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

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

This is an archive of posts from October 9 - 17, 2002 on the Guru's Den
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I have recently purchased an anvil with the markings OH SS on it does anyone know about this maker?
   - calvin - Wednesday, 10/09/02 00:14:04 GMT

Guru, thanks a lot on the info, it is confirming what seems to be the consensus among the majority, needs to be looked at proffesionally and possibly rebuilt or replaced. Funny thing today, for kicks, the shop has a 20 (!)Amp service and the motor needs 20 amps. So we shut everything off in the shop ( lights etc.) and the thing started on its own, thus had me beleiving that there was not enough amperage to run the big guy. Turned on the lights and it wouldnt go without a spin. When it is running it seems o.k aside of the brushes being reluctant to back away from the commutator. Well back to what I was saying, turned off the lights and the sucker still would'nt go...dont know, maybe I caught it just right, the fridge may have kicked on in the house or something. Anyway it seems it needs at least a 30 amp service to know for sure. It is working now but is becoming more of a curiosity thing for me, eventually this non-perpetual motion machine will stop moving and the game will be over. Too bad, getting an education. ( its about 1125 RPM ( or something close, off memory). Just one more question, where did you get this information? A few days ago, in the slack tub, when I asked you about the motor you said " dunno much about motors"...(smile)..Another question, where is the capacitor(s) located on this motor? A small suggestions that may or may not work on the 2 motor combined for more HP or individually for less. Use slip belts and idlers, so there wouldnt be a compromise of slight power when having to turn an "extra" motor....Thanks so much for the help. -Scott
   wolfsmithy - Wednesday, 10/09/02 02:00:56 GMT

Think you mean repulsion/induction. No capacitors at all - uses the wound rotor to start instead of capacitors for phase shift and then switches to induction run like any induction motor. Hmm, large ones might have "run" capacitors. Many 5 hp and larger single phase motors are actually three phase motors with run capacitors.
   - grant - Wednesday, 10/09/02 02:04:05 GMT

Dissolving Rust
Thanks for the tip about oxalic and phosphoric acid dissolving rust. Do you have any idea what it would do to the steel/cast iron underneath the rust? Also, what concentrations of these acids should/could be used? I may be able to get very strong/high concentrations of these acids through work.
   Patrick Nowak - Wednesday, 10/09/02 12:06:19 GMT

wolfsmithy: I've found that older motors need a circuit with much greater capacity than the motor rating. The older motors have horible load factors. The 5 Hp is my shop is rated 28A 240v, but it's not happy unless it's on a 40A circuit, it will trip a 30A circuit every time. Additionally, the farther you are from the breaker box the larger the wire you need to handle the load.

Hope this helped.
   Stephen G - Wednesday, 10/09/02 12:14:58 GMT

Ebayities: So, the same guy who was selling the 15# anvil that the guru so graciously tested for the rest of us is not selling them anymore, but he is selling a 55# under his handle of "Integratool". So I sent him an email to see if this was the from the same company (he lists it as being made for "TEI Inc. out of Los Angelas, CA.", actually everything he sells including powertools are made for "TEI Inc. out of Los Angelas, CA.") . . . this was the conversation:

me: "is this the same kind of junk anvil that you were selling at 15 pounds?"

WMLiquidation: "yes it is"

I must at least respect their honesty in their emails . . . now if they could be a bit more honest in their ads . . .

buyer beware

   Escher - Wednesday, 10/09/02 15:07:48 GMT

In the Bill Epps video on tong making he demonstrates the champion style. Two divets are made before going to the corner of the anvil to set down the space between. What I could not see is which direction the divots face when at the corer. Are the divots down or to the side?

   timmerman - Wednesday, 10/09/02 15:17:22 GMT

Escher, the question IS, Is he still missrepresenting them as having "awesome rebound", "ring" and being a "professional HD product?".
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/09/02 15:18:52 GMT

Motors: Grant you are right its "repulsion/induction". I have two old ones. However, being single phase they both have large capacitors (or maybe they are capacitor run). The 2HP has two capacitors. These are high torque motors often used on air compressors.

TONGS: Timmerman, we have an iForge demo by Bill Epps on making several types of tongs. That may explain what you are looking for.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/09/02 15:24:13 GMT


A while back you commented that liquid floor wax was as good as one Paw-Paw's beeswax based coating. Would you just apply the wax to warm steel? Is there a brand or ingrediants to look for or avoid?

