Where can I find Information on Making Weather vanes???
   kennen - Tuesday, 10/09/01 23:28:05 GMT

dear guru,
I am restoring a Murray 250 forging hammer and was wondering if you could tell me what kind of tolerance is needed for pressing the front wheel back onto the shaft? and also where to find a new spring?
   matthew mazza - Tuesday, 10/09/01 23:30:36 GMT


Jock and I are both out of town this week, so our messages may be kinda hit and miss. We should be
back either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Tuesday, 10/09/01 23:46:18 GMT

Tony ...I from North Bay Ontario... All I can say is good luck...
   Barney - Wednesday, 10/10/01 01:02:20 GMT

The Forge and Anvil site in St jocabs has them on their site.. Or ask for blacksmith puzzles..Thats how i got them..
   Barney - Wednesday, 10/10/01 01:04:24 GMT

Murray Hammer: Matthew, I'd have to start with the shaft size and use a standard press fit from MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/10/01 03:47:33 GMT

Stainless Tooling for stainless is cast iron, carbon steel, tool steel and carbide just as for machining or forging anything else.

Besides using a stainless wire brush you need to be sure to clean carbon steel scale off your anvil and dies before using them. The scale can get embedded in the SS and cause rust stains. Passivating in an acid bath is recommended for a bright rust free surfaces. The acid removes any free iron from the surface so that it cannot rust.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/10/01 04:01:07 GMT

Weather Vanes Rule #1 is that they must be balanced mechanically. This puts as little stain on the bearings or pivots as possible and is absolutely necessary on balance point bearings. Rule #2 the downwind side of the vane needs to have a larger area than the head wind side so that it points the right direction. The greater the ratio between the two the more sensitive the vane.

The vanes I've made had simple hard steel points running on a brass plug for a balance point bearing. The support bar was 5/16 steel running in 1/4" SCH 40 pipe. With good balance they turn very freely and mine have lasted over 20 years with no maintenance.

Weather vane bodies have been made of materials ranging from wood and steel to copper. Some are cast iron or aluminium and others are fancy works of art. Let your imagination be your guide.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/10/01 04:20:03 GMT

I have a 1" X 1/4" stainless steel. It has HEAT 135 printed on it. I am interested in hardening it (if possible) but I don't know what alloys it contains. Can anybody help?
   Derrick - Wednesday, 10/10/01 19:01:07 GMT

Thanks for your response regarding the Buffalo Forge. I wonder if you might know of a link or something that I might find a picture of forges. This one was patented in about 1877. If I had a picture I could probably do what is needed to finish my project. Also, this one needs a flat belt. Maybe you would know of a supplier. Thank you so very much. George
   George Emmans - Wednesday, 10/10/01 19:30:58 GMT

George, I don't know of any pictures or catalogs for that forge, but as for the belt all you need is a leather belt. Pretty much anything will work, cutting your own out of a hide or using an old belt for holding your pants up! All you have to do is cut to length & butt the ends together, either sew them or make some wire staples. It works really well, I did it on my old Sears portable forge. Good Luck!
   Mike Roth - Wednesday, 10/10/01 19:45:36 GMT

George, I use an old sears portable also. You can get leather from Tandy leather or maybe if you have a gun or sports show near you, usually there is a belt maker there with stock of different grades. I cut the ends on a flat taper, overlap and glue them. Bout the same way you forge weld except for the upsetting.
   Jerry - Wednesday, 10/10/01 20:16:25 GMT

I have a Hossfeld #2 universal bender. Is there a way to make basket twists with my bender.
   Troy Smith - Wednesday, 10/10/01 20:19:20 GMT

I am looking for some information on a Star trip hammer.
The one I have is a #30 and a friend has a #50 they both
need some work. are any parts available or do we make them
some how.
   Kerwin Lund - Thursday, 10/11/01 00:21:33 GMT

Hossfeld Troy, No. Although it would be possible with VERY special tooling. Hossfeld doesn't make it. There are machines made to do it in high production AND it is possible to bend individual pieces and weld them together later. But is it much easier to make them by any of the traditional methods described in our iForge demo's on the subject.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/11/01 01:22:19 GMT

Flat Belts: George, McMaster-Carr sells flat leather belting as do thousands of power transmission and belting suppliers nationwide.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/11/01 01:27:23 GMT

Hi guys, relatively new blacksmith here, (some of the stuff I am making is actually starting to look like what I think it should look like). My question is on finishes. I am wanting to try something new, buffing the steel with a wire brush and clear coating it is getting old. I need some general advise and/or formulas, techniques, application processes etc for finishes. I keep seeing beeswax and boiled turpentine listed in some of the back issues of hammers blow. Where can I obtain the materials? Thanks.

