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, 2002 on the Guru's Den
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Got the safety glasses today, thanks! Heck of a good deal and I'm impressed with the speed of delivery. I'm used to waiting a lot longer for things, living on the edge of the third world as I do. Thanks again.
   vicopper - Monday, 09/30/02 23:25:50 GMT

Dear Guru,
I do a lot of chain maile work, but don't always get good metal. It is sometimes soft tempered, and isn't good to put into a piece because it will break and fall off. I am wondering how I might improve the temper. I can get my hands on a variety of things, so I want to know how. I already know how to braize and weld, and that is about my extent besides weaving chain maile. Help me out will you?
   T.J. - Tuesday, 10/01/02 00:19:25 GMT

I have just constructed the REALLY STUPID GAS BURNER. That part is done. Now,I'm ready to build the forge. The brick that I have is 4 1/2x9x1 1/2. My idea is to build a metal box a 1/4 inch bigger than the size of the brick. My intent is to cement everthing together. I'm wanting to drill threw the metal box and firebrick, the same size of the pipe of the burner. On the box I would like to weld a floor flange so that I can screw on the pipework.

Now, to my question. Is this a good ideal or is there a better way?

I value any input on the constuction on this forge that I'm trying to build.

Knowledge is power use it wisely...
   shortbluesmurf - Tuesday, 10/01/02 01:12:54 GMT

First day of work with relined forge ,I was able to reduse the prssure from 15lb to 7lb and heating time seamed to be reduced about 20 to 25% . saved me time and time is money
Thanks again jojo
   jojo - Tuesday, 10/01/02 01:26:39 GMT

fans, blower motors, vacuume cleaner motors... when the fan has no restriction .. the motor pulls the most current, using more power...take a squirrell cage fan out of a furnace set in your shop..no restriction of duct ,vents, ect . causes motor to move more air..moving more air takes more power/ current...thus motor overheats tripping thermal overload in motor...so block off part of output vent untill current is at correct amperage .. what I am saying : a small squrrill cage blower is cheep add a dimmer control you are set... just my 2 cents worth...lobo
   jwolfe - Tuesday, 10/01/02 02:45:24 GMT

Brick Forge: Shorty-smurf, (blue is redundant, all smurf's are blue) you are best off NOT to cement the bricks. If you cement the bricks and you've done a bad forge design then you have wasted a lot of materials. AND refractory cement and bricks are expensive. Just stack the brick. I build a permanent base with angle iron frame, bar grating and bricks on edge. Then stack the bricks. When things don't work OR you need to fit in different size work just rearange the brick. After using the forge a bunch you will eventualy want to make it better but THEN you may know what you are doing and what you want.

Small forges with light weight insulation use sheet metal shells (up to 16ga) but when using brick or heavy refractory walls like in kilns you need a sustantial frame. 2 or 3" x 1/4" angle iron or heavier welded together is about right. The space between the frame corners can be filled with sheet metal.

Drill through the shell and the brick? Hope you have a diamond tipped hole saw. You leave a space in the brick for the pipe. 2" pipe fits quite well in a gap between bricks. If you want a good fit you can cement around the pipe with some refractory cement or stuff a little kaowool in the gaps.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/01/02 03:44:24 GMT

Far as drilling the brick goes, tungsten carbide masonry bit will do, Jock. But your point about leaving a hole and stuffing the corners with Kaowool is a good point and much easier than drilling a large hole.

I've drilled fire brick, and cut it as well, just using common masonry cutting tools. Be a good idea to wear a respirator when doing so, though I never did.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 10/01/02 03:54:05 GMT

TJ, Temper has little to do with metal quality and ultimate strength. Metal quality starts with where it is manufactured and how clean it is. Excess impurities cause brittleness, cracking and failure. But then how it is treated afterwards is also critical. Steel can be decarburized, improperly heat treated or dozens of other things.

You didn't say what you wanted steel for unless you are still talking about maile. A lot of steel wire is dead soft for a reason. It is very ductile and shouldn't break. But it will shear easier than harder steel and the softness often lets it be overworked. Much common steel wire is very low carbon (8 points and below). Under load it is not very strong. It is very close to the old wrought iron. You can also get music wire. This is normally SAE 1095 steel. This is very hard and high strength steel. It is used for tools, springs and musical instument strings. It must be fully annealed to cold work and you must be carefull when applying heat because it can be hardened to the point of being brittle like glass.

If you want good steel generaly the best thing to do is to purchase NEW steel of a known variety. There are numerous places on-line including here to buy small quantities of various types of steel. There are thousands of types and they all have their advantages and disadvantages and some are good for some applications but not for others. But is you use scrap or recycled steel you don't know what it is and only know that it was good for the application it was originaly used for. . . and then it may have been the cheapest possible material for the job.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/01/02 04:08:02 GMT

I'm trying to get started in blacksmithing but finding coal is a problem. However, we do have a cement plant close that burns enormous amounts of coke so I have an inexhaustable supply of this. Will using this coke work or should I go out of the way to find quality coal?
   Brent Parker - Tuesday, 10/01/02 05:11:51 GMT

Here in New Hampshire we are starting to have cold mornings (and afternoons). I'm running into the old problem of my 20lb propane tanks frosting. Right now, space and financial considerations prevent my getting a larger tank or a bank of 20 lb tanks. Has anyone tryed warming the tanks with something like heating tape or a magnetic engine block heater? Or some kind of evaporator like they use to convert liquid argon/nitrogen/oxygen to gas?
   Stephen G - Tuesday, 10/01/02 12:34:38 GMT

COKE: Brent, Coke like coal come in various grades. Generaly the heavy foundry coke is not suitable for use in a forge. AND, no matter what type of coke you use you MUST have a powered blower. Coke fires go out as soon as the air blast stops. So hand crank blowers and bellows are not suitable with coke. But it doesn't hurt to get a bucket full of the local coke and try it. But NEVER get more than a bucket full of an unknown fuel to test. Many smiths have 1 ton piles of various grades of coal taking up space on their lot. . .

Generaly you are better off ordering good coal or proper forging coke from Kayne and Sons and paying the shipping cost.

Many smiths travel hundreds of miles to obtain their coal. Join your local ABANA chapter. Many order coal in bulk and then resell to member's at cost. If not, someone in the group may have a large truck and be handling coal or know where you can obtain it.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/01/02 13:33:39 GMT

Cold Propane: Stephan, in the Great White North they use battery blankets to keep their propane cylinders warm. I've also known folks to wrap plumbing heat tapes around the cylinders and then wrap in insulation. In the South it is common to set the cylinder in a tank (big galvanized pan) of water (you actually need to clamp it down as it will float as the fuel is consumed). The water acts as a heat sink and will eventualy freeze or get near freezing. It make a great place to cool drinks. . .

Heating propane tanks can be very dangerous. IF over heated the valve has an overpressurization pop-off and gas will be released. I've had this happen from cylinders that were over filled that were setting in the back of my truck in the summer sun. . . Had two 30# tanks hissing noticably for about an hour. That is one reason cylinders should be stored outdoors in the shade, AND by code they are supposed to be 20 feet from a commercial structure and not immediately adjacent to any possible source of ignition.

If you heat your cylinder be sure it is OUTSIDE the shop and that the heater has a reliable thermostatic control.

I have two 30 pound cylinders that I manifolded together to run my big forge (equivalent to a six burner NC type). Starting from full they will only run it 4 hours before freezing up. After that the reduced fuel mass will only fire the forge for a couple hours at best which is not much considering it takes half an hour to 45 minutes to get up to temperature. A bigger tank is generally the best solution.

Valves, cylinders and equipment for handling liquid propane are different than what you use to handle gas. Hot air ballons operate on liquid fuel and use a coil of copper tubing around the flame to evaporate the fuel. This is essentialy the same technology used in rocket engines. Metal nozzels cannot withstand the heat so they are used as the heat sink for a network of evaporator tubes for the LOX and liquid hydrogen. Pretty tricky. . . Also very dangerous. NOT something for amatures to fool with.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/01/02 13:57:00 GMT

Wire for Mail: T.J. Tirnewydd??; most wire you get for mail is *not* tempered. Rather it is in various stages of work hardening-annealed. If the wire does not have enough carbon in it it cannot be hardened by heat treatment (except by case hardening as was described in the Boke of Natural Magic in the renaissance) this is a lot of trouble and most likely will result in unusable mail until you get the process down.

You can harden the wire by work hardening either by sending it around a set of pulleys that bend it back and forth---you need plastic deformation of the wire for it to work; or by hitting the rings on their sides with a hammer.

Or you can buy a carbon steel wire and look into heat treating. "The Best of the Hammer" has a section on heat treatment of mail. I would suggest you read it throughly.
(if Tirnewydd=Y then I can lend it to you...)

SKA wilelm the smith
   - Thomas Powers - Tuesday, 10/01/02 13:59:08 GMT

Frosty propane:
I'm running one of the mini mongo burners from Ron Riels site (thanks Ron it works great). In the summer when my garage is 80+ degrees, the tanks have a pressure of over 100 psi when full. In the winter, my garage is around freezing and the tanks start at 50 or so psi and that drops off very quickly. If the tanks are outside, without some kind of heating, I'm lucky to get 10 or 15 psi.

When the tanks get below about 1/4 full I've been laying them on their side to increase the area the propane has absorb heat. But as my shop is getting colder even that doesn't do much good. I'll try some experiments with heating tape (outdoors) and post the results.
   Stephen G - Tuesday, 10/01/02 14:25:17 GMT

Big propane tanks:
Stephen, I'm in NH, too. Have you contacted a propane service? I had a 100 gallon (not pound) tank installed for free. All I have to do is use up 1/2 a tank per year. The cost of propane through them (Amerigas) is cheaper than refilling the 20 lb'ers. And I won't run out on a Sunday evening.
   - Marc - Tuesday, 10/01/02 15:08:42 GMT

DO NOT! DO NOT Lay cylinders on their sides! Only cylinders that are designed for horizontal use should used horizontaly! If the temperature is above freezing a water tank heat sink will work. You could use anti-freeze to prevent freezing and the heat sink would be good down to -20°F or greater.

But be sure to cover the anti-freeze. Critters (pets and others) will drink it and die a horrible death. You will need to rinse the cylinder before having it refilled or exchanging it.

You could ALSO use heating tapes on the heat sink OR a cattle trough heater. Then you could use plain water. This is safer in several ways. No danger of overheating the cylinder and no toxic anti-freeze. You also have the advantage of the heat sink which is better than heating the cylinder and not using antifreeze means no sticky stuff to rinse off. . .

The heat sink is ALMOST comprable to a larger cylinder with the mass of the heat sink. The difference is the small loss of efficient conduction of the heat through the cylinder wall.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/01/02 15:28:18 GMT

Perhaps you're right Marc. Maybe it's time I admit to myself this is more than just a passing hobby and invest in some inferstructure.
   Stephen G - Tuesday, 10/01/02 15:35:34 GMT

hi. i,m looking for information about a champion blower forge. ithas a no. 401 stamped on it ,and a 1902 pantent.it is in good working condition and has all orignal parts. what i would like to know it,s value and also who would be interested in it. please/thank you
   john lomas - Tuesday, 10/01/02 15:55:39 GMT

Thank you Slag for your compliment on the Alex Weygers' website and your information about disclaimers,etc., and thank you also to Miles and Amy for your thoughtful info as well. Yes Alex was sued over a project in one of his books, which was baseless. However after several years of anxiety his health began to suffer. After the court declaired that the case was in fact baseless he recovered from his illness.
   Peter Partch - Tuesday, 10/01/02 16:26:31 GMT

Hi guruI'm putting a hood over my forge will a 6 inch pipe work thanx Cy
   Cy swan - Tuesday, 10/01/02 17:16:32 GMT

I am looking for a lipped adze, and fould a reference here to someone called nakedanvil that used to make them. I would appreciate any information on how to fine him or anyone else currently making a lipped adze. I am in Charleston Sc.
   Joe Gorman - Tuesday, 10/01/02 17:17:51 GMT

The 15 lb. 99c Ebay Anvil Well. . . with shipping it is a $20 doorstop that cost more than $1/lb. It is a cast iron Chinese door stop with no ring and no rebound. The seller just outright lied about it. Sure, send it back, but shipping is not refundable and that was most of the cost.

I suspected the above but thought I would give it a try and wanted to keep the shysters honest. . . I'll bet he has a case of them to sell.

Anyone need a doorstop? Its an ugly one too. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/01/02 17:40:49 GMT

Joe, Nakedanvil = Grant Sarver of Off Center Tools. Visits here occasionaly but is hard to contact by e-mail.

Stack Cy, Thats way too small. You need 10" diameter minimum. I've used 8" x 20' and THAT was too small.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/01/02 17:44:48 GMT

Trying to locate an old vise, VANDERMAN, or such to mount on a stump or steel table in the yard. Chinese imports are to prone to rust and wont take a good lick
   jerry gwynne - Tuesday, 10/01/02 19:15:54 GMT

looking for the small lower helical gear for a 14" Buffalo Forge Co blower. All other parts are good, just need this gear, it's worn OUT. Any idea where I can find one ??
   Rodney Dunn - Tuesday, 10/01/02 19:30:40 GMT

Check it out.

   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 10/01/02 20:18:12 GMT

oooooo, and it comes with a bucket of shiny anthracite. Wow. . .;-)}
   Escher - Tuesday, 10/01/02 21:43:51 GMT

Kinda looks like a sloppy weld bead under the heal of that anvil, Paw-Paw. Guru: Confucius say "one born every minute"....Bracksmif, that is.
   Quenchcrack - Tuesday, 10/01/02 21:47:00 GMT

Vises: Jerry, All vises rust old and new. Bench vises, even the super heavy chipping vises are not designed to be hammered on like a blacksmiths vise. One of the nicer vises I have, a big Prentiss, was given to me because it had been abused (the movable jaw arm used as an anvil) and it had rusted to where it could not be operated. Lots of creative mechanicing went into freeing it up without damaging it.