   Jim - Wednesday, 10/09/02 16:03:33 GMT

Motor Amperage: 20 amp service?????? I can't run my B&D Wildcat angle grinder on a 20amp breaker (takes a 30 if you lean on it)! My office with two PC's, a printer, VCR, FAX and some lights would overload a single 20A circuit. . . The little 10'x 11' room is wired to no less than 4 15A breakers (not includeding the HD outlet for the AC and special circuit for the heat).

On starting, motors have something called "in-rush current". They suck up a lot of power AND put a high starting load on the circuit. This is often 5 times the rated amperage. That means that to properly start and run a big 24A motor your shop should have a 100A service.

On small fractional HP motors you can get away with a 2x breaker because all breakers have a slight time delay built into them for this very purpose. But large motors are run on magnetic starters that have time overload delay devices in them often called "heaters" (many use melting alloy devices). When they get hot they trip a pilot switch which disengages the magnetic switch. These are used on heavy circuits designed for a motor's starting load OR for multiple motor loads. It is not unusual to have a 60 or 100 amp circuit with several 15 to 20 A motors on it. The circuit's protection (circuit breaker or fuse) IS NOT designed to protect the motors, just the circuit's wire. The individual motor switches have the protection for the motor. Motor circuits are DIFFERENT.

As Stephan mentioned the length and size of the wire feeding your shop and the individual circuit can reduce the voltage significantly. The electrical code, like building codes is A MINIMUM STANDARD. It is not so nearly under engineered as housing construction codes but it is still a minimum. I always use one size bigger wire than called for based on load and distance.

In the pub you were asking about a specific brand motor. Antique restoration is NOT my field even though I do a lot of it. AND the pub moves too fast and is too confusing to answer serious questions.

Where did I learn about motors? Twenty years of fooling around in the shop (since I was 10 years old), another twenty years designing and building machine tools (all NEW motors, mostly Baldor 3PH, but some stepper). During this period I also studied the electrical code and have wired several houses, shops and ALL the machine tools that our company supplied to nuclear utilities. I've also had TONS of old machines to fix, repair, rewire and replace motors. I've taken apart (and sometimes fixed) various motors from old clocks and electric trains when I was a kid to my little Dremel and big 300 HP motor/generators for a hydro plant. Off and on during the past fourty years I've researched various questions relating to motors. But I am NOT an expert or an electrical engineer. . . Never took a test on the subject. And I could care less about one brand name or another. THAT is for antique restorers.

It took me 20 years to find out what 2PH current is and where is is used. I had (have) a bunch of 2PH machines bought at auction. The electric utilities can't tell you and neither can most electrical engineers (I asked a bunch of both). Two phase was a very early electrical distibution system that was abandonded EXCEPT in a few vert old industrial areas such as near down town Philidelphia. . . I learned that one from Bruce Wallace, a Philly boy. I still can't tell you how it works.

Sorry for the rant. . . been only getting 4-5 hours sleep a night the past week and still haven't gotten got caught up. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/09/02 16:09:01 GMT

Acids: Patrick, the acids mentioned are found in products like "Naval Jelly" and "Ospho" derusting and rust converting products. They are generaly very dilute. THEY WILL eat base metal given time but react with rust faster. NEVER EVER apply either to items with plating or oxide finishes like gun bluing or drill blacking. I lost a 20 year collection of small and odd drill bits to a tank of derusting acid. . . That black coating on drills is both protection and a lubricating surface. . remove it and they are trash. We live and learn.

Most derusting compounds have little effect on cast iron but carbon steels are effected more as carbon increases.

I have never had much luck using derusters on getting bolts unstuck BUT it will help in removing them past the exposed threads. If you are going to de-rust you need to degrease first (no penetrating oil). Once the rust is removed by chemical and mechanical methods and the chemicals rinsed off with lots of water THEN apply penetrating oil.

But most of say to heck with the rust and go straight for the WD-40. It depends on the condition of the item.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/09/02 16:18:29 GMT

Carbon-tet is a very usefull and dangerous product.

My friends grandfather who recently died of cancer of EVERYTHING(literly) used carbon-tet for many things. He owned and ran a heavy machinery sales and repair shop. He would use the carbon-tet to clean parts by putting them in a vat of it, no harm there. Although when he went to wash his hands(usualy covered in grease) he would just submerse them in the stuff rub them together and proclame it the best product in the world. Saying it would just evaporate(I was never sure if he was kidding) he said it would only take seconds for the stuff to "clean" his hands. Than again this is the man who once cleaned his percolator/coffee maker with battery acid and justified it with "Well I rinsed it out!"