Vance Moore
Meridian, Mississippi, USA.
   Vance - Thursday, 10/11/01 01:49:44 GMT

You people are really great. You answer so quickly and I want you to know that I really appreciate it. I kind of thought of a belt solution similar to your suggestion. Now I have another question. (With probably many more before I am done) They speak about a pot. What are they talking about. Can they be purchased or made or what do you suggest? Again, thanks until next time> George
   George Emmans - Thursday, 10/11/01 02:36:52 GMT

Finish Materials Vance. Paint stores and beekeeper's suppliers. But these are amature formulations. Why not use what is formulated by professional finish chemists???? paint. . . .
   - guru - Thursday, 10/11/01 03:04:11 GMT

Star Hammers: Kerwin, These machines were orphaned over 50 years ago. You are on your own. See MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK for basics like bearing clearances, babbitting and such.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/11/01 03:09:26 GMT

Heat 135L Derrick, this is NOT a material identifier. It is merely the production batch "lot" or "melt" for the particular bar. It could be anything. The vast majority of stainlesses are not hardenable.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/11/01 03:12:28 GMT

I tried my hand a pattern welding yesterday ... didn't come out to bad for a first try ... any way i need a good formula for the etch I tried a 5% solution of meric acid and the patterns didn't come out as deep as i would like,(after soaking for about 24 hours) also the etch didn't come out very even and I can't figure out why. (buffed, cleaned finish) I use old bandsaw blades for the stock .. could my lack of .. POP in the pattern, be from the materials being to close in alloy (seems the weld line is all that got etched)to give a good depth.
as always thanks' for the help.
   MP - Thursday, 10/11/01 03:21:32 GMT

MP, Did you use dissimilar ferrous metals or the same old bandsaw blades? For starters, you might try welding high carbon to low carbon or perhaps 01 (oil hardening tool steel) to low carbon.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 10/11/01 11:41:33 GMT

George Emmans, I don't know who "they" are, but I guess you mean a fire pot, usually cast iron, what you build your fire in. In the upper right of this page, click on ABANA-Chapter; then, abana.org; then, suppliers.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 10/11/01 11:57:27 GMT

Jock,I was just looking at the brake drum forge in the guru plans and remembered a friend and I building one similar 4 or 5 years ago and it worked O.K. at least until it got warmed up. The area that is flat at the base of the drum (
around the grate) gets about the same temp as the fire. What we did was built up the base with fire cement in a conical shape around the grate to better focus the air and protect the drum from digesting itself. This seemed to work well. Was wondering if you had any such trouble and if this should be mentioned in your plans?
   Scott - Thursday, 10/11/01 23:57:39 GMT

Laminated Steel: MP, I think Frank hit on your problem. You need more than one alloy. High carbon, low carbon or low carbon, high carbon alloy. Nickle alloys tend to resist the etch and give strong contrasts. One popular combination for extreme contrast is wrought or pure iron and pure nickle. Its no good for blades but great for furniture, trim, sculpture.
   - guru - Friday, 10/12/01 01:53:13 GMT

Brake Drum Forge: Scott, There are all kinds of things you can do with forges. The brake drum type is a small starter forge and should be considered just that. Mine was actually built using auto wheels instead of a brake drum. The deeper conical dish worked well. On the other hand I had a lot more blower than I needed and some excess air leaked against the bottom of the forge cooling it.