There are two types of vise suitable for smithing, blacksmith's leg or "solid box" vises and forged steel bench vises. Both are designed to take considerable pounding but are not indestructable. Kayne and Son currently sell the best priced new leg vise that has been available for many years. Peddinghaus makes forged steel bench vises and many are found on utility truck bumpers. They are not quite as handy as a leg vise but they are very sturdy.

If I was going to leave a vise outdoors to rust I would pick a cheap import. But even then, if you expect it to work you need clean and to oil it occasionaly.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/01/02 22:04:00 GMT

Ebay collection. . . hard to tell. The entire base of that anvil has been ground on a LOT. It looks like it may be a sculptured replacement base. The vise is missing the original bench bracket. The forge has recently been gotten running but not all the bearings have been oiled. . . This stuff is all obviously someone's collection and from the description they don't know much about what they have. Starting price is top market price and I'll bet it goes for more than its worth. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/01/02 22:29:16 GMT

john lomas, i have my eye on a blower with the same date. it is a champion, crank obviously, but there is something unusual about it. i am certainly far from an expert on blowers, but i have never seen the blower (fan, impeller) oriented below and a right angle to the drive gears.i am told that the gears are pristine and the unit blows like crazy (EZ now). i have seen the centaur hand crank blower. it is expensive and not nearly as cool as this old champion. i also would like to know what a good example is going for. any comments from the guru(s) are much appreciated.

guru, some time ago you advised me on an old leg vise. took your advise and had the jaw faces milled smooth at an angle. i am very proud of this piece. thanks again...
   - rugg - Wednesday, 10/02/02 00:13:12 GMT

May not go at all, no bids on it yet. I finally got the pictures to come up enlarged, hadn't been able to get that to work this afternoon, for some reason. That is a mighty rough looking weld bead under the heel of the anvil. But give missjulied a small break, she doesn't sound like a blacksmith to me. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/02/02 00:38:51 GMT

I built a forge from a propane bottle to hotshoe horses. It has a 2 1/2" stove pipe. The blower pipe is below the ducknest and is 1 1/2" dia. The ducknest has appx. 35 holes drilled in the bottom. The blower pipe extends 2" into the forge. PROBLEM: The coal is not getting hot enough. The coal comes from a mine in SW Missouri. Do I need to direct the air directly under and up through the center of the ducknest?
   R. D. STURDY - Wednesday, 10/02/02 01:33:14 GMT

R.D. See the Brake Drum forge on our plans page. Although many forges use the holes in pipe tuyere it is a lousy design. It doesn't let through enough air, clogs too fast and burns out rapidly. Side blown forges just use an open pipe. Bottom blown forges usualy have some type of grate or a "clinker breaker" that reduces the opening. However, the reduced opening is still sizable. You are better off with an open hole where you lose some coal than something that clogs rapidly.

Coal can also be a huge problem. There are thousands of grades of coal and the majority are not very good for smithing. If you do not know good coal from bad, order a bag from Kayne and Sons. Then you will have some of the best to compare to. It will also tell you if the forge is the problem.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/02/02 06:47:41 GMT

Old Blowers (any brand): All the old blacksmith blowers had custom gears and Champions had custom bearings as well as gears. If one gear is worn both need to be replaced. You measure worn out gears in fractions of thouthanths of an inch. Wear you cannot see will cause gears to roar and shortly after they start to make noise they degrade VERY rapidly.

There are no replacement gear parts for old blowers. If you have a good one keep it clean and oiled well (every time it is used). These old devices had no seals and the oil leaks out quickly. Oil, oil, oil. . .

Sorry for the bad news.

In good condition old blowers are selling from $100 to $200 US. If in good condition they are worth more than current market price. They were made to last a very long time and there is no current device of equal quality. To manufacture a blower of the same quality as the Champion 400 today it would cost roughly $1800 to make, even in production quantities).
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/02/02 07:09:14 GMT

How do you heat treat 420v .at what temp do I heat treat and what temp do I draw it back at .Thanks Rick
   Rick H - Wednesday, 10/02/02 13:15:06 GMT

guru, you stated that wear is measured " fractions of thousands of an inch" i am somewhat confused by this. the blower that i hope to obtain does whine abit, not loud. the piece appears to be "tight".
questions for guru(s)
1)favorite steel for decorative forging (1018 CR, 1020HR, A36??)
2)centaur coal, recommend??
3)instructions for posting pictures on gurus's den? i am a novice web guy. would be cool to post some pix with questions/comments.

BTW, i have had huge problems with viruses that gained access via outlook express, even though i dont use it. i would include e-mail, but with all the problems you have had also, ill keep that out of the equation.

thanks again, you guys are great..

   - rugg - Wednesday, 10/02/02 16:25:57 GMT


Steel = 1018 HR for most decorative work.
Centaur Coal = Good Coal. Centaur seems to be having some problems, so let me mention that Kayne and Son also sell a high quality coal. And Kayne and Son advertise here on anvilfire, which helps to keep this site afloat.

Pictures = Currently there is no way to post pictures on anvilfire. I've got an idea that I'm still thinking my way through and I need to talk to the guru before I do anything about it.

Viruses = There are ways to turn off Interned Exploder and Outhouse Express so that they no longer contribute to the problems on a local system. But I don't know what they are.

Finally, CSI is a support group that also helps keep anvilfire going, and we always welcome new members. There's a link at the bottom of the page with the information. For the price of a weekly cup of coffee, you can be a member. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/02/02 16:33:40 GMT

I thought this was in the FAQ, I know it´s come up before, and me or my computer is to dumb to do a proper search of the archives, but anyway, here goes..

I´ll be building a smithy more or less from scratch ( just bought an old farmhouse with barn and 2 acres of hardwood forest, and it was cheap too...) and thought I should try for a non-sidedraft solution to getting the smoke out. When I tried this years ago I used much to small diameter pipe, now I´m thinking an outlet like a small elevator-shaft, but what would be the optimum size? Is bigger always better?
   Olle Andersson - Wednesday, 10/02/02 16:45:47 GMT

Rugg, The steels you listed are almost equivalent for forging. All are classed "mild steel". In most cases SAE 1018-1020 is available only as cold drawn and most hot roll is A-36. You buy what is cheapest for decorative work unless you seriously need wrought or pure iron.

Gear trains have some normaly noise such as the whine you describe but when it becomes a growl or a roar then even if it seems tight the end is near. A little Never-Seize in the gear box will help a lot but it is messy stuff.

You can delete Outlook Express from your system. Then get a copy of Eudora Lite for mail (its free). It doesn't auto launch viruses and most viruses do not use its address book to spread. However, IF you choose to click on that "freelove.scr" screensaver its your own tough luck. . . All browser based mail is problematic.

Stacks: Olle, many years ago they used to use giant open stacks over forges and fireplaces but you lose a LOT of shop air and a lot of weather (rain and snow) can come in through the big open stacks. These types are illustrated in Diderot's. Bigger is better up to a point. Overhead supported forge hoods need an 18-24" dia. stack.

Small properly designed stacks move only the needed smoke and air so that it is possible to heat your shop in cold weather.

I'm sure there are some mathematical methods for determining this but I have yet to find them. Part of the problem is determining the volume you need to exhaust. So for small or typical forges everyone just does what seems to work for the other guy. This is 10" and 12" (245mm to 305mm) diameter pipe or up to a 14" (~350mm) square chimney.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/02/02 17:11:49 GMT

My hood is of conventional design and I use a 10" dia. Pipe that is 15 feet long. Once the hot air starts going through it, it works great. I use a propane "weed burner" to get the fire started. Yes I know how to use newspaper to start the forge but the burner gives the instant volume of heat up the stack to get a good draft going. Unless there is a fair wind blowing through the shop, I have little problem with smoke.
   BenThar - Wednesday, 10/02/02 17:22:23 GMT

Anyone going to the hammer-in at the frontier museum in Staunton Va. on 19 Oct?
   robcostello - Wednesday, 10/02/02 18:34:10 GMT

Rick you have to tell *WHAT* you want to end up with to get heat treat suggestions, otherwise you could get anything from normalizing, annealing, spring temper, or glass hard and brittle---so are you trying to make a blade or a spoon? A spring or a spitoon?

Thomas the devil is in the details
   - Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 10/02/02 20:02:58 GMT

Staunton, VA: Rob, I'm planning on going as long as my wheels are still turning. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/02/02 21:36:49 GMT

Good evening,
I have an analysis report that was done on some smithing coal that the Co. I work for [a hardware store chain in New England] may be willing to make available in it's stores. Who amongts you can tell me the worthiness of this coal from this report. I can scan and e-mail or send the facts and figures on this forum. The availability of smithing coal in the small town hardware store may be a convenience to some and save many of us miles of travel.
Thanks. e-mail to dilligaf@net1plus.com
   Harley - Wednesday, 10/02/02 22:42:05 GMT

Guru, aside from owing you our thanks for checking out the $20 cast iron door stop, let me remind you of one of the basic truths of Smithing: A man can never have too many anvils. Ok, so lets not split hairs and include ASO's!
   Quenchcrack - Wednesday, 10/02/02 23:03:35 GMT

Good Coal: Here is an example from the Penn State coal sample database on our links page.

Seam : Pocahontas No. 3,
Type : Low Volitile Bituminous (lvb)
State: WV
Ash : 7.44%
Sulfur: 0.64%
BTU :14542
Volitile : 15.70%
Carbon: 92.42%
Reflectance: 1.85

Pocahontas No. 3 in Virginia has 15,006 BTU. AND another Pocahontas in West Virginia is 13,953. Not all Pocahontas coal is the same. . . But these are the best and something to compare to.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/02/02 23:25:04 GMT

Jock's point that not all Pocahontas coal is the same is very valid.

A little history:

Pocahontas is the name of a seam of coal. NOT of a coal mine. The seam runs from somewhere in Kentucky (I think) through West Virginia and ends near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. I for get how many different mines tap the Pocahontas seam, seems like it was about 30 or 40, but don't hold me to that.

NTech may be able to answer that for us.

The coal coming from each mine may be dramatically different, and sometimes even the coal from the same mine, but from different DAYS may be different. Again, if I remember correctly, Pocahontas #15 is among the more consistent.

NTech, please check this for accuracy, and correct as necessary.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/02/02 23:47:06 GMT

Ebay Door Stop. . I would have been happy if it had been a dead soft low carbon steel casting. My initial rebound test was a gentle tap from a 16oz carpenter's hammer that had a very nice smooth radiused face (dropped it about 4"). That put a mark in the only good feature of the ASO, the surface ground face. That is softer cast iron than most machine tools or swage blocks are made of. . . REAL soft.

Unlike your Russian anvil that you might be able to get your money out of, this one was not worth the shipping (which is how the scoundrel is making his money). I'll photograph it and put it in the gallery of "don't buys". Maybe I can donate it to an iron smelt later. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 10/03/02 00:04:38 GMT

Kaowool: By popular request we now have 1/2" Kaowool in the store and in stock. However, due to the perplexities of the Universe it is higher priced than the 1". The primary reason is demand. It costs my supplier more and he charges me more and so. . . I must charge you more.

But if you MUST have 1/2" Kaowool to fit an existing space then we DO have it and you can order it by the foot, partial carton or full carton (24" x 25 feet or 300 inches).
   - guru - Thursday, 10/03/02 00:19:29 GMT

I've some wrought iron do you know of any place I could find how much it's worth? I have just over 400lbs in varying lenghts from 14' to 5' 1"x 1" 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" & 1"x 2 1/2". I"ve taken a peice and cut with a hacksaw and bent it until it started to break. It was breaking in layers lenght ways. Any info would be great!
Dwight Mitchell
   Dwight Mitchell - Thursday, 10/03/02 02:07:25 GMT

I have been asked to make a weathervane, something I have not done before and was wondering what method is favoured for the pivot of the vane.
   Richard J. Westwood - Thursday, 10/03/02 04:07:10 GMT

What is the mine # of the pocahontas coal co. in W.V. listed in the coal scuttle? I picked up 1000 lbs of their coal in middle Pa today. $8.00/ 100 lb.
   - Pete-Raven - Thursday, 10/03/02 04:21:07 GMT


NTech is going to do some phone calling tomorrow, see if he can pin down some of the mine numbers and verify the accuracy of my post, at my request. it's been over fifty years since I lived in WVa, and I've only visited a few times. Although I've done a lot of reading about the state, my memory is a little hazy, so I wanted a double check from some one a little closer to the scene. And NTech is right in the middle of the state.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/03/02 04:38:53 GMT

Any horseshoers out there who shoe the "long-toed" ones? EBay has a nice leather cutter offering: # 1772690366. It's similar to the Duval Pad Cutter, but old.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 10/03/02 04:57:02 GMT

Wrought Iron: Dwight, There are many grades of wrought iron ranging from what is known as "muck bar" to tripple refined. For the past five years or so good wrought has been selling for around $1/pound. Small convienient bar sizes (1/2" to 3/4") are becoming quite rare and sell for considerably more.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/03/02 14:13:26 GMT

I know you have discussed this before, but I didn't pay attention. I was given an anvil last night by a horse shoeing customer, and wanted to know what you could tell me about it. Hay Budden Manufacturing Co, Rochester NY. It is 120 lb or so. Has a 1" hardy hole. In the base, on the bottom side is a 1"x1" hole that seems to taper up in the base for 2". On the heel side, abouty 3 1/2" up from the base in a 3/4X3/4" hole tapering in for 3/4". On the horn side is a corresponding hole 3/4x3/4" only tapering in for about 1 1/2"; to the anvils right side of this hole is a casted number 6; and on the base plate is a stamped 131415. Under the stamped identification material seems to be a 1 2 0. The face is pretty good, one small pit and one chipped edge. The horn point has been flattened a little and the horn itself looks like someone has put a pipe wrench on it. The overall appearance below the working parts is pretty rough hewn looking.
Any help you can give me about this old anvil will be greatly appreciated.