My own grandfather, who at 85 is still very active and healthy, used to use carbon-tet to clean massive motors at a forge plant. Unlike my buddies grandfather, mine knew exactly what carbon-tet was and what it was capable of. He would make everybody leave the shop and he would don a moon suit with his air coming from a different source than the room and spray the whole motor with the stuff. Not only did it work great, but it was the only thing that would work. When the use of carbon-tet was outlawed for what he was doing. He tried using the substitute chemical and it caught fire almost killing a few people. Including himself who went under the motor with a fire extinguisher and put it out. From then on he would use nothing but carbon-tet to clean the motors no matter what anyone said!

I just thought that these tid-bits of history were interisting and decided to share them.
   Caleb Ramsby - Wednesday, 10/09/02 18:02:31 GMT

What is needed to obtain the position of a master blacksmith? Are there test, when is it you can claim this title? Tell my the whole order or ladder that is climbed to be granted to call your self a blacksmith, thak you.
   Frederick Heist - Wednesday, 10/09/02 18:13:57 GMT

OK, Guru,

You have whetted the old trivia appetite, so what exactly is two phase power, and how do you make stuff wired for it work on single or three phase?

Is it something like regular center tapped single Phase? where you have the two hots 180 degrees out of phase with each other. . .

   John Lowther - Wednesday, 10/09/02 18:46:31 GMT

ebay new anvils:

"the question IS, Is he still missrepresenting them as having "awesome rebound", "ring" and being a "professional HD product?". "

Why as a matter of fact, yes. In fact the rest of the ad is almost verbatum from the ad with the 15#er. But the one I saw didn't sell, so I guess there is hope.
   Escher - Wednesday, 10/09/02 19:11:59 GMT

i just got an E-mail from Rich Waugh that said i won two old forge tools, download 'blame.doc' is this a new virus?
   mike-hr - Wednesday, 10/09/02 19:17:26 GMT

2 phase power was a short lived 3 wire system where 2 of the wires have signals 90 degrees apart phased. In "normal" house power (split phase 220) the two non neutral wires are 180 degrees. In 3 phase, the signals are 120 degree apart.

The advantage to the 2 phase system was that it directionally determinate. With symetrical systems (1 or 3 phased) you have to trick the motor into starting in the same direction each time. In the early days (before the shaded pole motor was invented) they hadn't figured out a way to do that.
   Stephen G - Wednesday, 10/09/02 19:43:20 GMT

I recently came by some cold-rolled steel shaft from 1" to 3" at an auction.Being new to blacksmithing, is there any particular use for this vice hotroll or other keystock?
   Scott - Wednesday, 10/09/02 20:37:03 GMT

Jock and friends
Anyone have a good recipe for carbonaceous material used in case hardening? I have heard of charred bone and wood charcoal with a few carbonates added in but I don't know where to find the various chemicals. Would just the bone and charcoal work? Also how finely granulated must this material be? Powder or roughly chopped or in between? Thanx in advance for any help.
   Rooster - Wednesday, 10/09/02 21:54:48 GMT


Charoal that comes from protien sources SEEMS to work the best according to everything I've read. Hence, bone or leather either one. Be advised that I've not done any case hardening this way, what little I've done, I used Kasenite.

As for grain size, again I'd guess that the smaller the grain, the more evenly it would pack around the part.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/09/02 22:05:18 GMT


Yes, it is a virus. I have cleaned my system, after getting and email from my brother with the same sort of header. Another of those forge-the-mail viruses. No way of knowing if it really comes from who it says, so don't open them. People who write those things should be dealt with surgically.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 10/09/02 22:18:59 GMT


Without benefit of anasthesia! I want to help. I want to administer the succecetylcholine (phonetic spelling).
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/09/02 22:45:54 GMT

paw paw, correct spelling is succinylcholine. for those deserving, surgery with "sux" only is satisfying. sorry for the digretion.

serious question. i have been "training" on specific smith techniques (drawing out, tapers, ect..) when i find the time to fire up the forge. i have been having difficulty forming scarfs. i have concluded that the upset is critical for this procedure. upseting for me is not an easy thing to do. i have tried using the leg vise, which works the best. i need to bracket the vise stand to minimize the oscillation, which is likely making it more difficult.