For a long time I've been intending to put together an article on traditional and make do forges. It will cover the options.
   - guru - Friday, 10/12/01 02:00:37 GMT

Paw-Paw and I spent 9 hours demonstrating at the "Tennessee Fall Homecoming Fair" hosted by the Museum of Appalachia today. . . been a LONG day. Another one tomorrow.
   - guru - Friday, 10/12/01 02:03:39 GMT

The return of the silver cookie test.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 10/12/01 02:12:23 GMT

I want to start to melting aluminum,where can I fine a plan for building a oven and buying a crucible?
   Gary Jackson - Friday, 10/12/01 04:08:05 GMT

I reread a few books last night and came to the same thought ... I should have know that, I used two seperate blades (different brands and thickness) but I think the alloys were to close to give a good definition going to try another stack w/ some hot rolled mild throw in the stack .. that should help thanks for the quick answer

I ended up doing the same thing w/ a brake drum I had made but I did it to cut down on coal consumption never had a problem heating up the bottom of the pan, I was using bellows and not a blower so that may make a difference
   MP - Friday, 10/12/01 04:39:48 GMT

Gary: www.lindsaybooks.com, look for the charcoal foundry series by David Gingery. Good, basic how-to for a small solid-fuel furnace. Once you see the other foundry and smithing books they have you'll end up getting most of the catalog anyway!
   Alan-L - Friday, 10/12/01 13:57:47 GMT

I am working on repairing an old fence built around 1920. the fence consists of 5/8 sq. pickets 6ft high that fit through two stringers, one at the top and one at the bottom the stringers are made of channel. these sections are attached to posts which are for lack of better words H-beams with a slight radius on the flats. these posts measure 1 3/4 by 2 1/4. i am having a time finding them, even though I'm not worried about the radius. is there a company or individual that sells this kind of material? i need eight 8ft pieces. can you help me out? thanks
   aaron - Friday, 10/12/01 14:38:14 GMT

Scott - brake drum forge

Try to remember if it was a Ford or Chevy brake drum you started with. They made lots of both (4 per vehicle) and the replacement parts (drums) are cheap (junk price or free). As long as the bolt holes match, you can change them, as needed, with little cost.
   - Conner - Friday, 10/12/01 14:55:06 GMT

Aaron, renovatorssupply.com might be able to point you in the right direction. They do custom jobs, but for 8 pieces, it might be cost prohibitive.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 10/12/01 17:47:55 GMT

If you want to make a blade from the pattern welded stuff you will need to keep the carbon content up, I use metal strapping from lumber bundles as it is close to the same thickness, cheap(free!) and stack two BSB to each MS; with the low C stuff on the outside for coal forge welding. (its easier to weld stuff up if they are about the same thickness to start with)

   Thomas Powers - Friday, 10/12/01 20:48:08 GMT

Conner, My point was more directed to the efficiency of a cheap forge. Just because it doesn't cost anything doesn't mean you cant make it last more than a week. Also if every time you get the thing up to temp and the heat is being robbed by the forge itself, the longer your piece has to sit and soak. I agree its not meant to be the one you mason into a reproduced shaker forge but it ought to work to its fullest if possible. Thanks
   scott - Friday, 10/12/01 23:00:18 GMT


The H-beams were likely a decorative section no longer rolled, since nobody seems to recognize it. Or they may be castings. For as few pieces as you need, you could fabricate them.

You may want to try welding two channels back to back. Skip weld with a MIG to keep heat input low, alternating sides, and you should keep distortion down. Then you can fill in the skips. A lot of work but you only need a few pieces. You could also rip a larger pipe, like four inch, into strips to match the curved surfaces then weld a flat bar between two strips. Again a lot of finishing on the cut edges unless you have access to a track torch or plasma cutter.
   Andy Martin - Friday, 10/12/01 23:58:21 GMT

Conner, My point was more directed to the efficiency of a cheap forge. Just because it doesn't cost anything doesn't mean you cant make it last more than a week. Also if every time you get the thing up to temp and the heat is being robbed by the forge itself, the longer your piece has to sit and soak. I agree its not meant to be the one you mason into a reproduced shaker forge but it ought to work to its fullest if possible.
   scott - Friday, 10/12/01 23:59:16 GMT

sorry, I only wanted to post my come back once. On a different note, Aaron, I used to work for Renovators Supply and I don't believe they could help anybody with custom work. they don't have a very experienced staff and connections to anywhere you would not be able to get yourself.
   scott - Saturday, 10/13/01 00:07:02 GMT

Odd section shape Aaron, There were many such proprietary systems just as there are today. They come and go. Look for a tag somewhere on the fence with a brand name or a maker. Then you may be in a position to find some used.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/13/01 00:17:16 GMT