   Nolan - Thursday, 10/03/02 14:28:57 GMT

Guru I came across a leg vice yesturday at a flee market for 48.00.Since I am relitivly new to blacksmithing, I didnt buy it because i had some questions needed to ask first. Please excuse my ignorance when I am trying to explain this vice, like I said im new. It was in great shape, surface rust only not bent or beat up, but the spring was missing, and the two bellshaped threaded fittings that go into each side of the lower jaws were rusted tight onto the threaded shaft. I couldent make out the name on it but I did see a star, maybe a star of david under some lettering. Also the two bell shaped fittings that are locked onto the shaft slide in and out of both sides of the post. Does it sound like it can be fixed up , and does it sound lik a fair price.Thanks Jeff
   jeffw - Thursday, 10/03/02 14:41:03 GMT


I wish I always had that much information to work with! (grin)

Hay Budden is probably the best anvil manufactured here in the US although several others came close. Using the serial number for reference (131415) tells us that it was manufactured in 1907.

The holes under the horn and heel are handling holes. During the manufacturing process, bars known as porter bars were set in those holes to move the hot anvil around.

The 120 under the log is the manufactured weight of the anvil.

You can use an angle grinder to clean up the horn, or a file. I'd leave the face alone, it sounds like it's in good shape. Might polish it with a sanding belt.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/03/02 15:28:32 GMT

previous message, log should be logo
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/03/02 15:29:09 GMT

i am trying to make a good fish gig.i am using A36 plate cut with a plasma cutter. i need to know the best tempertures for hardening and tempering and time tables for the processes, also will water be a good quench.i am so tired of buying gigs that bend when i hit a rock or loose the edge too easily. please help
   john mcwaters - Thursday, 10/03/02 15:41:27 GMT

John, A36 plate is "mild steel" and is not considered hardenable or heat treatable.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/03/02 16:02:35 GMT

Vise: Jeffw, That is a great price (in North America) if the screw is in working condition. The "bell shaped" fittings are the nut and the screw shoulder. The screw shoulder should be one piece with the screw. Sometimes they were seperate pieces forge welded to the screw and may show crevices that appear to make them loose pieces.

There are just a few known brands of leg or "solid box" vises. Most are unmarked. The majority were made by the same folks that made anvils and are made of the same materials.

Run the screw in and out. TIGHTEN IT. Sometimes they wear to the point that they will "pop" or act stripped. If the screw is not in working condition the vise is worth very little.

The spring is a simple leaf spring and it seems they are always missing. The reason is that they are a losse piece when the bench bracket is removed. I have a feeling many bench brackets were left attached to benches (blacksmiths tend to use BIG screws and rivet the ends). Loose pieces get lost. We have several discriptions of springs on this page and one as recent a the past week or so.

Vises in working condition with all the parts sell for well over $100 but usualy under $200 unless very large or exceptional specimens. However, they are worth a GREAT deal more as tools and sell for 4 to 10 times more new.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/03/02 16:16:51 GMT

Weather Vane Pivot: A lot depends on the size and style of vane. The easiest is also the best and is very durable. For common sized vanes I use a piece of 1/4" schedule 40 pipe about 6 to 8" long and a 5/16" rod. Plug the end of the pipe with a piece of steel with a flat end OR an end with a dished center. Point the rod with not too sharp (a 1/16" flat is fine). With a little grease this will make a very sensitive friction free bearing to build the vane on. The pipe will be just loose enough a fit that you can weld pieces to it without hurting the bearing.

Recently we had a discussion about a sheet metal Eagle weather vane and the possibility that it would fly off such a pivot. . . It is very possible. In this case there needs to be a good bearing at the base and a retainer nut on the top of the rod. When bearing diameter goes up so does friction. So in this case a ball thrust bearing is used at the base. You want a shielded (not sealed) stainless steel bearing. Seals have too much friction. You will need to design the bottom of the tube to cover the bearing acting as a weather shield and to support the tube on the outer race. The inner race will just set on a shoulder on the bar.

The most important thing about a weather vane is BALANCE! Most people understand the aerodynamic imbalance that makes them point in the right direction (big end down wind). But to be sensitive the vane must be mechanicaly balanced. To do this you need to build in some adjustable counterweight.

On the vanes I have made the arrow was fairly heavy (cut from 1/2" steel) and the length was adjustable so that I could balance the wing or sail. To balance you turn the vane pivot horizontaly and then turn the vane so that it is level left to right. If it stays in that position OR any position it it put into, then it is balanced. Adjust the counterweight as needed.

A good sensitive weather vane is perfectly balanced mechanicaly, imbalanced aerodynamicaly as much as possible and rests on a low friction bearing. It should turn in breezes that you cannot normaly detect.

AND a repeated word of advise. The LEAST interesting part of making a weather vane is making the letter markers and roof bracket. Make THEM FIRST! Otherwise the tendancey is to not do as good a job on them as the rest of the vane which is usualy the fun or interesting part.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/03/02 16:38:18 GMT

Ok, about blower noise and oiling. I bought a Champion hand crank several months ago and it is cast aluminum. There is no oil fill hole in the case. I took the front plate off to inspect the gears and they were packed with grease. There is a screw to adjust the fit of one of the gears on the outside of the case, but no hole for oil. It works well and moves plenty of air, but sometimes is a little on the noisy side, Then that adj. screw needs to be fooled with. Anyone out there with experience with this type? Should I drill an oil fill hole? OK, so I'm paranoid.
   Gronk - Thursday, 10/03/02 16:44:52 GMT

Thanks for the info on the Hay Budden Anvil!!
Upon closer inspection, I think the very tip of the horn may have been broken off. I am going to dress the horn down a little with a file and sander, and probably the face with a sander. Can't wait to get to using it; gonna have to build a new stand though. Any idea what one of these is worth, ball park figures.

Thanks again!!

   Nolan - Thursday, 10/03/02 17:29:59 GMT

in reference to the fish gig,
what material would you suggest?
i have some grade 50 plate also,if i used it how would i do the treatment?
   john mcwaters - Thursday, 10/03/02 17:48:37 GMT


I'd go with the mild steel. You can still sharpen it, and it would bend, rather than break. What's bent can be straightened.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/03/02 18:55:29 GMT

   john mcwaters - Thursday, 10/03/02 19:31:48 GMT

Aluminium Case Champion Gronk, that is a rare item. It is not a blacksmiths blower, it's a bomb shelter ventilation blower. Thousands were made in the late 1950's and early 1960's during the big cold war tensions between the US and Russia and the Cuban Missle Crisis. At the time daily PSA's ran on television describing how to build a home bomb shelter. That was followed by a picture of Khrushchev pounding his shoe on the table at the UN yelling "We will bury you!" then a picture of a roiling mushroom cloud. That was often followed by a film on "duck and cover" for when you were in school. . . AH. . . the 50's, the GOOD OLD days. . . And paranoid (at least policaly) was the KEY word. . . People wonder why a large part of the generation that grew up watching that crap became anti-war activists, flag and draft card burners and protesters in general.

At the time you could get a tax write off or credit if you built an approved home shelter. This had to include a manual forced air ventilation system. For a brief period the old makers of blacksmith's blowers were called upon to provide cheap economical hand crank blowers. They had light weight housings, plastic gears and were permanently lubricated. They didn't need to last long. A bomb shelter was supposed to be stocked and equiped for two weeks.

The last time I heard of these was back in the late 1970's. Someone had a cache of them they were selling as forge blowers. . . they are not.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/03/02 19:56:53 GMT

Stack design: Everything you need to know about mathematical hood and duct design is in a book called Industrial Ventilation. My 18th edition is Library of Congress Card Number 62-12929. There is a table of “stack effect” numbers in Marks' Standard Handbook for Mechanical Engineers. 8th edition is ISBN 0-07-004123-7 . (most metal workers would find Marks' Handbook almost as useful as Machinery’s Handbook) Between the two, you can calculate stacks and hoods to your hearts content.

These are not easy calculations until you have done them a bunch of times. I also suggest doing what the other guy has success with and scaling as necessary. Just don’t waste your time with a “smoke shelf”. Search the archives for arguments for and against them.

Also search for “stack effect”, “stack”. And use a “low loss” stack cap (defined in the archives) and not a “coolie cap” hat shaped stack cap. 250 cfm (cubic feet per minute) per square foot of stack opening at the fire would be a minimum face velocity for a side draft. I’d be designing closer to 350 cfm/sq ft if you decide you like to crank numbers. A hinged “door” at the top of a side draft opening helps direct the air into the side draft opening and can be swung up out of the way when necessary. Olle, I know you said you were thinking non side draft, but that does seem the most popular. An “elevator shaft” or straight stack coming down next to the fire is sort of like a side draft, but with a little less pressure loss. Hot air rising up the stack is less dense that the surrounding shop air and the outside air and creates the pressure required to get the air to go up. Reducing the pressure drop in the exhaust system (bigger pipe with less elbows) and having hotter gasses going up the stack will both increase flow up the stack. If the pressure drop resisting the flow is greater than what the stack effect of less dense gasses can overcome, no air will go up the stack. The fact that an overhead hood cools the stack gasses with lots of dilution air is why they don’t work as well as a close fitting overhead or side draft.
   - Tony - Thursday, 10/03/02 20:41:26 GMT

Ebay ASO's
99 cent ebay ASO

The seller that sold me the 99 cent ASO (above) with $19 shipping has a half dozen other AS0's for sale ranging from the item above to badly cast copies of the Russian 50Kg anvil we recently reported on. All are misrepresented as this one was. Besides using "Professional" and "Heavy Duty" it was described as having "great ring and "awesome hammer rebound". It has neither. In fact it is even missing the "two square holes" described. . .

The two dings in the detail (one near center and one at 2 o'clock) were made by gently tapping with a 16oz. carpenters hammer. The other marks are slag inclusions at the surface.

This is not unusual for an ASO. The problem is that the seller is using carefully crafted words that are used to describe good steel anvils to describe a useless lump of iron. And in this case the "non-refundable" shipping was jacked up to create a profit.

Buyers beware!
   - guru - Thursday, 10/03/02 20:46:27 GMT

Guru, I was going to suggest that you sponsor a contest to find the worst anvil in America. However, you seem to have won that contest handily. Thanks for your efforts to keep us from falling for such unscrupulous vendors advertising. I think you can actually file a complaint on people like this with E-bay. You probably won't get any money back but you might play havoc with his future business.
   Quenchcrack - Thursday, 10/03/02 21:50:21 GMT

Jock, you can also leave negative feedback, which has a definite effect on the seller's business.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/03/02 23:47:44 GMT

Guru /// A. S. O. /// E-Bay /// Fraud
PawPaw is right you can leave negative feedback. But there is something else thst can be done that may have more effect.
I believe that the Guru wrote that the anvil was grossly misdescribed. That is fraud and there is a department, at E-Bay, that concerns itself with fraud. They may agree that there was serious "material" misdescription, and may throw the seller off the site.
   slag - Friday, 10/04/02 00:10:15 GMT

paw paw, took your advise and submitted CSI membership. thanks for the response.
   - rugg - Friday, 10/04/02 00:41:01 GMT

paw paw, took your advise and submitted CSI membership. thanks for the response.
   - rugg - Friday, 10/04/02 00:41:23 GMT


Great! Welcome to the family!
   Paw Paw - Friday, 10/04/02 00:54:38 GMT

eBay Dealer and fraud I wrote a rather pointed letter to the dealer and noted that WE are watching and I suggested that the descriptions be changed. If I do not get a response or the descriptions don't change then I'll pursue other avenues. . .

Contest The anvil contest *I* would like to see is "Most Beautiful or The Best Fantasy Anvil". Good old fashioned sculpture in iron. The problem is comming up with a worthwhile prize AND. . . I'd love to take part so it would be difficult to be the sponsor.
   - guru - Friday, 10/04/02 01:18:38 GMT

Rugg, unless you mailed the CSI app then something went wrong. . .
   - guru - Friday, 10/04/02 01:25:12 GMT

Is there a commercially available substitute for the oil port on a champion blower. I have two 400 blowers which are either missing this part or it is badly damaged. Also,I was wondering if the CD of the Champion co. has detailed information such as an assembly drawing of the 400 blower which could help me with my restoration of these fine tools.

thank you

   chris smith - Friday, 10/04/02 01:40:28 GMT

Where can I find places to buy large amounts of steel.also where can I get information on techniques for making medieval armor.
   Patrick Wilshire - Friday, 10/04/02 01:40:41 GMT

By the way I live in Pennsylvania and I am a beginner blacksmith. I just finished building may forge and I have started making tools.
   Patrick Wilshire - Friday, 10/04/02 01:51:56 GMT

Patrick -

While I'm not yet a member of CSI (I'm saving! Half there!) and I am certianly not the Guru, I can make a few suggestions on this one.

HPL is the scrounge king, and we've dug steel out of some VERY unlikely places (a river under a train bridge, for example) and hands down the EASIEST way to find vast amounts of steel... open your yellow pages. When we opened ours, we found a business a mere 10 minutes down the road that dealt in the buying and selling of "scrap steel".. one man's trash and all that. You'd be surprised how many of these places are out there, and how nice they can get when you start buying in bulk.

Many of these places (ours included) sell new steel as well as "trash" and the more reliable ones (I'm told, ours can't) will even have charts showing the carbon and alloy elements of their "new" steel. Very handy, wish I could find one.

Not in the mood to pay? Ask around your local colleges and look for welding schools, both college affilaited and not (Apprentice Welder is an TN example that comes to mind). Many of these places have a big dumpster full of "scrap" out back that can be useful, and most do not get very much for the scrap (if anything at all), and would be willing to give some to you. Though it might not be good for selling (as you can't positively identify the steel) it is great for practice, if you can convince the place to let you have some steel from their trash bin. (Ask first. Having the dogs turned on you over a piece of mild steel isn't worth it!)