1) comments on above
2) scarf forming advise

thanks in advance
(CSI member in application)
   - rugg - Wednesday, 10/09/02 23:48:18 GMT

paw paw, correct spelling is succinylcholine. for those deserving, surgery with "sux" only is satisfying. sorry for the digretion.

serious question. i have been "training" on specific smith techniques (drawing out, tapers, ect..) when i find the time to fire up the forge. i have been having difficulty forming scarfs. i have concluded that the upset is critical for this procedure. upseting for me is not an easy thing to do. i have tried using the leg vise, which works the best. i need to bracket the vise stand to minimize the oscillation, which is likely making it more difficult.

1) comments on above
2) scarf forming advise

thanks in advance
(CSI member in application)
   - rugg - Wednesday, 10/09/02 23:48:52 GMT

Man is my bottom sore from that big spanking. Sorry guru, didnt mean to touch you off. For the record, it is not my shop, it is a friends and I am only trying to help him out. I have adressed the fact that the shop amperage is not enough to be efficient, but the shop is old and seems to be on the verge of being replaced along with the Hammer in which the motor is powering. So I guess it is only out of curiosity I ask these questions to better understand the things I should and shouldnt do in life. Sorry again O great one, and get some sleep so you dont bite me again, that hurts!....( smile )-Scott
   wolfsmithy - Wednesday, 10/09/02 23:49:01 GMT


Thank you, I couldn't remember the correct spelling and neither could my daughter (LPN). Just remembered that it would be a good medication for the surgical procedure that vicopper and I were discussing.

I won't describe the effects, but you may, if you wish. (viscious grin)

The only advice I can give you about upsetting is practice, practice, practice. Upsetting can be a very upsetting process!
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/10/02 00:18:08 GMT

Wolf, sorry. . . been one of those days. The PO lost a package of Kaowool and I had to go to Fedex to replace it. Also had several other orders to get out. ITC and Kaowool are selling well and not just to the blacksmiths.

Rugg your check arrived. Will get you setup shortly! Thank you.

Upsetting and Scarfs: This is one of those areas where the only trick is forge time and practice, practice. The big problem is that it requires both good hammer technique AND good specific muscular development. Many thing I used to be able to do I can do no longer because I spend much TOO much time in front of the PC. . . Most of the needed strength is in the wrists and lower arm. It takes quick sharp blows not heavy slow ones. A small hammer is actually better than a bigger one but you have to move that small hammer faster. . . Upsetting is THE Olympic event of forging. Machines do it much better.

On light stock you support it on the anvil with the end just off the corner and drive it back toward you. If you strike at a very slight downward angle the anvil and friction help hold the work but most of the force still goes into your off hand or tongs. Rotate the work between blows to keep it straight. Crown the work as you go then strike the crown. The focused energy of the blow in the small end is more efficient than hiting a big flat end. Using fast blows its 1,2,3,4,crown 1,2,3,4 crown (end).

On heavier pieces the stock is used as its own hammer and driven down into an upsetting block on the anvil or floor depending on the length of the work. Swage blocks are often used for this. On really big material you clamp it to a weld platen and go at it with sledge hammers.

This is the kind of hammering that either makes you stronger or you end up with a bad shoulders and elbows.

IF all else fails work on smaller stock. For a couple years I made all may firplace tools out of 3/8" square and round. It is much easier to work than 1/2". After developing the needed muscles then you can work larger stock. The problem with the needed muscle tone for moving steel fast is that you don't get it and keep it working part time and it goes away rapidly when you don't practice.

It looks like magic when you watch folks like Peter Ross or Bill Epps work. It HELPS to know all the steps but things that they can do in one heat may take you four or five.

Genetics is also a factor. I'm one of those folks that no matter how hard I worked or what I do my muscles do not develope a great deal. For a couple years I did tire change work commericaly. . I could toss big 1970's Cadilac wheels and tires around like they were toy tires. . . I spent a couple years building stone walls. . . Then smithing. I was strong but you couldn't find a muscle buldge on me. Some folks are naturaly muscular and it is much easier for them to pratice a little and suddenly have good forging abilities. So lets design and build that universal mini shop upsetter for us whimps!
   - guru - Thursday, 10/10/02 00:39:33 GMT

Dear guru, I am in selfemployed in the railing business. I am interested in educating myself in forging fish tail scrolls. I recently purchased a gas forge and have a 10 ton arbour press. Would I be able to heat half inch square bar then pinch the ends in a press, what is your recommendation. Thank-you
   michael - Thursday, 10/10/02 01:36:27 GMT

2PH AC Stephan G. Thanks! I figured it was something like that. I know that the little one ton electric hoist I have that is labled 2PH was wired and working on 3PH. I suspect for some applications it works.