OBTW, The suggestion to fabricate the section from channel is a good idea.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/13/01 00:19:59 GMT

guru, I will be making some hardware for a Japanese Tansu cabinet and was wondering if you had any experience with this. The hardware in question is the drawer pulls. They appear to use a cotterpin method to fasten the pull to the plate. I believe the Cotter pin goes through the wood and holds the assembly to the drawer but am only speculating. Any suggestions?
   Scott - Saturday, 10/13/01 00:34:03 GMT

I am conducting an environmental assessment of a foundry that operated from 1906-1917 in Decorah, IA. I need to know what is a "Rattler Room?" Would it have been used for shake-out? Or possible connected to "rat-tails" and used to grind deformities off the castings? Also, I know there was a cupola and coke shed, so figuring iron, but I also know this company made valves (single and globe) which makes me wonder about brass/bronze as well? Any thoughts?
   chemeco - Saturday, 10/13/01 03:03:15 GMT

Scott, John Burt knows about Japanese hardware. He's a friend; use my name. JMBalchemy at aol.com.

chemecom, David King acquired an abandoned foundry in Guthrie, Oklahoma, and might be able to help you. It is one of the sites where the Saltfork Craftsmen meet (a blacksmithing group). David is a member. drobertking at msn.com
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 10/13/01 04:05:37 GMT

Chemeco Webster's Third New International Dictionary unabridged, defines the word "rattler" with five different meanings. The fourth definition comes closest to the area of technology (art), you describe. The 4b: definition defines a rattler as a device for shaking out the cores from small castings (tumbling barrel). Definition 4c: defines a rattler as "a device for finishing materials (as metal, concrete, blocks, or bricks) for finishing material (as metal, concrete blocks or bricks) consisting of a closed receptacle in which the material to be finished is shaken up with blocks of metal or abrasive". Definition 4a: defines rattler as a "revolving drum in which paving bricks are rotated with a charge of cast iron to test their abrasion resistance". I hope that helps. It is interesting to note that the multi volume edition of the Oxford English Dictionary does not any definitions for rattler that resembles the above. It seems to be a local term or an Americanism. You may consider contacting the local archives, reference library and historical society for memoires or newspaper clippings concerning the factory. (there may even be a published book describing the operation.). Tax records and civic directories, of the period, may describe the factory operation. Sometimes an old living city resident may remember salient details told to him by an ancestor who may have had knowlege of the factory or even worked there. I hope the definitions and subsequent suggestions help you in your search. SLAG.
   slag - Saturday, 10/13/01 07:24:18 GMT

Hi, could you tell me how to get heavy gauge copper wire to bend in a smooth flowing curve?Thanks
   John - Saturday, 10/13/01 20:03:22 GMT

Larry-- Just occurred to me, in one of those unscheduled flashes la escalier: how about, for the name of your air-driven trip hammer: "Newmatic" ????????????
   Terry O'Morty - Sunday, 10/14/01 00:39:50 GMT

First straighten the wire and anneal evenly.
Then, in one smooth motion while pulling the wire tight, pull it around a form of the proper curve.
Or..use lard or never-seize and pull it over a smoothed edge in gentle progressive passes until you have the curve you want.
There are a bunch of other ways to solve this ,as is true of most metalworking Problems.
   Pete F - Sunday, 10/14/01 03:57:19 GMT

IIRC it is also possible to use a cupola for bronze---different charge/draw rate of course.

   Thomas Powers - Sunday, 10/14/01 20:53:03 GMT

building my first forge and need to know if i can use compressed air for my air supply I'm sure i have more questions but is the only one i can think of now thanks
   berkeley sorelle - Monday, 10/15/01 09:22:48 GMT

Compressed Air: Berkeley, yes, you can use compressed air for a blower. I built my first forge out of quick necessity to bend some big stock and I used compressed air until I got around to putting a blower on. Careful, blacksmithing is addicting. grin
   Tony - Monday, 10/15/01 11:35:04 GMT

I am looking for information regarding how to heat treat tool steel, especially H-13, S-5 and stainless steel.
Thanking you in advance.
   Gerald Pollard - Monday, 10/15/01 11:36:48 GMT