Armor making? Search on the internet. It's such a wonderful resource! Organizations like the SCA (Society for Creative Anacronism) Make their own armor, and are usually surprisingly period, and even more surprisingly helpful toward young blacksmiths (Probably because they want the smith to make them period armor at discount prices.) Other reenacting groups often have the same helpful nature, and some LARP (Live Action Role Play) Groups will even PAY you to come to their games and put on demos. www.legionxxiv.org is a reenacting group and they have some roman armor detailed. The Cambridge Lorica there was my first piece of armor. Made from an aluminum road sign (I paid for it!) and an old leather vest. A good starter project, I think. If you like, you can email me and I'll send you some links to sites that I'm using to learn from (won't post them here because there are just sooooo many of them.) I have some maille making resources as well. That's HPL's latest kick, is training the more patient amoung us to weave chainmail. Not sure if that interests you.

Also.. there's an armory section to Anvilfire!

Guru etal will probably have more to add to this.. but I spent the last 3 years in a Tennessee wide search for cheap and abundant steel and armor making resources, and that's what I found! It's good to actually think I know the answer to a question on the Guru's board...

Robert "Asgard"
HPL Steele
Long winded as ever.

I have a cousin in PA who works on leather armor.. says that in the more "scenic" areas of the state leather is cheap and easy to find. I'll take his word for it. Way I look at it, if the leather is such good armor, how come the cow's dead, hrm? Bet we wouldn't eat cows if they were steel-clad.

That's enough babble from me. I'll let the pros take it from here.
   Robert "Asgard" - Friday, 10/04/02 05:19:37 GMT

As well as our Armoury here at Anvilfire (a work in progress, of course) you might try the Armour Archive at www.armourarchive.org There are some good tutorials and links there, too.

The complexities of armor, along with the expense in time and equipment, increase throughout the middle ages. Early medieval arms and armor or usually within the skills of the minimally competent. A full set of plate, meant for the ruling class in the later periods, require a large investment of time, materials, skills and tools. About the only place we come out ahead in the 21st century is plentiful, cheap, consistent grades and thickness of steel. We routinely throw out scrap that medieval smiths and armorers would have routinely hoarded. (Of course 400 years ago porcelain was considered "white gold" by the Europeans, whereas we use it in the rest room for the most humble of uses.)

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 10/04/02 12:36:30 GMT

Guru; *owning* the best fantasy anvil is reward enough! I'm still trying to get copies made of a few medieval anvils---like the cutler's anvil on display at the Deutsches Klingen Museum in Solingen, I'd love to have one of that massive armourer's anvil with the figured base. We have a local steel casting co that pours a decent alloy but they are not set up for one offs....

   - Thomas Powers - Friday, 10/04/02 12:49:54 GMT

you forget the cow is wearing skin... (smile) and not a piece of harded leather....
   Ralph - Friday, 10/04/02 13:14:45 GMT

Even boiled leather armor won't stop a bullet.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 10/04/02 14:09:34 GMT

PPW true, but it will deflect many other type of things.....

Anyhoo it is sorta like the old adage " Never take a knife to a gunfight" (grin)
What I think is amazing is that the Mongols used a padded silk armour that stopped arrows.
   Ralph - Friday, 10/04/02 14:13:55 GMT

Well, IIRC they got that armour from the Chinese.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 10/04/02 14:40:41 GMT

Oil Port: Chris, The pull cap oilers may be available. A surprisingly large number of odd items like these are still available. However, they are often not available in the original brass. I have a box full (100 or so) different oilers and old fashioned grease cups.

Try www.lubedevices.com look under "grease cup /filler devices"

Then there is www.essexbrass.com. Under grease and oil cup they have a plain brass oil cup that looks like the ticket. . . :) This LOOKS similar but I do not have a close up picture.

No telling how many you have to purchase to deal with these folks.

Champion CD: Yes it has a 3D transparent assembly drawing. It also has the patents which have much better assembly drawings. However, patent drawings can be symbolic in nature, not true to scale and not necessarily accurate to the production device. BUT, since these are, I believe, design patents (not a basic device) the drawings appear to be pretty accurate.

The patent drawings cover many details of the bearing and gear adjustments that are not obvious. The bearing play and worm gear alignment are adjustable and can be REALLY screwed up if you do not understand what is going on and how gears should operate.
   - guru - Friday, 10/04/02 14:47:30 GMT

Next time you are down here, I need you to take a look at the blower assembly on my Buffalo blower for the big forge.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 10/04/02 14:55:36 GMT

Large Amounts of Steel: Patrick, let your fingers do the walking. . . You buy steel from a "Steel Service Center" or steel supply wharehouse. How many TONS do you want? Most steel service centers carry everything from 1/4" square CF bar and up to 6" steel plate. They have cutting services and most have automated torch systems that can cut a gear or a kangaroo from steel plate of any thickness.

Most have minimum purchases and will not cut steel unless you have an account or prepay. Thats life.

You can also order on-line many types metals from us (see our On-line metals store) or from folks like McMaster-Carr.

Occasionaly welding shops and machine shops will sell bar stock but expect to pay a premium for dealing with someone that deals in small amounts.

THEN, as HPLsteel pointed out. The world is full of scrap.

But for doing armor work you will find that you probably need to purchase plate NEW. If it were me I would produce CAD drawings of the shapes I needed and have the plate cut by someone with a computer driven laser or plasma torch. Handling a 130 pound sheet of plate (48x96x.1") alone in a small shop is a REAL pain and can be dangerous.

   - guru - Friday, 10/04/02 15:04:18 GMT

well, it didn't exactly stop them, it slowed them down quite a bit and wrapped itself around the arrowhead as it entered the body, so removal could be done with minimal damage to the body. And that was just a loose silk shirt underneath their heavier canvas or leather jerkin-like thing. Often as not, it was the removal of the arrow and infection in the wound that killed.
   Escher - Friday, 10/04/02 15:20:45 GMT

wow, that posted later than anticipated -- the comment referred to the mongols and silk . . .
   Escher - Friday, 10/04/02 15:25:20 GMT

Ebay ASO Dealer Reply: "we will make the appropriate changes necessary we are sorry you had a negative experience".

No offer of a refund or a "gee I don't really know about anvils". . .

We will see. I'll give until Monday.
   - guru - Friday, 10/04/02 15:35:51 GMT

Leather /// Armour
Advanced polymers like DuPont's Kevlar (polyaramid fiber)will stop many caliber bullets. The fiber is very strong and essentially stops the projectile and also spreads much of the bullet's enregy to a larger surface area, thus dissipating the power of penetration. (that is lateral spread). But it will not stop penetration of a sharp pointed weapon. Presently, the best substance (for stopping sharp penetrants) is leather. (it has been used, since ancient times, for that express purpose). The reason leather can do that, is that the fibers are tangled and extensively cross-linked. (far more than any man-made polymer. The cross linked leather fibres "blunt" the penetration focus of power of the sword point or a bodkin arrowhead. (a bodkin is a a long-bow arrow head, shaped like a thin steel spike that could penetrate steel plate armour.)
Those war heads proved devestating against the French in the Hundred Years war, at the battles of Crécy, Poitiers, and Agincourt.
The U.S. military is, currently, researching improved materials that would make better anti-penetration body armour, effective against knives, arrow heads, and other pointed weapons.
Surprisingly, thick felt makes very good anti-armor vests, against edged and pointed sweapon. The Spanish Conquistadors learned this surprising fact when they first battled the Aztec's and lost. They would have lost the war to them too, had not Smallpox, (and lesser so, Measles, and Influenza), decimated the Aztec armies, soon after their first or (second?)defeat of the Spanish.
Felt is comprised of extensively intertangled wool fibres which would function in a similar way to leather.
Felt is traditionally made by rolling and squashing wool fibers, for a time, before use. The fibers become intertangled, during that treatment The effect of that felting treatment can be examined by carefully studying a felt polishing wheel, (used for rotary metal abrasive polishing).
Just a little scientific trivia for the Iron-banging gang that also enjoys Trivial Pursuit and other trivia games.
Best Regards from the G. W. N.,
just now, belatedly breaking into full autumn leaf colour.
   slag - Friday, 10/04/02 16:47:03 GMT

Great stuff! Organic materials are often tough to beat. For strength to weight ratios many types of wood are still rival man made materials.

For fire safety a WOOD structure is actualy safer than a steel frame or masonry building. Seems backward, but as the World Trade Center disaster proved, once steel reaches a certain temperature it will give, buckle and collapse. Then at the WTC momentum and impact took over. . . A wood structure becomes STRONGER as it burns until the framing is actually reduced a significant amount by the flames. Thus there is more time to escape and the collapse when it occurs is much slower.

Masonry buildings collapse when the heat breaks the bonds of the mortar. When collapse occurs it is sudden and catastrophic. Masonry structures also appear to be more fire resistant than wood but you have to look at the contents and sometime the SURFACE of the structure. Heavily painted masonry surfaces can burn and add to the conflagration. Masonry buildings often rely on steel structurals for strength and as noted, in a fire the steel quickly weakens.

The logic of life often has interesting surprises.
   - guru - Friday, 10/04/02 17:11:23 GMT

Steel /// Construction /// inadequate protection
The Guru is absolutely correct in his comments on the inherent fire resistance of wood, and the weakness of steel load-bearing beams.
Steel loses about half its strength at about 700 degrees and above, and it fails completely at higher temperatures.
Up until about 1970. Steel construction members were shielded in a thick covering of fire resistant tiles or brick. Such a covering had proven itself effective at peventing building (skyscraper) support member collapse, on several occasions.
Indeed, in 1944 or 1945, a B-17 bomber crashed into an upper portion of the Empire State building, doing extensive structural damage to two floors. But the building was not structurally weakened. (about 18 people were killed). the masonry-clad steel support members held up.
About 1970, builders switched to a money saving method of structural steel fire "protection". They began to spray the steel with a slurry of fire resistant material. Fist used was asbestos, but that was abandoned in favour of some other refractory, and the thickness was enhanced later on..
The world Trade Center Disaster showed that that coating was totally ineffective. Preliminary study has already shown that the airliner'rs impact caused the coating to "flake" off (actually to spall off at an explosive rate of speed). The steel was then left with no heat protection and thus failed. This resulting in the building's complete collapse. There is also good, preliminary evidence that the remaining coating, that was still failed to protect the steel against the intense heat of the burning jet fuel.
The spray coating on the structural steel is essentially cosmetic, non-functioning junk.
All post-1970 high-rise buildings will have to be retrofitted with functional fire protection for the struictural steel, or be pulled down.
Worse, the very tall sky-scrapers have another weight-saving measure built into the structures. All of the utilities, (e.g. water pipes, communications wires, power lines, etc.) are concentrated in an interior core verticle corridor. This concentrates the utilities into one compact space. But it creates a desperate problem. When that corridor is "severed" by extensive damage on any one floor, the upper floors are cut off and lose all those utilities.
Furthermore, fire fighters cannot fight a fire higher than about ten stories, from the outside. They are forced to bring fire fighting equipment up using interior building elevators.
The World Trade Center's elevators were not constructed to be very fire resistant Weight saving considerations are extremely important for buildings taller than 100 stories, hence the pressure to adopt lighter materials. But we now know, courtesy of some Arab Fanatics, that these buildings are not adequately protected against natural and man-made disasters.
Post script,
ten stories is the upper limit for a masonry supporting building. A building greater than about ten or eleven stories must require other load bearing members such as steel. In other words the compressive strength of masonry has a ten story limit. Above that it crumbles and fails. (masonry also has very little tensile strength.)
   slag - Friday, 10/04/02 18:10:41 GMT

E-Bay ASO: Guru, the good news is that regulars to this site have benefited from your review of the Chinese ASO's. The bad news is that home handyman-types are going to get taken in by this guy and they represent a larger market for him. I wonder how you get the information out on this thing? Post your anvil on E-bay and tell the brutal truth about it? Hmmmmmm Food for thought.
   Quenchcrack - Friday, 10/04/02 20:42:48 GMT

I have purchased a cold rolled steel continous hinge but I need to make it black. Painting and powder coating are out of the question. Is there another process I can ues?
   Todd Sarginson - Friday, 10/04/02 21:02:39 GMT

Todd, assembled parts are tough to put chemical oxide coatings on and that is all you have left other than heating the part.

The problem with trying to blue an asembled part is that the finishing process requires absolute cleanliness and harsh chemicals. A hinge will harbor oil and debris that will prevent proper exposue to the chemicals inside the hinge. It will also make is difficult to remove all the chemical and eventualy result in severe corrosion. If you dismantle the hinge most gunsmiths could blue or black the parts. No conscientious finisher will finish an assembly.

You could also produce a black scale finish by heating. When heated to a red heat the steel oxidizes and blue grey scale forms. When oiled the scale turns black. The probelem with applying a scale finish to a part is the possibility of damaging the part and the fact that scale is hard and brittle. If you have too much scale it will chip and break off. If the part is light enough to be flex in use the scale with crack and flake off. The scale will also wear in the working parts of the hinge and the oil that seeps from the pivots will be black like long used motor oil.

The problem with ALL oxide coatings on steel including gun blues and scale finishes is that they are mostly a porus surface to hold oil. Oil and wax prevent rusting on oxide coated surfaces and they must be continously cleaned and reapplied.

Oil finishes that include waxes and hardeners are paint. Many blacksmiths make amature formulations to apply to iron with a scale finish. These ARE paint or varnish. There is no "magic" or secret finish. Just badly formulated paints. So the best thing to do is properly prepare the surface and apply a professional, scientificaly formulated PAINT. Or plan on continously cleaning and oiling the part.
   - guru - Friday, 10/04/02 23:27:53 GMT

Junk Anvils: QC, I've been collecting information and photos of anvils to write a article about anvils for years. Perhaps a article titled "The TRUTH about Anvils". . . OR even a booklet by the same title sold on ebay under "blacksmiths anvils".

The trick is to get to the poor unsuspecting folks that get this junk pawned off on them.

My FIRST hammer was perhaps the same first hammer that many of us had as kids. It was a REAL metal hammer that came in a toy kit of tools. . . REAL METAL. . . But the first time you struck a REAL NAIL with that cast iron hammer it broke at the point between the face and the eye. . . How many millions of us have experianced THAT? Our parents or particularly the one making the toy buying decisions, our mothers, aunts and grandmothers didn't know any better. . .