The "directionally determinate" part I did NOT know and it makes a lot of sense. One of the features we built into our all our portable equipment (after the first set) was "phase proofing". A phase direction relay was used to reverse the logic of the controls and limit switches. We had some very close calls because the electricians at the power plants we supplied machines to couldn't hook up a 3PH machine twice and get it right. So we had to fool proof them.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/10/02 02:16:33 GMT

Michael, You will just have to try it, but I suspect you don't have enough power. Normally forging is done with power hammers or hydraulic presses. The impact of even a small hammer is force in many tons and hydraulic presses for forging start at hundreds of tons. There are also flypresses used for forging that give a similar effect to your arbor press but again create much more force.

Fishtail scrolls require a lot of material displacement. The more you displace the metal the force it takes. Fishtail scrolls are also forged directionaly spreading the metal. It is possible with multiple die impressions but doubtfull in a single impression. In two stages the first would fuller width wise at the taper angle making a groove in the center of the stock and pushing the metal sideways. The second would flatten the results of the first. The center fuller is attractive and would not need to be completely pressed out. It would also take a lot of force to completly flatten at a taper. Good fishtail scrolls have a thin wide end that is often the result of forging down in a concave surface rather than flat. The thin end cools very quickly in the dies and force goes up rapidly.

Using a small power hammer (25 pounds up) a skilled smith can turn these parts out easily in one heat producing hundreds a day and accurate to 1/8" or less. Using a 100 pound power hammer they can probably be made in a die in one heat by an un-skilled smith at a slightly higher rate than the skilled smith without dies. In the die the accuracy would be around 1/32" or less. The big difference here is that the skilled smith can probably make the needed parts in the time that it takes to make a die. Unless you need these parts in quantities greater than 500 then making a die is not worth it unless you think it will be a repeat job.

Dies for simple hot production work of mild steel can be made of mild steel unless the the quantities are in multiples of thousands. Often an original is made by hand and then used to hot form a die under the power hammer. A little dressing with a die grinder and a file and it is ready to go. Most dies of this type are made to be clamped on a flat hammer die (no fancy dovetails or machining).
   - guru - Thursday, 10/10/02 02:52:37 GMT

I'm trying to find more information on Little Giant power hammers, other than the Manzer video(which is very good) and the book by Kern. Are there other resources?
Also, I would like to try using some bronze, or brass in a piece. Is there any forgeable brass? At online metals, they have silicon bronze 655(i think). Thanks a lot.
   Kevin C - Thursday, 10/10/02 04:20:40 GMT

Kayne & Son (advertizing at this site) carry a fishtail scroll end die for around $35.00. Might be worth trying. Does a nice job on 1/2 inch square to.

P.S.: don't tell anyone that I manufacture said product! Remember: you didn't hear it from me!
   - grant - Thursday, 10/10/02 04:26:34 GMT


Silicon bronze forges quite well. VERY dull red, but fairly easy to judge the heat once you get used to it. You'll lose a few pieces getting used to it, but it just takes practice.
   - grant - Thursday, 10/10/02 04:31:08 GMT

Frederick, What is a master blacksmith? What follows are a few tidbits I've gathered on the hoof (no heavy research). In the U.S., since there are no apprenticeships, except perhaps unionized ones, you call yourself a master whenever you want to do so. I did so in my first printed school brochure, since I figured it sounded pretty good. Better than calling yourself a dipstick.

If you transport yourself backwards 200 years, the master was a proprietor. He might've been Captain Cob Job in terms of work produced, but he owned the shop. It was the journeyman who was the full fledged smith. I understand that in Germany, one does not make a masterpiece as a test; one makes a journeyman's piece. You translate "gesellstück" as journeyman's piece.

In Europe, I believe the apprenticeships are six to eight years in length, but that sometimes includes high school classes in mechanical drawing, math, etc.

Keith Austin (deceased) served a blade smithing apprenticeship in Japan and said that it lasted nine
years. HOWEVER, since they don't have weekends in Japan, he only got two days off in nine years. Add that up! When asked why he got the two days off, he said, "Because the master took them off".