Heat Treating Gerald, See the heat treating FAQ on our 21st Century Page. For details the references I use are from ASM. The ASM Metals Reference Book and the ASM Heatreaters Guide to Ferrous Metals.
   - guru - Monday, 10/15/01 13:31:23 GMT

Compressed Air Forge: Berkeley, It works but is expensive compared to a small blower. Air compressors are extremely inefficient and eat up a lot of power. Commercial compressed air forges (both coal and gas) have been manufactured but the were designed for huge plants that had large amounts of compressed air for other purposes. An expansion chamber is needed to convert the high velocity air to a gentle blast.
   - guru - Monday, 10/15/01 13:37:21 GMT

On the road today. Will be home soon.
   - guru - Monday, 10/15/01 13:38:44 GMT

Are you typing while Paw Paw is driving? Not like you to misspell....grin.

I just used a crusty old 1/2" globe valve to throttle the air into the pipe that the blower would connect to. Compressed air came in 10 inches upstream of the tuyere. That was enough expansion chamber to work fine. Efficiency? Yeah,efficiency sucked. Or blowed, or ....... My 2 hp compressor barely kept up when forging 1" stock. Expensive to be sure, but in a pinch.... The 1/5 hp, ex furnace blower with ceiling fan speed control is much more efficient, gives much more blast and is LOTS quieter too.
   Tony - Monday, 10/15/01 15:36:50 GMT

Our plating shop does chemical polishing of 300 and 400-series stainless steel. We use a commercially-prepared chemical polish containing phosphoric acid, nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, and other "proprietary" chemicals. We can get the generic acids from an independant chemical supplier. Would you know what the proprietary chemicals would be? Thank you.
Ron at Rocky Mountain Metal Finishers-Colorado Springs.
   Ron Schmitt - Monday, 10/15/01 15:58:55 GMT

I just got this from theforge forum.
"Sorry for the bad news- Bonnie Pieh of Centaur Forge had an accident,
fell on Sat. broke her neck and died. Visitation at Schutte-Daniels in
Burlington tomorrow.
Bob Bergman"
   Ralph - Monday, 10/15/01 16:41:34 GMT

Are there any colleges that either specialize in, or have classes about blacksmithing?
   Josh Klein-Kuhn - Monday, 10/15/01 21:05:28 GMT

Are there any colleges that either specialize in, or have classes about blacksmithing?

   Josh Klein-Kuhn - Monday, 10/15/01 21:06:36 GMT

mr. guru,

how does one determine the weight of an anvil by the anglo-saxon? method?

   paul shatley - Monday, 10/15/01 22:39:52 GMT

Josh Klein-Kuhn, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. I have heard that U.Mass in Boston had a smithy for their sculpture people. In the old days, Univ. of New York, Brockport, had a program. Rochester Institute of Technology, School for American Craftsmen, in New York, may have a limited program.

Paul Shatley, Number on left is in hundredweights (each hundredweight is 112 lb.). Middle number up to 4 is quarters of hundredweights (each is 28 lb.). Number on right is odd pounds. Add 'em up.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 10/15/01 23:15:32 GMT

Question for all: Does anyone know of a good book about forging, tempering, etc. saw blades?
   - Stormcrow - Tuesday, 10/16/01 01:06:12 GMT


Sad news indeed. A lot of good people are certainly taking some heavy hits this year. My heart goes out to the family and friends, this being the second loss, counting Bill. Centaur Forge has been a reliable source and a mainstay of blacksmithing. When my son graduated from Great lakes Naval Training Center, six or so yeras ago, I took a side trip to Centaur Forge. They were very nice to this "kid in the candy store."

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov
   - Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 10/16/01 01:41:18 GMT

Frank, the middle number for English hunderedweights can be no higher than 3. 28x4=112, which would put this figure on the left.
   Robert - Tuesday, 10/16/01 01:57:13 GMT

Rob't, I may have missused the English language: "up to four"...not including four, was the intention.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 10/16/01 02:57:26 GMT

I thin Guru was enjoying the beer...er...view... while Paw-Paw was driving.....TC
   Tim Cisneros - Tuesday, 10/16/01 03:54:10 GMT