When my kids were about five or six years old I put together tool kits for them. I managed to find REAL steel claw hammers in children's size. Must have been 4oz. (~100g) hammers! Also included were real folding 6' rules, a pair of good C-clamps, a "four-in-hand" and other small tools all put in a steel tackle box. At the time the whole cost around $24 dollars a set (we had twins so everything was in pairs). I'm not sure where all the tools are today. Some got lost and I know others are about. But those little blue hammers were household favorites for YEARS! We don't have to buy JUNK.

I still give my children tools for gifts. Both got Milwawkee electric drills for Christmas one year and complete Dremel sets another. But I was a little surprised when my daughter told me what she wanted for a college graduation gift - a big multi-drawer tool chest! I got her the biggest Kennedy machinists tool chest they make! I suspect she will want the matching roll around cabinett for a weding gift. . .

We don't have to buy junk. . .

. . . now back to replacing the lead screw in the 52 year old Craftsman Lathe that was a hand me down from from my father. . .
   - guru - Friday, 10/04/02 23:59:28 GMT

Jock is dead on the money when he says, "We don't have to buy junk. . ."!!!

Always remember the old country maxim: "You get what you pay for!"

I'm fully aware that sometimes we don't have much choice. Spending a major portion of my life in the army and then law enforcement proved that, neither profession pays very well.

So I've HAD to buy junk on occasion just to finish a job that HAD to be done.

But I replaced the junk with good quality just as soon as I could.
   Paw Paw - Saturday, 10/05/02 00:11:55 GMT

Guru, I own an 8 lb Chinese cast iron anvil, too. Harbor Freight had them on sale for about $5. With my eyes wide open, I bought it, with absolutely no intention of ever hammering on it. I have used it as a heat sink, a press to press quench thin blades, a weight to hold wood together while the glue dried, a door stop, an insecticide (deadly on slow crawling bugs), a place to put my pencil (it has a 1/2" hardy), a counter-weight, and probably things I have long forgotton. But as an anvil? Nope. It is sort of a Chinese "Swiss Army Anvil"! You are absolutely correct when you say we don't have to buy junk. Unfortunately, sometimes you don't know it's junk until you buy it.
   Quenchcrack - Saturday, 10/05/02 00:40:17 GMT

Without exception, the single finest thing that my father did in raising four boys was to allow all of us to use his tools. He never bought junk. Always the best that was available at the time. And lord knows too much of it wound up in the sandpile or the back 40. But in the course of all that, all four of us learned to be better-than-fair carpenters, mechanics, plumbers and electricians. Every one of us has built his own house at one time or another, usually of our own design and engineering. I can think of no finer gift that my father ever gave us than the opportunity to learn, and the tools to do it with. Fortunately, he is still with us, and all of us have taken great pains to express our sincere gratitude, and to pass on that legacy to our own offspring. It's called survival.
   vicopper - Saturday, 10/05/02 02:14:02 GMT

A little history of Coal, and Pocahontas #3 coal.

Time is the Carboniferous Period, which spans the period from 360 million years ago to 286 million years ago, about 70 millions before the dinosaurs. The bottom half of this period is known in the U.S. as the Mississippian Period, the top half as the Pennsylvanian Period, and coal formed as the Mississippian Period ended and the Pennsylvanian Period started

Coal seams are fossilized accumulations of plants which lived and died in swamps that were so devoid of oxygen that few microbes or other critters could survive to feed on their remains. The first phase of coal known as "peat" thus developed. These swamps were interwoven with intricate, meandering river channels which eventually covered things with mud and silt. Subsequent deep burial by more sediments in succeeding geologic ages resulted in heat and pressure which transformed the peat into coal. Generally speaking, every 12 inches of coal thickness represents approximately 10,000 years of continuous peat accumulation. Coal seams in West Virginia average 3 feet in thickness, although they occassionally can be as thick as 25 feet.

The first reference to coal in what is today West Virginia in 1742, when John Peter Salley reported an outcropping of coal along a tributary of the Kanawha River. By 1817, coal began to replace charcoal as a fuel for the numerous Kanawha River salt furnaces. The total coal production in 1840 for the State was about 300,000 tons, of which 200,000 tons was used in the Kanawha salt furnaces.

Today West Virginia produces about 15 % of total coal production in the U.S. and leads the nation in underground coal production. West Virginia also leads the nation in coal exports with over 50 million tons shipped to 23 countries and accounts for 47% of US coal exports.

There are 117 named coal seams in West Virginia. Sixty-five seams are considered mixable. In the year 2000, coal was produced from 50 different coal seams.

Pocahontas Coal is broken down into 10 seams of Pocahontas coals, numbered #1 through #9 and Poca #3 rider. Pocahontas 3,5,6,9, and 3 Rider are the seams that have listed coal production. Total Pocahontas coal production was 7,697,193 tons or 4.72 per cent of total coal production.

If you consider just Pocahontas # 3, it produced 5,705,344 tons, which is 3.50 Per Cent of all coal production. Analysis for Poca #3 is posted on the Guru’s page Wednesday, 10/02/02 23:25:04 GMT and in the links section.

One interesting fact I came across in the search:
To move 2 megabytes of data on the internet, approximately one pound of coal is used.
   - Ntech - Saturday, 10/05/02 03:19:37 GMT

Ntech. did you find out which # is the mining co listed in WVa in the coal scuttle. And what is the BTU's of the poca from that mine? I've had a couple of fires and I like it so far. I've got 4 different kinds of coal in my shop right now. Two suck ##### and the poca and another from so/west PA is pretty good. Boy! there is a world of difference in coal. Good coal= bliss
   - Pete-Raven - Saturday, 10/05/02 04:29:09 GMT

I have spoken with Bob Bowling in the past and he has shipped Poca #3 to many smiths. Contact him directly, and he can better answer your questions on the price and shipping.
   - Ntech - Saturday, 10/05/02 04:41:38 GMT

I was wondering about the recipe for linseed oil and beeswax to finish a piece. Can it be linseed oil and another wax? Like the plain white variety sold in hobbie stores for canning and such? Whats the ratio? I that good for tools and blades as well or just ornamental? Thanx all!
   Rooster - Saturday, 10/05/02 05:27:26 GMT

I just realized that my last post may have been a bit confusing. I'm looking for the info on the beeswax and linseed oil recipe for an ornamental piece (winerack) and I'm looking for info on any other types of durable, rust and corrosion resistant finishes for blades, tools, etc. Thanx, again.
   Rooster - Saturday, 10/05/02 05:30:09 GMT

Just to confuse the issue, as usual...sometimes buying junk actually gets you the most tool for the money. As the Chinese get better, some of the stuff they put out is nearly passable.
An example is the cheap $10 air hammers...keep oiling them each use and you get a heck of a lot of tool with a decent life that will do a lot of work. Sure, they are sloppy and the trigger control is poor...but for 10-15 bux....
Another example is my old Rong Foo brand horizontal band saw. It has a couple of hundred thousand miles on it, it is on it's second motor and set guide bearings and has done an amazing amount of work for me for the cost of $135.
However, if I deduct the cost of all the cheap P.O.S.s that I bought that failed miserably..it blows my argument all to helle.
I bought junk because I was poor and by in large, it probably helped to keep me that way.
It takes a lot of skill to make a poor tool do good work.
   - Pete F - Saturday, 10/05/02 05:56:28 GMT

A search of the archives produced this from 10 days or so ago.

1 cup Johnson's Paste Wax
1 Cup Turpentine
1 Cup boiled Linseed oil
1 cup shaved beeswax
2 Tablespoons Japan Dryer (Art Supply Store)

Melt ingredients together
Mix throroughly
Apply to WARM (not hot!) iron
Wipe excess off with soft rag
Allow to dry

Paw Paw - Thursday, 09/26/02 00:56:23 GMT
NOTE: By adding Japan dryer (a cobalt compound) to the above you have made a wax based varnish. Liquid floor wax will do the same thing and dry harder and cleaner.
- guru - Thursday, 09/26/02 01:32:52 GMT
   - Ntech - Saturday, 10/05/02 06:02:39 GMT

Let's see...
What I wanna know is: What is riveting exactly?
For woodwork I'm supposed to rivet. Do anything I want. Make serviette holders, box, bla bla bla. Frankly I reckon the serviette holder seems easiest but I haven't a clue how or what I'm actually supposed to do. I mean, I know you're supposed to some how wack the rivets into the metal. What for though? Keep the metal together? Decoration?

I think when you start this off, you cut a piece of metal (size I want) and smooth off the edges. Bend the metal the shape I want with a hammer and... say another metal bar to get the serviette holder shape.

I haven't got any expieriance in this at all (as I'm sure you've noted) and the teacher does her own thing and doesn't give a damn bout us.
   Mike - Saturday, 10/05/02 12:06:55 GMT

Let's see...
What I wanna know is: What is riveting exactly?
For woodwork I'm supposed to rivet. Do anything I want. Make serviette holders, box, bla bla bla. Frankly I reckon the serviette holder seems easiest but I haven't a clue how or what I'm actually supposed to do. I mean, I know you're supposed to some how wack the rivets into the metal. What for though? Keep the metal together? Decoration?

I think when you start this off, you cut a piece of metal (size I want) and smooth off the edges. Bend the metal the shape I want with a hammer and... say another metal bar to get the serviette holder shape.

I haven't got any expieriance in this at all (as I'm sure you've noted) and the teacher does her own thing and doesn't give a damn bout us.
   Mike - Saturday, 10/05/02 12:06:15 GMT

Doh!! I forgot the cardinal rule, read the archives and old posts before you type. Thanx for the recipe.
   Rooster - Saturday, 10/05/02 16:07:35 GMT

Riveting - Mike
Do not know how to rivet in woodworking, but in metal, a rivet is a mechanical fastener to hold pieces of metal together. Whitesmith did a iForge demo #132 in which a rivet is used to hold a pair of tongs together. Look at figures 11, 12, and 13 to see how the rivet is made and used.

The rivet should "fit" the hole, be able to be inserted without much effort, but not be so loose as to wobble around in the hole. You can purchase rivets in a variety of sizes that have a preformed head on one end. If your making your own, you will have to form a head on one end of a rod. Use a vise to hold the metal while you form the head, and use a ball pein hammer to round over the edge of the metal rod and form the rivet head.

A good starting point is to cut the length 1-1/2 to 2 times the thickness of the rivet plus the thickness of the material being riveted together. This leaves enough sticking out that you can take a ball pein hammer and round over the edge of the metal rod to form the rivet head. The other end of the rivet (the one not being hammered on) will need to be supported on a heavy object such as an anvil, metal table, block of steel, etc.

Rivets are used in many places to hold things together. Next time you cross a bridge, look for the rows of bumps along the edges of the steel. Those bumps are the rivets holding the steel together.

   - Ntech - Saturday, 10/05/02 16:15:28 GMT

Rivets /// Wood /// Suggestions.
I suggest one more step to NTech's method for piening rivet ends, to join pieces of wood. (that is forming the head by mushrooming the end of the rivet that goes through the hole in the pieces that are joined together).
Mashing the metal end and then rounding it will more likely drive the metal end back into the wood. To prevent that, place a metal washer between the wood and the slightly protruding metal end of the rivet. (that end that has gone through the hole and is to be spread by piening). The washer spreads the force, used to deform and spread the rivet's end. This lessens the compressive strees on the underlying wood, and thus lessens or eliminates the rivet digging into the wood. The larger the washer the better. (but the work's ultimate appearance may limit the size of the washer used.)
There is another neat trick for joining wood or metal pieces, in a pinch), a fellow patent agent showed me, several years back.
Sometimes we do not have the tools nor set-up to pien a rivet. Or we do not have a suitable rivet. (pretend that our forge is out of reach.)
A nut and bolt combination can be used. Choose a bolt that transits the metal or wooden pieces, to be joined. That bolt should have only a little of the end protruding from the hole. Support the wide end bolt head (on the other side of the hole) and take a sharp pointed punch and a hammer. Place the punch dead center in the protruding end of the bolt. Give the punch a good solid wack or several. (Lizzy Borden used 40 to make sure: but then again I think she was using a different tool and substrate. I digress. Incidentally, she was tried and found not guilty!), try that for a sucker bet next time at your favourite bar.)
The punch's blow spreads the bolt end against the interior circumference of the nut and it's threading. Doing a fairly good job of binding said nut and said bolt end.
Remember, proper piening and a proper rivet are superior. But the method will work for pieces that experience light duty.
P.S. Glenn, (aka Ntech), you can add this tip to your wonderful website of excellent shop/smithy tips whose url I have forgotten.
   slag - Saturday, 10/05/02 17:31:08 GMT

Riveting: See our iForge demos riveting and riveting two.

Riveting Wood: This is done the same as leather or cloth using hollow split rivets that the back side curls outward (with the help of a special tool) and the points dig into the material. These rivets are made of steel or brass and sometimes brass plated steel.

There are also rivets called "drive rivets". These are used in sheet metal and wood. The rivet has a split end and a small center pin with a tapered end. When the pin is driven into the rivet the split end expands outward. It works sort of like a pop-rivet except in reverse. They are also larger. The drive rivets I have seen are made of alluminium with a stainless steel drive pin.