So if you've never served a formal apprenticeship, I suppose you could call yourself a master when your self esteem warrented such approbation. There is a difference between holding yourself in high esteem and just having a big head.

   Frank Turley - Thursday, 10/10/02 04:49:30 GMT

I have been running my forge for the past 10 years with propane from 5, 7, & 10 gallen bottles. I had no problems attaining welding heat etc. Now, this year I changed all the valves to comply with the new regs & every thing freezes up! The bottle, the regulator, the line for a distance of 10' or so. Nothing will flow etc. I did get it to work by running water over the bottle constantly but what a mess. I was running the pressure @ 4 lbs. I have not tried to push it on up to the 7lb level that I usually use for welding. Question: What is going on with this valve change & how do I overcome this problem? I don't see that I can run water over the bottles for 6-7 hrs/day. I can't swim!!
   TJT - Thursday, 10/10/02 04:53:49 GMT

guru, i wouldnt consider myself a wimp, but it is hard to hold onto a 1000g hammer after a couple of hours. until i can forge several times a week, the endurance problem will continue. i will continue to practice forming upsets and scarfs. thanks for the advise... hard to concentrate heat with a gas forge, at least in my hands...vulcan fire pot on the way....
   rugg - Thursday, 10/10/02 06:09:36 GMT


To help with the hammer control and forearm power, carry a rubber ball (like a racquetball) around with you. When you're just sitting, take out the ball and rythmically squeeze it in your hand. Switch hands when one gets tired. If you do it with your arm held straight out in front of you, it also works the shoulder muscles a little bit. If you so this regularly, you'll be surprised at how much it helps. The excercise builds strength and stamina in the forearm muscles. When these are stronger, you feel more confident and relaxed and you don't "strangle" the hammer so much, so you don't tire nearly as easily.

For those who only hammer irregularly, it really pays to spend the first five minutes of a session just pounding on a piece of plywood layed on the anvil. Mark a spot on it and aim for that spot...exactly. This will improve hammer control and confidence immensely. Drinking plenty of water helps too, as it flushes out the lactic acid buildup in your muscle tissue. That lactic acid buildup is what makes you feel tired and cramped.
   vicopper - Thursday, 10/10/02 11:49:33 GMT

Blacksmithing, Musculature and Body Types

Looking at historic portraits and photographs of the actual blacksmiths of the last two centuries they seem to fall into three categories: big and blocky, thin and stringy, folks in-between. I haven't done a statistical analysis (which would certainly be fun) but I would say that the thin and stringy types predominate, followed by the big and blocky, with other body types a distant third. Lord knows it does tend to develop your arms, shoulders and grip, and even working part-time everybody at work uses me to open recalcitrant jars and bottles. Still, I had much more upper body development when lifting weights on a regular basis.

Of course, in non-portrait art they all tend to be our image of the "mighty man" of Longfellow's poem, but if you look at actual photos and portraits, you'll see what I mean.

Finally raining on the banks of the Potomac. Should end in time for Hastings this weekend.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Hastings XXXIV: http://www.larp.com/midgard/faire.html , or at www.markland.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 10/10/02 13:33:56 GMT

DMSO test results:
3 equally rusted bolts... B'laster did the best followed by WD-40 then DMSO. It did free up the bolt but not worth the extra effort handling it. Stay with the other ( not so invasive) products.
   Gronk - Thursday, 10/10/02 15:29:10 GMT


Thanks for the report. That's good information to know, and I'm glad to see my opinion about B'Laster confirmed.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/10/02 15:52:54 GMT

Hello, I am doing a project for school on blacksmithing in ancient England, and through my research i have found out that it has changed alot over the years, but i was hoping you could perhaps email me some sites that would be of use, or direct me to where i could find pictures as well, i am at a loss for resources. Thank you very much!!

   Cat - Thursday, 10/10/02 16:16:34 GMT

Bruce, when I began hobby smithing I was amazed to discover that smithing is as much about thinking as it was about beating iron. I quickly learned that every hammerblow counts and needs appropropriate forethought. Designs must be made consistent with skill and technical abilities. Smithing is every bit a thinking persons profession. I would prefer to think of the typical blacksmith as a highly intelligent, though perhaps somewhat wirey, person with a few big brutes for strikers1
   Quenchcrack - Thursday, 10/10/02 16:36:23 GMT

Cat; by "ancient England" do you mean Roman England and before?