   Tim Cisneros - Tuesday, 10/16/01 03:55:14 GMT

I suspect the Good Guru may have been sharing it with Tim.
Question; I heard that with a 3 phase converter one can add additional 3 phase motors to the circuit and get a cumulative increase in converted power. Is that right?
If so, is there a problem with the primary converter carrying the extra current? I assume the input wiring has to be heavier.
   Pete F - Tuesday, 10/16/01 05:38:04 GMT

I have a old set of crucible tongs,with handles like scissor handles.they are a small set about 12 inches long.Well one of the arms is broken off and I've been asked to repair them.i;m not familiar with the material that looks like a cast alloy,would anybody know what they might have been made of and possible welding techniques regards doug
   doug guthrie - Tuesday, 10/16/01 12:01:35 GMT

Terry O'Morty,
Thanks for the input on the name "Newmatic". The first "hammer" I built, was a fall type hammer. I named it King Newton, the Gravity Slammer". Your name bears a family resemblance. Bob Dylan came out with a song "Man gave names to all the animals...in the beginning" and Robert Frost wrote a poem that had the line, "something there is that loves a name". It seems like some us spent as much time thinking about what we will call something as we do making it. I already had brass plate made. My first order was for Air Force One and then I called out of respect for the president and had them change the name to "Air Horse One". One of my motives for putting this thing together was to document it with photographs to inspire others to take advantage of the beautiful glide feature of a scapyard hydraulic cylinder. I wasn't aware that masters Tim and Tony had already done this and perhaps hundreds of others. Anyway, I sent Jock a bunch of pictures to use anyway he sees fit and I am willing to share from my experience on converting hydraulics to air. In the mean time I just enjoy the ol' hoss that has a touch as soft as a horses muzzle and a kick like a mule.
   L. Sundstrom - Tuesday, 10/16/01 13:01:32 GMT

Pete F;
In a converted 3 phase system, 3rd leg usualy has a lower voltage than the 2 legs supplied by the power co.

Due to the self generating nature of a 3 phase motor, it will (the converter motor) generate the power for the 3rd leg. When you add more motors on-line, there is more generation taking effect and the 3rd leg is brought to a closer or the same voltage as the other 2 legs. You do not get MORE power, you get more even power. Yes the input must be large enough to supply ALL the required energy and no the converter motor doesn't draw any more power with more motors on-line.
   Wayne Parris - Tuesday, 10/16/01 14:29:31 GMT

HELP, I'm desperate. I'm doing a project for the Canadian Military Engineer Museum on the origins and decline of Blacksmiths in the Corps of military Engineers. I really need documented proof of all information and any advise that I can get. My time line is short and the info is in short supply so once again I say that I am a desperate Sapper. May your forge always be hot....
   Terry - Tuesday, 10/16/01 20:35:03 GMT

I am looking at getting started in blacksmithing as a hobby. I have a few tools (hammer anvil and one set of tongs). I was looking at expanding my tool collection by buying old tools from either estate auctions or (shudder) e-bay. Any thoughts? paul....
   Paul - Tuesday, 10/16/01 22:26:22 GMT

   - JOHN CHEEVERS - Wednesday, 10/17/01 00:44:59 GMT

Paul and John,

Suggest you click on the link Getting Started in Blacksmithing at the top of this page.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Wednesday, 10/17/01 01:21:21 GMT

Hello. I am interested in buying a press to make brass cooking kettles with. Any information on this subject would be appreciated.
   Nikki - Wednesday, 10/17/01 02:24:00 GMT

I am a college student interested in metalworking, mainly machining. I am as inexperienced as it gets and read your getting started article and was looking for a copy of Machinery's Handbook on-line. I know you said that used copies are hard to come by, but I found about 15 copies starting at $12. Most were from the 1940's and some listed the number of pages in the 1800-1900 range. My question is, is this the same book you're talking about? If used copies are as rare as you say, it seems like I've found a treasure chest. They website is Bookfinder.com. I appreciate your time and effort.

   Aubrey Newton - Wednesday, 10/17/01 11:46:09 GMT


Yes, that's the book that is mentioned in the Getting Started article.