Then there are pop-rivets. These can be used on wood, cloth and leather if a backup washer is used. Pop-rivets are a hollow tube with a headed center pin. The pin is pulled up into the tube expanding it. The pop-rivet tool pulls on the pin until it breaks with a "pop" leaving the rivet and the pin's head pulled up into the tube tightly embeded in the work. Pop rivets are used primarily on sheet metal and have an ugly back side so they are used on hollow work or solid material where the back of the rivet is not visible.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/05/02 17:34:48 GMT

Hi. I am in the U.S. (DC metro area) and not particularly experienced with metal. I recently bought a vintage pair of owl bookends from around 1910, cast iron with a bronze finish. The owl design is quite delicate. In spots, the bronze finish has worn through and the iron is rusting. I know that some antique pieces are more valuable with the original finish untouched, but I think this piece would be much more attractive if restored, and I'm not really worried about its value. I'd at least like to clean the rust off and stop further deterioration. Any ideas for how to gently clean the rust off, stop further rusting, and perhaps restore the bronze finish?
   Solveig Singleton - Saturday, 10/05/02 17:46:48 GMT

Hello Guru,
I just found a gas forge and would like to see if anyone can tell me about it or the people who made it. The particulars of this forge are:
(1) It is a gas forge with an old G.E. elctric motor with about a 6" squirrel cage blower on it.
(2) It has a metal plate on it saying,
MFG. by Frank Wheeler
Orange Calif.
(3)The forge table is about 2'X 2'X 30" high. It has an inside area of about 18" X 18" that is filled with brick and refractory to make a firepot that is about 6" X 6" by about 12" deep with a metal grate at bottom. The air damper is located on the bottom of the forge.
(4)It has a side burner on the forge table that is also gas but does not use forced air. This has about a 10" X 10" grate.
Any information would be appreciated.
David Manen
   David - Saturday, 10/05/02 18:34:25 GMT

David, What you describe does not sound like a gas forge. It sounds like some type of heating device but not a forge. Gas forges get too hot for metal grates. So do crucible furnaces. It may be some type of heat treating equipment or special heating device.

I searched for the name in Thomas Register and on the web with no luck.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/05/02 19:19:03 GMT

Brass Antique: Solveig, Almost anything you do to this piece will be wrong. Most brasses of this type were carefully finished using harsh chemicals to produce a patina, highlights polished and then the piece lacquered to prevent changes in the finish. In this case resoration of the finish is nearly impossible.

If the brass was bare and had a polished finish then the best thing to do is clean first with a solvent to remove oils, scrub the rusted areas with a little very fine steel wool, then clean the rest with any of the brass cleaner/polishing pastes that are available. Then degrease again (the polish almost aways has oil or wax in it), and apply a coat of clear lacquer (such as kryalon). THEN touch up the rusted places with some gold/brass paint such as is sold at art/craft supplies. The paint will not match the brass but it will brighten the color.

The other option is to take them to a plater and have them cleaned and replated. Note however that plating is not shiney. It must be polished with buffing compound such as tripoli on a cotton wheel to produce a bright finish. Sometimes folks like silversmiths will do the entire job for you.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/05/02 19:33:46 GMT

guru, i mailed it....
   - rugg - Saturday, 10/05/02 19:39:18 GMT

I would like to learn how to make cookie cutters using "jigs" but I can not find any information on same. I am working (or trying to in tin plate but am thinking of trying to make cookie cutters in copper because I can rivet the ends together myself).
   Alyce - Saturday, 10/05/02 22:31:12 GMT

Cookie Cutters: Alyce, Jigs and fixtures for this type thing vary according to the production levels and the design of the cutter. High production jigs for "band" type cutters would be rotating formers that rolled against each other and produced the finished part. This is pretty technical high production stuff and could quickly produce thousands of parts a day. The next level down would be steel dies that had the band worked onto the inside die manualy with either universal tools or matched fit external dies. This is still pretty fancy die work suitable for making thousands of pieces but it could be done using a torch, grinder and files.

For low production hand work the dies could be cut out of wood. Hardwood would last longest and give sharp definition but pine would last for many years of use. You could work either copper, brass or thin tinned plate on wooden dies. The inner shape would be cut in a piece the height of the cuter. The ouside pieces would be cut in several pieces. The inside and one outside piece would be pressed together by hand to start the first part of the shape then clamped to a board to hold the starting end while the other shapes are pressed into the material progressing around the shape. The number of pieces would depend on the shape of the cutter. The more complex the shape the more pieces would be needed up to about six.

I would put a heavy 1" hardwood dowel in the center part and have a hole for it to drop into in a base board. Maple hardwood doweling is available and would be perfect for this application. A piece of broom handle would also work. The first clamping part could be held in place by a tapered wedge that also went through the base board and pressed against a flat on the part. This wedge could be made of the same hardwood dowel. With this, your hands and a wooden mallet you could make dozens of the same complex shape in a day.

For pressed cup type cutters the dies are a little more complex and more force is required. Hardened steel dies on a punch press would turn out tens of thousands of parts. For this work you need two dies. A blanking die to cut the shape and a forming die to create the cup. These are each mounted on a die set and used seperately on the same machine or simultaneously on two machines. These type dies require expensive precision machineing.

For soft copper it is possible to press shapes in wooden dies. The blank would need to be cut by hand.

Most sheet metal cookie cutters have a rolled upper edge to stiffen the sheet metal. This is rolled on by hand or by machine before bending the shape. Hand crank machines are made for this purpose. After the cutter shape is formed by hand or on a jig the ends are soldered together. Then a handle with two rolled edges is soldered or riveted on. For items to be used with food use lead free solder such as the new plumbing solders. Most of these are all soldered because onec you are setup to solder the ends of the band together it is just as easy to go ahead and solder on the handle.

Let me know if you don't understand the wooden forming dies I described.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/05/02 23:35:07 GMT

Rivets and Wood:

That's how Viking ships are put together! In the old days the rivets were wroght iron, but now ship rivets are almost always copper, and a pleasure to work with. I've also used silicon bronze boat nails, as needed. (We've replaced about a thousand rivets on the Fyrdraca.)

Outside of lapstrake construction for vessels, about the only time I've used rivets with wood is to attach hinges, straps and handles to medieval style chests. The common, most logical method is to have the head on the wood-side, buck the head, and hammer out the side with the metal, forming a nice head on top of the hinge or strap.

One problem with rivets on wood, because the wood expands in a cross-grain direction, is that rivets can cause the wood to split if they are in the wrong place or the strapping lnes up too many holes. To prevent this you may want to elongate the holes in the wood, cross-grain, with a small swiss file after you drill them so that the wood can expand and contract a bit without bearing on the rivet. (This does not apply to ships, where the rivets are near the edge.)

Confused yet?

Anyway, any good metalworking or blacksmithing book will give you the basics of forming the heads, you can cut rivets to length from 10d or roofing nails according to your proclivities, and practice on some scrap wood with a rivet hammer and ball peen. You might also try to pull a book on lapstrake or clinker boat building from the library via an inter-library loan for further illustrations and explanations.

The tricks are: location; where to put the head and how to buck it (back it up with a heavy iron so that you can spread the end without driving it back out); having a washer (also called a rove) opposite the head if you're not attaching hardware there, and thinking about how the wood expands and contracts.

These are the traditional considerations. The Guru's suggestions on pop and split rivets simplifies some of this if you're not stuck in the 11th century like some of us. ;-)

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 10/06/02 04:06:21 GMT

Could a drop-hammer-thingy be used instead of a press-thingy for shaping sheet-metal, or would the sheet just be torn to pieces? Gravity is free and i know nothing about hydraulics..
   - Olle Andersson - Sunday, 10/06/02 09:40:33 GMT

Plate and Sheet Metal: Olle, there is sheet metal and THEN there is plate. There is no difference except the application. Most folks call 16ga (.070" - .18 mm) and up plate and thinner material sheet metal but there is no real demarcation.

Tools used to work plate/sheet include little high speed power hammers (10-15 pound - 5Kg) with deep thoats. See the power hammer page under Pettingell Hammers.

There is also the "English Wheel" which is a device that has two pressurized rollers, one usualy with a crowned surface and the pressure adjustable with a hand screw. The sheet metal is worked back and fourth under the wheels stretching and curving it. A web search will find several sites with information on them. I even found one article on a big heavy duty one with powered rollers that a fellow built for shaping heavy aluminium plate (1/4") for yacht building.

Both the small hammers and the English wheel are used for building aircraft and doing custom auto body work and were used in production situations until the industries went to BIG presses and expensive high production dies. English Wheels are also used for armour, jewelery work, sculpture and other sheet or plate working applications. Small narrow wheels can be used to do relatively detailed work.

Replacing both the hammer and wheel in the aircraft industry is a machine called the "Pull-Max" (made in Sweden I think). It is a deep throat short stroke hydraulic press that uses little round dies with crowned faces of various radii. They exert tremondous force at high frequency and can work thin soft material like aluminium aricraft skins or heavy steel plate. The neat thing about them is that they are almost silent in opperation compared to a hammer. I've seen a bowl made from 3/16" (~5mm) steel plate worked hot under one of these.

One of the old Bradly Helve hammers is popular with sculptors because of its deep throat and rapid blows.

The problem with gravity powered hammers is frequency of blows. A very small hammer can run no faster than a very large hammer and both cycle fairly slowly. You can only lift the hammer a LITTLE faster than the falling speed unless you have a rebound spring. The spring catches the hammer so that it does NOT lift off the cam from innertia and then strike the cam rather than falling clear. The helve striking the cam can wreck the machine. The spring then accelerates the drop slightly. The problem with this is that you have gone from a gravity dynamic to a spring dynamic. . . and things get tricky. If you look at pictures of old water powered helve hammers most had a wooden spring beam that caught the hammer at the top of the stroke.

Helves were GREAT (near perfect) for providing the slow SOFT blows needed to compact bloomery sponge and for making forge welds in wrought iron. But they were lousy for forging and are generally MUCH too slow for productive sheet metal work.

I designed (no details, lots of sketches) a little spring counter balanced helve hammer that would be a good JYH to build. A cam wheel lifted the helve mounted hammer and released it in the standard manner. However at rest a coil spring suspended the hammer keeping it off the cam and work. To engage the hammer a lever was pressed that connected to the helve via a heavier spring. The maximum added force would be the amount applied with your foot multiplied by what ever leverage was invloved. This would allow the hammer to make very gentle planishing blows OR heavier spring assisted forging blows. Note that the cyclyic spring force would be felt through your foot and leg. Sort of a motorized treadle hammer. This machine has no clutch and runs at a constant speed.

With this type of cam operated device if you have too much reduction or too low a shaft speed (such as you get from an 8 to 12 RPM water wheel), you can add cams. The machine can lift the helve 1,2,3,4 . . . times per revolution. But most of the time when you start with an electric motor getting enough reduction is a problem so you might want to stick to one or two cams. I was going to use a large heavy double row ball bearing on the helve rolling on the cam to reduce friction and wear. This type of cam would want to be a smooth spiral to prevent contact shock.

AND. . one thing to remember about helve design is that they TWIST. Slightly off center blows cause the helve to twist and if it is small and springy like a hammer handle the head will start twisting back and forth wildly to the point of missing the lower die or striking on corner. So make that helve STIFF.

ALSO. . this machine will work fine at low speed (maybe double a gravity hammer) but at high speed I THINK the springs will need snubbers or shock absorbers and you are into a research project like building a Bradley helve. But maybe not. . . Bradley spent YEARS perfecting their snubber system and many that tried to copy it failed.

This machine could be mostly wood OR wood and metal or all metal. Let me know if you build one.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/06/02 17:54:28 GMT

Copper Cookie Cutters: I was reminded by Miles that copper can be a poision and should not be used with food. I do not think it is a problem with cookie cutters BUT the copper is going to oxidize rapidly from the grease and salt. I recommend that you clean (polish if you like) and then lacquer your copper cookie cutters with some clear lacquer. Then they are food safe and will stay pretty and bright. The same applies to brass.

Common cookie cutters are pressed out of aluminium because it is soft, easy to form and does not rust. However, most aluminium products are anodized to prevent oxidation. Alluminium DOES corrode. Anodizing can be a clear finish so it is hard to detect. But is can also be bright colored (blue, red, gold) or even black. It is a process that is best left up to professionals but most anodizers will do small batches since their is a high demand bor batch work from machine shops.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/06/02 18:20:10 GMT

Looking for contact info for "Carl at Home of the Red Anvil" a knife maker.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/06/02 18:48:11 GMT

I have a piece of a large bandsaw blade, about 3/32 in. thick that I want to make into a bread knife. What do you think is the best way to anneal it.
   hayes - Sunday, 10/06/02 22:08:32 GMT


Heat it to non-magnetic (where a magnet doesn't stick to it), then bury it in Vermiculite (from the garden store), ashes or in a last resort, play sand. You want it to cool as slowly as possible.
   Paw Paw - Sunday, 10/06/02 23:50:10 GMT

I have a piece of a large bandsaw blade, about 3/32 in. thick that I want to make into a bread knife.What do you think is the best way to aneal it (I don't have alot of equipment or experience)???
   hayes - Monday, 10/07/02 00:30:39 GMT

   hayes - Monday, 10/07/02 00:31:47 GMT

Guru, I would like to know if there are any hand held tools available that can reliably cut circular keyways in an aluminum piston pin bore.
   Billy Chubbs - Monday, 10/07/02 04:01:16 GMT

The 2002 sculpture celebration of Lenoir, NC online at last. A few guys I know regularly put stuff in this and do pretty well.
If you want to see, I used to help out with this when I lived with my parrents, my dad is the web master and my mom does a lot of the leg work for this celebration, there is always a lot of fun stuff here (and it's open to out of state folk if you want in for next year!)

Later all.
   Marc - Monday, 10/07/02 09:45:39 GMT

Read with interest the forge tutor on rebuilding gas forge,what are the details of the manufacturer, address etc.and do they export any to an agent in the u.k. as I would like to buy one as it looks a neat design better than the ones I have seen here. Thanks in anticipation Steve
   Steve Hasell - Monday, 10/07/02 12:41:19 GMT

Actually you can often buy *real* good quality used tools for the price of new "toy" tools. Cleaning them up and personalizing them can make the difference in acceptance by the kids.

I even took a saw and cut it down (both handle and blade) to fit a young girls hand and use pattern.

Growing up I would get a tool each christmas, (ratchet wrench, 3/8" drill, etc) then by the time I was out on my own I had the basics to "survive". (I was surprised to find out that I was the only one in my college dorm to bring an electric drill---some folks laughed but by the end of the year *everyone* had made use of it!

Bruce if you are stuck in the 11th century---try lightening your load and waiting for a high tide....