There are several sources to read for Roman ironwork in England; perhaps looking at the bibliography of "Metallurgy in Archeology" by Tylecote would be a good place to start. At the Museum in Bath there is a roman anvil and a carved stone dipictation of a smith. Finding out Celtic ironworking in England is a bit harder with most things being brief mentions in other books.

There is a website www.clyes.clara.net/essays/ferrum.html that has a nice bit on Roman ironworking and a *Bibliography* of suggested sources and suggested further reading sources. I strongly suggest you try to find some of those sources!

Now if you meant early medieval instead of ancient there is a lot more stuff out there!

Thomas (start looking at bibliographies of books that have something in them and doing ILL (inter library loans---see the library's reference desk)
   - Thomas Powers - Thursday, 10/10/02 16:51:01 GMT

Fishtail Scroll Die Whoops. . . Grant, I forgot you made that one. You make so darn many!!!

Master Smith: Frederick, Frank pretty much covered it. In Germany to teach a subject you had to be a Master. I think there is still a program there where you can earn your Master's papers.

In the past, particularly in Europe, the apprenticeship systems were controlled by Guilds and often supported by governments in law. In the US the apprentice system ended with end of slavery because a classic 7 year apprenticeship was considered a form of indentured servitude regulated in law.
Amendment XIII to the U.S. Constitution:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been
duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
This made old type apprentice contracts impossible to enforce and also struck down the laws regulating apprenticeships (runaway apprentice laws were similar to runaway slave laws). Without them there was no longer a legal definition of "Master" in many trades.

Today, in the US in some fields (plumbers, electricians) local governments issue licenses to tradesmen based on their having completed some form of training including work experiance. This is often coupled to either Union or local trade association programs but also includeds passing written tests. In some industries they have an Apprentice, Journeyman, Master system. These are generaly company specific programs that may or may not be recognized by other businesses OR other area governments.

Since blacksmithing almost died out in North America as an essential trade in the 1960's government entities took no interest in regulating the field. Like many unregulated fields in the U.S. you can stand up one day and say "I am a blacksmith" and "poof!" you are one (regardless of experiance or training). Even such sensitive trades as Locksmithing are still unregulated in most areas. It wasn't until New York developed the first locksmithing licensing law in the late 1970's that there were any comprehensive laws regulating the field.

I would not have the audacity to declare myself a "Master Smith" although others may called me that. My title of "guru" was given to me by some others when I was answering blacksmithing questions on another site before I launched anvilfire.

There has been some discussion among the members of CSI about creating an apprentice/master program and I am sure the subject has come up at ABANA over the years. But such programs are difficult to administer, decisions are often political and judgements subjective (like artistic events in the Olympics). I suspect most folks that have been asked to be involved in such a system have realized the problems and declined to be involved.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/10/02 16:52:42 GMT


You'll never meet a stupid blacksmith. Most are intelligent, honest, (to a higher degree than the average) opinionated, (MUCH more so than normal) and stubborn.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/10/02 16:56:38 GMT

Little Giants: ABANA (I think) carries a series of videos by Clifton Ralph. Or maybe he sells them direct. I probly need to track him down. . .

Otherwise there is not much on forging with them in general. OLD forging industrial manuals show many techniques that are applicable to small hammers but they quickly move on to big closed die subjects and other types of machines.

But the problem is that most machine forging techniques are very difficult to manage on the the little (25 and 50 pound) hammers that run much too fast and are often dificult to control. It is actually easier to forge anything (including small work) on 100 pound (45 kilo) hammers and up. Small fast hammers are primarily drawing machines and great for making LONG tapers. You can often look at a smith's work and tell what kind of hammer he has. Detailed work using hand held tools that need just a few controled blows are rarely found in work done on small mechanical hammers. This work is almost always done on air hammers of one type or the other.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/10/02 17:07:34 GMT

Good news, I found a cast steel anvil roughly about 250 lb. for about $150, rings well, and everything is in good condition. Only strange thing I can find is that it doesn't have any markings on it anymore. I'm buying it off an Antique dealer that deals specificaly in tools. Another cool thing they have (that I still have no clue what I'd do with) is a swage block, I putter about and like to make things, but I still have yet to figure out what it's for, on the bright side it looks to be in REALLY good condition. If any of you are nearby (or want to make the trip to) Bar Harbor, Maine, you can get a really nifty swage block!
   Marc - Thursday, 10/10/02 19:49:03 GMT