For Blacksmithing, you want an edition prior to the seventeenth edition. For machining, you will want the newest you can find.
   Paw+Paw+Wilson - Wednesday, 10/17/01 12:32:31 GMT

Larry, downhold the maundering introspection on your motivation in naming the hammer, would you? It takes up space and pixels needed for vital information about transecting the eutectic and where to find square-head lags and all like that there that viewers here find vitally fascinating.
   Terry O'Morty - Wednesday, 10/17/01 15:10:26 GMT

Wayne: I had a guy I know build a 15 hp phase converter to run a 10 hp 3/ph motor. He used run caps to balance the legs. MY question is, if I add other motors to the system will this alter the balancing that was done so far? And would this be good or bad?
   Pete-Raven - Wednesday, 10/17/01 15:33:35 GMT


I should have mentioned that Barnes and Noble bookstores carries the current edition. Unless you NEED the large print edition, get the regular edition. The large print is $20 bucks more expensive, and the book isn't cheap to begin with. Or you can get the CD version, if you prefer. I may break down and buy that one, and I already have the tenth and seventeenth editions.
   Paw Paw Wilson - Wednesday, 10/17/01 15:35:29 GMT

Terry O'Morty
See note L.Sundstrom posted on V-Hammerin' explaining why valuable pixels were employed herein.
   L. Sundstrom - Wednesday, 10/17/01 16:03:59 GMT

We would like to learn who we might contact for the purpose of bulding an iron mold for us where we can hammer sheet metal into, trim and then solder a figure together.
Your help on this matter will be greatly appreciated.
   paula caretti - Wednesday, 10/17/01 16:33:24 GMT

I need to get a new piece of steel plate for a small welding table. I had been using a piece of 1/4 inch scrap, but it tends to warp. What thickness of plate do I need to prevent warping from the welding? I have to be able to move it by hand for space reasons.
   Roger Scriven - Wednesday, 10/17/01 17:40:36 GMT

I'm HOME finally. . . Will catch up on everything ASAP. However, my mail has been downloading for over an hour. The problem files are SIRCAM virus files from a user at telia.com that I have reported four times over a month. Telia.com has not acted. The account apparently has only one huge ZIP file named "groda.zip" that gets sent over and over. If you are receiving this piece of mail please forward a complaint to abuse at telia.com
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/17/01 17:51:40 GMT

On converters: Pete I am sorry to inform you that the short answer is: NO!!
BUT you will get a slightly better "sine wave pattern" on an oscilloscope. that is you will likely even out any irregularities and thereby get a slightly more efficient current to run the motor,
one winding will not momentarily counteract a second and/or third which may be the case with a not perfect wave pattern. Otoh with a bad motor in the circuit you may ADD irregularities...
   OErjan - Wednesday, 10/17/01 17:55:26 GMT

Custom Mold/Die Paula, e-mail me with more details.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/17/01 17:55:50 GMT

Phase Converter BASICS:

1) You can do it with a motor without capacitors if you manually start it.

2) Capacitor types are self starting and produce a better balance. There is a detailed article on Metal Web News.

3) You can run motors UP TO the size of the converter motor if it has capacitors AND as many as the circuit will support (according to Roto-Phase AND my experience with a Roto-phase unit). I wired my 10HP unit into a 100A 3PH panel box (in parallel not series) and ran two 10HP motors + other smaller 3PH motors at the same time. The same box also had single phase lighting circuits on non-generated legs. The electrical inspector had a LOT of questions about this setup and I gave him a copy of the Roto-Phase documentation. . . in the end he left it up to my judgement. Yours may not.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/17/01 18:06:02 GMT

Warping steelRoger, Arc welding on 2" and 3" (50-150mm) plate will warp it (severely). If you need a flat bench top bolt it on with flat head screws or from underneath. I like 1" (25mm) plate on my welding bench but it is not very portable. . . Cast weld platens vary from 2" to 8".
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/17/01 18:24:20 GMT

I'm starting to get into Bladesmithing and I'm looking to make a simple square anvil. I can get a piece of 6"x6" (8-10"long) 4140. I can get the 4140 through hardened (Rc45-48) I don't plan on doing machining on it (the block will already be finish machined), just welding some feet to it. Is a through hardened block o.k. for an anvil? Or would a face hardened piece of 4140 will a soft core be better? Thanks.
   Tom Maciak - Wednesday, 10/17/01 18:31:07 GMT

Block anvil Tom, Face hardening is better because the (relatively) soft interior resists cracking.

Skip the feet. You may want to carve die type depressions in the sides or bottom. To keep it from moving just tack or bolt some blocks of wood around it on on your stand.