   - Thomas Powers - Monday, 10/07/02 14:43:19 GMT

i would like to know of a site or how i can find out the trade markings on anvils such as maker symbols i would thank you for your help
   john hubbard - Monday, 10/07/02 15:06:55 GMT


If you'll post the markings from the anvil here, I'll try to help you, otherwise go to the anvilfire store here and buy the book ANVILS IN AMERICA by Richard Postman. It is the ONLY anvil reference book available, and I do not know of any site on the internet that has one tenth of the information that is in the book.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 10/07/02 16:23:02 GMT

RE lead screw for craftsman lathe
Enco has Acme thread and nuts on sale this month. I seem to remember that they were up to 3 foot and around $50 for a 1" with nut.
I was thinking of picking one up to fab a post vice... if I only had the time.

about 5 years ago I inharited all on my grandfathers tools. his shop was a repositorly for 3 generations of tools, and several traides. odd thing was when I was going throught them I found I could pick out when he had got the tool.. in his youth he only owned very good tools. but as he got older he started to buy ... well junk.. I asked him about it before he died and was told that he had don this for two reasons. 1 he knew that the tools would not have to last all that long as he wouldn't be useing them much longer. and 2 he realy liked tools and grandma didn't yell as much with the cheep ones... well the old ones are still good... any one want a 150 year old claw hammer? I have 4... work good to.
   MP - Monday, 10/07/02 16:24:52 GMT


You hang onto those claw hammers! One day you'll find out just how precious they are. Yes, I still have one of my grandfather's hammers. The kids are already arguing about who gets it.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 10/07/02 16:32:08 GMT

Bradley Hammer

Well, I finally picked up the Bradley. I took two days off work and drove out to OK to get it and got it off the truck last night. It is in realy good shape, but has been outside for years. It has some severly rusted bolts that I will need to loosen to install the new helve. Anyone have suggestions on how to get this done? I was thinking of Blaster, Navel Jelly, and a torch. Do they sell Blaster in larger quantities like a five gallon bucket? Also some very big wrentches with long handles. Any other suggestions?

I got a copy of the foundation plans with the hammer. Factory recommends a tapered foundation 4'3" x 8'3" at the top and 9'8" x 5'10" at the bottom with a thickness of 5'6". I think that comes out to be about 10.5 cubic yards. They don't mention reinforcing the concrete but I assume that would be good idea.

   Patrick Nowak - Monday, 10/07/02 17:46:52 GMT

Anvil Markings John if you are looking for general information about anvil markings you want Anvils in America by Richard Postman. We have a review and sell the book on-line. We can even have it inscribed for you.

Anvils in America is the only detailed book on anvils published and would be the best even if it were not the only one. It includes hundreds of photos and drawings of anvils as well as information about the makers.

Band Saw Blade Hayes, It depends on the blade material. Many bandsaw blades are air cooling tool steel and very difficult to anneal. You can soften the temper somewhat but a full anneal requires heating and then cooling at a rate of no more than 20&176;F per hour for the first 4 to 6 hours. This is normaly done in an annealing furnace but may be done in an annealing medium. Many folks use vermiculite but I think lime is better. The problem with a thin section such as a blade is that it has a lot of surface area for its mass. Such objects will cool faster than the annealing rate just taking them out of the forge and putting them into the annealing medium. Try it and see but remember to be setup in advance and be prepared to move quickly.

It is most common when making blades of such material that is already well heat treated to make the blade by the stock removal method (grinding). If you keep the steel cool during the process there is no need for heat treating.

Be aware that MANY saw blades have a high speed steel cutting edge welded to a softer alloy steel back. Heat treating the HSS edge is very difficult and requires a temperature controlled furnace.

Snap Ring Groove Cutter: Billy, I do not know of such a tool. It WOULD be possible to make such a device but if you have the machinery to do that then you cut the groove directly.

Grooves in small bores are cut two ways. On a lathe using a cutter specialy ground to the shape and size of the groove. Or on a milling machine using a boring head. A boring head is a device that lets you feed a rotating single point cutter in and out diametricaly. This is a relatively rare and expensive attachment. The tool would also have to be precision ground and is very similar to the type tool used in a lathe.

In both cases setting up the work and getting the alignment true to the hole is the time consuming part. In production the factory has a jig with an alignment pin that fits in one end of the hole and surfaces to support and hold the piston true and square. Such a fixture would be worth making even if you only had one set of pistons to bore groves into.
   - guru - Monday, 10/07/02 17:56:12 GMT

Dear Guru, by drop-hammer I meant the old monsters we had at the museum - you hoist several hundred kilos of steel and cast-iron between guides ten feet up in the air and let it drop ONCE. You use at least three or four progressive tools for hot forging gun-parts, but I have never seen it used for cold work and I suspect there`s a reason for that. I was just wondering if someone had any experience of this direct application of gravity to cold steel. Hmm, sounds like another way to end the universe..
   - Olle Andersson - Monday, 10/07/02 17:56:48 GMT

Rusted Bolts: Patrick, time and patience. Impact wrenches do a wonderful job. The thousands of small blows vibrate loose the rust and often help the penetrating oil. For large bolts a striking wrench works well. Give the penetrating oil time. If they don't come loose today, try next week. Many of the fasteners on these old machines are custom made screw machine products made by the factory. If you want to keep the machine as original as possible you do not want to damage the fasteners. Standard replacement bolts will work BUT will not look the same.
   - guru - Monday, 10/07/02 18:03:05 GMT

Dead Drop Hammer: Olle, these have been used for all kinds of applications. Among them forming sheet metal in wood or cast iron molds. They were popular for coining as well as crushing rock at mines. In old mines the device was very primitive, the hammer being a huge ball of cast iron and unguided. It was lifted using a gantry and cable or rope pulled by a team of horses or mules.

These hammers usualy had a rope or cable to lift the ram and were eventully powered by various means. The earliest power was by means of a. . . . can't think of the word. . . like on boats and ships, a pulley where you pull on the rope to tighten it and the pulley does much of the work. Later friction rolls were applied to rope and then found to work better on a flat board. Thus came the "board drop" which is still found in industry and used for many things. They hit very hard and generaly have a high hammer to anvil ratio.

All dead drop hammers have a cycle limitation due to the speed of acceleration of gravity and not wanting excess inertia at the top of the lift. These work great where dies are used and only one or two blows are needed to finish the part.
   - guru - Monday, 10/07/02 18:17:44 GMT


Block and tackle?
   Paw Paw - Monday, 10/07/02 18:48:03 GMT

I think the word is Capstan.
   Wayne Parris - Monday, 10/07/02 18:57:07 GMT

For years I have heard that DMSO is one of the best penetrants for freeing rusted parts, etc. However, I do know that it can cause a person real problems because it has the ability to penetrate your skin and carry toxins with it. Anyone know if it really works to free stuck parts?

   Paul-P - Monday, 10/07/02 19:06:00 GMT



Go to the nearest NAPA auto parts store and pick up a can of B'Laster. Same shelf as the WE-40 and works about five times better than WD-40.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 10/07/02 19:56:34 GMT

That first line is supposed to read WD-40, also. Same as the last line.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 10/07/02 19:57:15 GMT

Wayne THANKS! That is it! My mind goes blank on some words.

DMSO. . . Its sold as a flesh penetrant of dubious use. I wouldn't mess with it.

One of the best penetrants is Trichlorethylene. It is used as dry cleaning fluid replacing Carbon-tetrachloride about 35 years ago. The GOOD "Tap-free" was trichlorethylene with a little wax disolved in it. A GREAT product. Except people abused it by using it in machine coolant systems. An application that was specifically mentioned as something NOT TO DO. . . The fumes are bad for you. Used in small quantities it is safe but drenching parts is NOT. So they pulled it from the market replacing it with a much less effective product. You can still occasionaly find tric based taping fluids. "Carbon-tet" was good stuff too. . .

Tric and carbon-tet probably have the same hazards as DMSO but they are not SOLD as flesh penetrants. . but I'm sure they do.

It seems that many products designed to replace those with related health problems end up also haveing the same problems. . . Kaowool is an asbestoes replacement. As time goes on the warnings on Kaowool get stronger and stronger. I suspect that asbestoes was a safer product but the problems with asbestoes have been blown so out of proportion by the media and class action law suits that you can not convince people that it is safer than MANY other things we use and live with daily.
   - guru - Monday, 10/07/02 20:51:49 GMT

Guru, have you ever heard of a hard refractory board called "Meronite"? I am unsure of that spelling. I put a piece in my Whisper Baby for about 3-4 hrs. and it held up fine. I took it out and within 30 seconds it was cool enough to touch. The question is will it crumble under continued use, and does it have sufficient insulating capacity to replace the kaowool under the back port?
   Quenchcrack - Monday, 10/07/02 23:11:55 GMT

Peter Wright: Went to an auction on Saturday and bid on a great looking Peter Wright anvil. Didn't show much wear at all, only a very little on one edge. Some lady took it away from me. I stopped at $250, she took it for $260. It was 118 lbs. Should I have gone higher? Heck, I didn't really need it, I've got 2 anvils already, but thought if I could get it for a decent price, that I would.
   Bob Harasim - Monday, 10/07/02 23:40:16 GMT

Bob, you might have gone a little higher, but not much. You were already over $2.00 a pound.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 10/08/02 00:02:23 GMT

I realise that this is not an electric motor forum, but if anyone has some experience in old electric motors I would like to pick there brains a little. I am attempting to solve and getting closer by the day, a problem with a Wagner 3 h.p. A.C. motor that is circ. 1910 or shortly after. I would like to find any written or drawn information on this particular motor or even analise anyones advice......Problem, first off it will not start on its own, after a little spin with your hand it grumbles up to speed, but it has a centrifical brush mechanism that refuses to release when it suppose to, only when it wants to. It is 220 volts on a 20 amp service ( suspect already). We have cleaned it to a satisfactory condition so every moving part is free of bind. This is a single phase motor that wieghs more than a volkswagon...well maybe a little less, that is powering a Bradley helve.Any info on this type of motor would be greatly appreciated. Thanks -Scott
   wolfsmithy - Tuesday, 10/08/02 00:05:35 GMT


What do you resommend for a coating for iron that will be used around/on food? I saw a neat cheese slicer (metal frame with a wire) and wanted to build on, but I wasn't sure how to protect the steel.

I had been thinking beeswax for the handle, and maybe Stainless wire. Beeswax isn't great, but it's edible....


   Jim - Tuesday, 10/08/02 02:46:01 GMT


I use corn oil. Wipe in on the clean iron, then put it in the oven at a couple of hundred degrees for a couple of hours. The stainless steel wire is a good idea.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 10/08/02 03:16:12 GMT

Supposed to be:

Wipe it on the, not Wipe in on
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 10/08/02 03:16:42 GMT

Feed stores sell DMSO as a liniment for sore horses. A while back some arthritis sufferers found it mysteriously eased their pain (rubbed on, not taken internally!)-- but in a jiffy, within scant seconds after rubbing it on, they also found their breath had a weird fishy smell. I am not making this up. That stuff is MUY powerful. It carries surface substances on your skin into your system along with it. You know that really hard, impenetrable plastic they make telephones and typewriter cases out of? Well, DMSO eats through the surface of that stuff like the acid in the old horror movies. What it does to rust I do not know, but I'd go with Paw Paw: B'laster is the penetrant of choice. And as Jock notes, time. And go easy on the torch if cast iron is involved.
   miles undercut - Tuesday, 10/08/02 03:53:37 GMT

D M S O is shorthand for dimethyl sulfoxide a simple alkane hydrocarbon with a sulfur oxygen bond. It is a colourless and odourless liquid, derived as a by-product of the pulp and paper industry.
It is, in itself, not poisonous. But, as several people have already written, rapidly passes through the skin and mucous membranes, and goes into the body. (and that ability can cause problems that I will describe shortly).
After skin application,it is very quickly tasted in the mouth as a slightly bitter flavour, and then leaves a sweet after-taste. It is rapidly detectable on the breath as sulfurous fish-like odour.
DMSO has pain killing (analgesic) and anti-inflammatory effects in people and is used to treat two medical conditions, interstitial cystitis, and scleroderma in people. (the latter malady is really nasty.)
DMSO has the peculiar property of being dissolvable in water, ethyl alcohol, acetone, ether, benzene, and chloroform. For that reason, it is used in industry as a solvent for many organic chemicals like fats, carbohydrates, dyes, resins, (some of which form plastics), and polymers.
When dissolved in water it is an antifreeze (and not poisonous like ethylene glycol), and hydraulic fluid.
There is one potential danger. A solution of DMSO and a poisonous substance will allow that poison to hitch a ride into the body, as DMSO goes through the skin and into the body.
DMSO has no chlorine atoms in its molecule.
Carbon tetrachloride and perchlorethylene, (perc), are both chlorinated hydrocarbons and are poisonous Both of these chemicals are very good organic chemical solvents. Carbon tetrachloride is very poisonous. But is very useful when handled with care.
PERC has recently been found to be cancer causing (after long exposure), and is about to be phased out, in the dry cleaning industry.
Use of organic solvent resistant gloves and a chemical vapour respirator (and good eye protection), is adequate protection when working with either of these two chemicals, when their use is indicated.
There it is in far more detail than most of the Anvilfire habitués, would ever need, nor care to read. For the few, hardy remaining readers, it's all there.
Also, I suspect that the above note will make a great sleeping aid for insomnia. Photocopy this entry and read it in bed several times, and you will drift off, in no time. It rarely fails.
In the cooling G.W.N.
   slag - Tuesday, 10/08/02 07:22:49 GMT

Mornin' all: DMSO=Dimethyl Sulfoxide. Originally a byproduct of the papermaking industry. (as was artificial vanilla flavoring.) Best regards 3dogs
   3dogs - Tuesday, 10/08/02 07:23:26 GMT

)Post script
I doubt that DMSO will do anything to rust.
Phosphoric acid will dissolve rust as will oxalic acid.
   slag - Tuesday, 10/08/02 07:27:06 GMT

Well I have broken my $1 a pound limit for an exceptionally nice anvil (shoot paid about 1.25 for that 197# Hay-Buden!); but since I have a mort of the things I don't sweat ones that sell over my limit.