That block will weigh 80 to 100 pounds. However due to the concentrated mass it will be equivalent to a much heavier anvil.

We have been discussing a "starter" anvil of this type with a piece of square tubing welded to one end for a "hardy hole". Tools would have to be offset over the block to take any pounding but it would support many of the common "third hand" type tools easily.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/17/01 19:40:00 GMT

MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK: Aubrey, For blacksmiths the older the better but for those interested in heatreating the latest alloys or using the optimum carbide tooling then new is better.

Availablity varies. One month you will find dozens of used copies, the next month none. I noted that when I started purchasing them the prices started at $15 but as a bought up a dozen the price jumped to over $40. I had made the market price go up (just like stocks) by buying every copy at whatever price. After I got out of the market the prices dropped but it took over a year. . .

See my review for some of the variables.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/17/01 19:57:27 GMT

Military Smiths, Terry, I don't know about the Engineers Corp but smiths were needed in any sizable military unit from the beginning of the iron age until the end of the horse drawn era. At the end of the horse drawn era rubber tired wagons and carriages replaced steel tired wooden wheels. No shoes, no wagons and tires, no smith. At the same time (WWII) portable welding equipment became available and welders replaced the smith in construction and demolition both. Any modern unit that still has horses will have a farrier who is probably titled "blacksmith".

Unless someone has done the research and written a book the "documentation" will be buried in the archives of the military, mostly as part of budgets.

Good luck
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/17/01 20:11:01 GMT

Crucible Tongs Doug, All most ALL tongs of this type are forged low carbon or mild steel. All they ferrous? Check them with a magnet first. Its very unlikely they are cast iron but if they are ferrous then a spark test will tell. Short almost imperceptible sparks indicate CI. Short very fuzzy (many branches) sparks are high carbon. Normal sparks probably indicate mild steel.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/17/01 20:17:15 GMT

Cooking Kettles Nikki, The type of press depends on the production rates. The size, by the size of the piece. Due to the high die costs these are made by spinning in low production. Even in relatively high production spinning is used if the part is symmetrical.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/17/01 20:23:57 GMT

Misspellings (mostly fixed now) were from using a laptop keyboard in the semi-dark and being too tired to stay awake. . . , not drinking. . . but same results. Now that I am home my office is freezing so stiff fingers are the problem. . . gotta clean in front of the heater before I can turn it on. . . :-( Supposed to be below freezing so I had better do it.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/17/01 20:28:35 GMT

Where can I find wrought iron in the Bay Area?
   Douglas Sunlin - Wednesday, 10/17/01 22:42:24 GMT

Even during WWII, the American Army still had a few farriers. They used mule trains to transport supplies in some of the mountainous areas of Italy.

I suspect there is still a farrier at Fort Myer, Va. He would be taking care of the horses used by the Old Guard. (Ceremonial duties, specifically funerals.)
   Paw Paw Wilson - Wednesday, 10/17/01 23:01:48 GMT

A little addendum to the farriers of WW II. Bob Gerkin operated a horseshoeing school in Houston, and learned his shoeing in the Army. He was stationed in the far East, and shod pack mules and horses in Burma and China. He used to make his shoes out of just about anything he and his men could drag up...old fencing, railroad track, truck parts, etc. He had a heck of a time, initially, finding horseshoe nails. Finally, he ran across a Chinaman who was a professional nail maker. This man had no legs, so the soldiers carried him with them wherever they went. Of course, the man worked on the ground, and according to Gerkin, he was quite proficient.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 10/17/01 23:57:39 GMT

Compressed Air Forges: For those intent on using compressed air to fuel a forge, consider building an eductor - a high pressure nozzle in the throat of a venturi. A little like the opposite of a carburetor. Propane weed burners use a crude venturi (just a cylinder) to educt air into the gas stream to mix it before combustion. With the right size nozzle and the right size venturi you can move a lot of low pressure air (atmospheric air) with just a little high pressure air (from the compressor). Of course a novice blacksmith can make a pretty good venturi out of pipe and a top and bottom fuller.

If you have a blower, Champion used to make an air connection radially into a blower where the compressed air jet was used to spin the blower blades which then moved the air into the forge.
   Andy Martin - Wednesday, 10/17/01 23:59:28 GMT

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