Translation: why did you want the anvil? For re-sale there was not much margin there; for personal use it's around a general "fair market" price; but you could do better if you can spend the time talking to folks. Prices are also *very* location dependent---some areas *any* anvil is considered a wonder to find; others, folks are tripping over them fairly frequently.

   Thomas Powers - Tuesday, 10/08/02 12:46:44 GMT

On the subject of wire for chain maile, might I suggest wire for a wire welder? I got some at one point (20 ga) that was hard as heck and took a lot to cut.
   Marc - Tuesday, 10/08/02 13:09:21 GMT

Well, I managed to get the spelling corrected and found the supplier of Marinite on the web at: http://www.bnzmaterials.com/mar2.html . This stuff is calcium silicate. The highest temperature rating of the various grades is only 2200F, making it marginal for a forge refractory.
   Quenchcrack - Tuesday, 10/08/02 13:54:17 GMT

Refractory Names: QC, Refractory trade names are worse than steels. EVERY supplier has a trade name for the most common refractory substances. You want FRUSTRATION? Try getting comparitive specs on refractory bricks. . . The industry is FULL of secrets. They want to make money specifying their product for your application by trade name so you cannot comparison shop. . .

I spent months tracking down a refractory product that turned out to be synthetic mullite. It is mined and processed just miles from where I live and I was looking all over the world for it. (The name Mullite comes from the British isle of Mull where the naturaly occuring form was originaly found.) It is used in fluidized bed burners and reactors as well as the aggregate in most high temperature castable refractory.

The situation with refractory products is getting worse. HWR (Habbison Walker Refractories) has bought up most of the other US refractory companies such as AP-Green and others. Yes, there will be a uniformity of product terms but only one supplier. . .

THEN in the case of a product like Kaowool™, the name has become generic like Coke-a-Cola™ and used for many competing manufacturer's products. We carry the "Real Thing" in our on-line store :o)

In the NC-TOOL forges the soft white door lining appears to be 2" Kaowool cereblanket like the 1" stuff we sell but the formed shell liner is a different product. It is the same basic kaolin refractory but it is not the long fibre high purity kaolin that is Kaowool. It is quite crumbly. But for ease of understanding we call it "Kaowool". It is actualy a "bonded light weight kaolin refractory". . . brand and trade name unknown, not a blanket or board product. NC-TOOL buys the formed shell liners made to their spec from a specialty manufacturer, so they may not even know the specific brand name of the refractory used.

ITC products are the same. I've gotten as much information as they will give me. There is no temperature rating given for ITC-100 but I know you have to fire it VERY hot for it to turn a soft tan color indicating it is fully fired. The MSDS has some confusing information but it appears that it doesn't melt until well over 4,000°F. It is good for much higher temperatures than Kaowool and other kaolin refractories. This makes is an excellent protective coating.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/08/02 15:09:21 GMT

Coatings for Cooking Utensiles: If you care, then DO NOT use vegatable oil or other consumable organics. They can become rancid AND they can carry various bugs that can make you quite ill. Pure (non-perfumed) mineral oil is recommended. It is sold for commercial food processing and is used on things like bread pans and trays to prevent sticking. It is non-toxic and doesn't go rancid. This advise came from the maker of wooden cutting boards.

The problem then is maintenance. . . the user will apply whatever they want or nothing at all. Then stainless becomes attractive for all the parts.

The DO make stainless steel music wire for making springs AND stringing musical instruments. I've seen chrome plated music wire as well as bare steel music wire (SAE 1095) on cheese cutters.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/08/02 15:24:47 GMT

DMSO: I've been using it for over 20 years for back spasms where I can't even take a deep breath or move my arms or head without extreem pain. I'm talking fall on the floor screaming pain. DO NOT GET IT ON YOUR SKIN, unless you are completely clean and sterilized. Whatever is on your skin, or on the clothing you wear immediately afterward, will be absorbed. Use your head, don't be tendin' your tomatos and go stick your hand in a jar of DMSO. That said, I still find it preferable to taking a handfull of Percosetts to be able to breath. I can't imagine it works any better than Blaster for rust, but I will give it a try and post the results here since I use it (with great care) and have plenty of it around anyway.
   Gronk - Tuesday, 10/08/02 15:58:40 GMT

Electric Motor Wolf. . You have several problems. This sounds like a capacitor start motor. The centrifugal switch connects the capacitor AND an offset motor winding. The capacitance causes lead in the phase thus making the motor self starting.

Normally the motor starts with the centrifugal switch closed, powering the starting winding which is hooked to the capacitors. As the motor approaches full speed the centrifugal switch disconects the starting circuit capacitor and winding.

The problem. . . In MANY capacitor start 1PH motors if the switch remains closed for just a few seconds too long the start winding burns out. Since the start winding is integrated in the other windings it often bunrs them out too.

Twice I have caught and turned off 1PH motors within less than a second of seeing a little smoke puff out of them. I saved one and repaired it by installing the centrifugal switch out of another old motor (different brand made 40 years later). But the other motor was gone by the time I noticed the smoke and hit the switch.

The only cure is to rewind the motor AND replace the worn switch parts. However, rewinding is expensive and is only economical on large or rare motors. In most cases you can purchase new motors for much less.

In your case rewinding MIGHT be an option but it will not be cheap. I suspect this is a 900 RPM motor which makes it rare and expensive to replace. 3HP 1PH motors are also rare. The combination of Phase, low speed and high (relatively) HP makes this a very expensive motor.

For practical purposes I would recommend a replacement motor or MOTORS and a jack shaft to reduce the RPM. Since 3HP 1PH motors are hard to come by you might consider a combination of two 1-1/2HP or even a 2HP and a 1HP motor would work IF they have the same running speed rating (both equal 1750 or 1775). YES THIS WORKS! Or you can use a 3PH motor and a phase inverter (solid state OR mechanical).

Induction motors have a nominal speed that is a multiple of the line frequency. In the US where we have 60Hz current that is commonly 900, 1200 and 1800RPM. But when you apply a load to the motor it "slips" below the nominal. This is the RPM rating at full HP. Typicaly this is 1775 or 1750 for 1800 RPM nominal motors. These motors run anywhere from 1800 down to the rated RPM depending on load. SO, two motors connected to one shaft (directly or by belts) will not fight each other, they will work as a team and provide as much power as they were designed for as long as they have the SAME full load rating.

Logic aside, I have tested this on the EC-JYH using a 3/4HP and a 1/2HP motor together. Both had the same size pulley installed and both "pulled" on the same belt setup in a triangular arrangement. It works great and is a good way to achieve a total HP that is not available. Be SURE to use matching pulleys if you use two motors. You do not need to use a single belt. Two motors with single belts can each apply power to a single multi-belt pulley.

I'm looking at the possiblity of doing this on another experimental machine for testing purposes. In this case I do not know the necessary HP to do the job (too many variables that are unknown). With two motors I can have 1/2HP, 3/4HP or 1-1/4HP with the flick of a switch. . . . the extra motor just turns doing nothing.

Any time you are discussing old motors you need to give the volts, current (AC/DC), phase (if AC), HP, RPM, number of capacitors or IF it has capacitors, the armature type (high torque induction/reduction capacitor run motors have a wound armature and graphite brushes on a commutator like a DC motor). The various types of electric motors have not changed since the 1880's and were well established types by the early 1900's. Brand or trade name is usualy irrevelent. Motors are also induction or synchronous. Big old synchronous motors are rare but they DO exist. . .

In almost all cases you should take the motor to a motor repair shop to have it looked at. They will tell you when a motor is worth repairing OR if it can be repaired.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/08/02 16:18:33 GMT

Buying OLD Anvils: Bob, Today, if I had the money and was bidding on a good clean OLD anvil (any of the forged English or US anvils) I would go as high as $3/lb. Although it is sometimes difficult to get $3/lb out of an anvil on short notice they are a very good investment. PW's occasionaly go for as high as $5/lb on ebay. . . PLUS SHIPPING!

Although this type anvil was made in the millions the really good ones are getting rarer AND they don't make them like that any more. Peddinghaus is as close as they come but they are not finished anything like the old anvils. There is also another maker of forged anvils (in France I think) but they make the short French/Italian pattern like the Nimba and they are not imported into the US. So NEW forged anvils are rare or expensive. There is also a lot of nostalgic value in the "name" brand anvils increasing their value.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/08/02 16:42:29 GMT

Do you know anything about the 110# anvil sold by Harbor Freight Tool Co.? Brand Name is Central Forge - Russian Made. Is it worth $80 price tag or am I better off with my rr rail anvil?
   Dodge - Tuesday, 10/08/02 17:20:24 GMT

Dodge, see our product report by Quenchcrack.

Russian Anvil Review
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/08/02 17:43:54 GMT


See the report on that anvil on the FAQs page.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 10/08/02 17:54:43 GMT

Hello again!

Well I'm still agonizing over how I'm going to make my propane forge, on the bright side though I've got the burner stuff figured out. In case you don't remeber I'm doing a propane forge. However while I was out wandering I decided to drop by an industrial heating place and see if I could get some Kwool and ict 100, well I like to talk (replace talk with brag as needed) and the boss too me out back, the guy has 7-8 industrial furnaces back there (and a few water heaters), he told me that I could have one of them for $50 since they were no good to him and could handle the temps. required, now down to the question, could one of these auctualy do the job? I did't see and insulation on the combustion chamber, just looked like bare cast iron.
Any ideas on weather this would work or would I have to insulate it with Kwool anyway?
   Marc - Tuesday, 10/08/02 18:47:14 GMT

Jock, 5;15 pm EST . Getting an "internal server error" message in the pub. if I send a message it will be readable in the log but not the main screen. Just thought you would like to know.
   Harley - Tuesday, 10/08/02 21:16:15 GMT

I'll second Harley's message...cant get in the tub...gonna start to ball in a minute-Scott
   wolfsmithy - Tuesday, 10/08/02 22:10:03 GMT

Hey guys its me again. Thanks for all the information. I have been searching arouns for a while and was wondering if anyone new where I could find some ways to make english and other types of full scale 13th, 14th ,and 15 century plate armor.
   Patrick Wilshire - Tuesday, 10/08/02 22:33:30 GMT

Pub is working for me now. . .

Marc, if the combustion/heating chamber is cast iron then it either doesn't get hot enough OR it will melt when you do. Forges run well over the melting point of CI which is lower than steel.

If they are old they may be full of asbestoes and the guy is getting YOU to pay HIM for hauling off his hazardous waste. Always check on OLD furnaces. Most kilns and forges use little or no asbestoes because they use hard higher temperature refractories. If the firebox isn't tan or light grey inside (at least 2 to 3" of refractory) then is isn't a forge furnace. If you don't know what asbestoes looks like then you had best avoid the equipment OR ask that it be certified asbestoes free (this will cost more than $50 so the deal would be off anyway. . .)

Without seeing what you are talking about (there are MILLIONS of types of furnaces) I couldn't even guess if it is posible to convert to what you want. But I suspect you are wasting your time.

We sell Kaowool and ITC-100 at competitive prices and the meger profit helps keep anvilfire afloat so you can get this FREE advice. You won't find anyone that will SELL cut lengths of Kaowool unless it is left-over scraps. We sell it cut by the foot, 10 foot carton and full 25 foot carton. You MIGHT get it cheaper if you find an industrial supplier that will deal with you. But you will have to buy a full carton ITC-100, 148, 200, 213 is handled by very few places because of the specialty nature of the products. That is why we carry it. If Centaur or Kaynes had been carrying it then I would not have seen a point to it. The only blacksmith supplier that I know that carry it don't have it in stock and can't sell it at the VERY old prices they advertise it at (less than MY current cost).
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/08/02 22:44:54 GMT

Marc, another issue with buying an old furnace is the gas train. That is the valves, regulators, etc. Any furnace equiped with a combustion air blower and gas train should be thoroughly inspected for leaking regulators, pipe connections etc. You may even be required to have it inspected and certified. Build a naturally aspirated forge (or buy one if you have about $350) and get on with pounding some iron.
   Quenchcrack - Tuesday, 10/08/02 23:31:19 GMT

****************** ASO Saga Continues From Above ******************

All, we have found these:

New 110 Pound Cast Steel Blacksmith Anvil
Item # ############
(the blackout in the pic hides "CHINA")
to be acceptable. We have 2 of them at the Tidewater Blacksmith Guild and 3 of us have them at home. They have a decent steel face that seems to be getting better as it is used. They are great beginner anvils. They are 50kg. The hardy/pritchell holes are misshapen (sort of rectangular) I wouldn't call what they do ringing, they are ear piercing but quiet right down when mounted on caulk. The price on ebay is way off, we got ours for $67/ea at Bage Industries on route 168 at the VA/NC border. They also sell a 75kg model but it has one of those weird duckbill shaped horns. I've been using mine for 8 months and even with my lack of hammer control, the dents are minimal. It was a good investment to keep my boys from beating up my Hay-Budden.
   robcostello - Friday, 10/11/02 15:01:08 GMT

Ebay ASO's: Rob, I've blacked out your ebay number because the seller (Integratool) uses fraudlent descriptions of items THEN sells them with high shipping amounts to make a profit. If you return the item for a refund then you lose anyway.

When I confronted him about the misleading description his response was "I'm sorry you had a bad experiance" and "I'm going to block your e-mail if you contact me again."

If you complain on Ebay (leave negative feedback) he then calls you names or says you are a bad customer. He called me an "inexperianced new user" just because I haven't bought hundreds of items. I've been bidding on ebay for YEARS and only buy when I REALLY want something or it is a good deal. I learned about "auction fever" in my youth and have gotten over that a LONG time ago. (see On Becoming a Blacksmith - My First Anvil). I bought this piece of junk on eBay as a public service to expose the fraud.

He uses the same description of having a "great ring", "awesome rebound", and being a heavy duty professional product to sell poor quality ASO's. The anvil you described MAY be different but the rest he sells are not.

See my post of 10/03/02.
   - guru - Friday, 10/11/02 16:07:48 GMT

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