Paw-Paw, I would completely agree with you. But you left out creative, generous, willing to teach anyone who is willing to learn, totally intolerant of pomposity and arrogance (except in a smith who has proven themselves a master, maybe) and suspicious of engineers!
   Quenchcrack - Thursday, 10/10/02 21:45:52 GMT

Unmarked Anvils: Marc, this is fairly common. Manufacturers in the U.S. commonly made special order anvils AND anvils to be trade named by the likes of Sears and Roebuck. Marking the anvil was left up to the reseller. Often they were stenciled or marked some other way that did not last. Experts can often identify these anvils by the style and minor details. London pattern anvils may all look the same to the average person but every manufacturer had slight differences that can be used to identify them.

Swage Blocks are used for all types of things. The holes for punching and upsetting, grooves as bottom swages or to support work while chiseling OR making shaped bar OR dressing a tennon. The big holes can be used for dishing and some blocks have spoon and ladle shapes. They are not used as much as anvils but when you need one you need one. Used they are rarer than anvils and sell for more per pound. They are available new but often the old ones are intresting patterns that are different than what is available.

Masters, Guilds and Licensing One really peculiar thing about licensing if that every state in the U.S. will accept a doctor's license on face value (oftne a big mistake) but requires engineer's to be tested and licensed in that state. A Professional Engineer (PE) in Virginia can sign off on a piece of work or a job in California BUT that PE cannot move to California and setup shop. Weird Universe. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 10/10/02 22:09:35 GMT

QC, OK, I'll accept those descriptive additons. (grin)
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/10/02 22:10:06 GMT

i need a school report on a blacksmith
   nicole - Thursday, 10/10/02 22:23:56 GMT

Dear Guru,
Im a begining smith and have had problems with iron rusting over I was wondering if there was anyway to turn my iron into steel. Mostly I am using scrap iron from frying pans, old cars, and re-bar? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
   Davin - Thursday, 10/10/02 22:25:33 GMT

History of Blacksmithing: Cat, Thomas is right, hit the library.

But you will find that the basics of blacksmithing have not changed since BEFORE the iron age. Bronze age technique still applys. Heat the metal, support it on anvil and hit it with a hammer.

Methods of heating have changed but the most ancient methods are still in common use. Charcoal fuel in a fire pit blown by a bellows. During the industrial revolution coal largely replaced charcoal and blowers replaced bellows but the results are the same. A mostly pure carbon fuel has air blown on it making it hot enough to melt the metal (including iron and steel) if necessary. Today gas and oil fired forges are common but so are bellows blown charcoal forges.

Anvils have changed in style and materials have improved but the basics of an anvil are, a heavy mass that does not move when the work is struck with a hammer, a strong enough material to withstand the blows without denting or chipping, a flat smooth work surface with optional special shapes. In the Bronze age anvils were stone (often granit) and bronze. Iron age anvils started as soft iron or cast iron blocks and then were replaced by soft iron with tool steel faces. Modern anvils are either all forged or cast tool steel and very hard. Anvil shapes vary with need but practicaly all anvils have a flat surface. Sawyer's anvils are a big block with no other feature other than a flat face. Blacksmith's anvils with a horn developed to support horseshoers or farriers and became standard because the horn was useful for many other purposes. A hole square called a hardy hole was added to anvils to support small tools and later a round hole was added for punching nail holes in horse shoes. Although the "London" pattern is considered standard in many places, there are many other types in use particularly in Europe.

Up until the Industrial Revolution in the 1700's and 1800's blacksmithing changed very little. The Industrial Revolution saw a reduction in the cost of steel thus anvils became larger. Many new machines and devices were added to what was available to the smith and the advance continues with smiths using plasma torches and lasers guided by computer.

But the act of forging iron and steel at an anvil has changed very little in 3500 years.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/10/02 22:32:58 GMT

Gavin, you are actually not working with iron. Most of that stuff is already steel. I'm not sure about the frying pan, though. It might be cast iron. Stick with the auto parts and re-bar for now. If you are experiencing rust AFTER you forge the piece, try applying some wax or oil to the piece when it is still hot, but not hot enought to make the wax catch fire. Wire Brush it real good from a red heat until the color is gone and the surface is shiney. Beeswax is a traditional finish but it is expensive (the bees must have lost a bundle in the market). You can use vegetable oil, linseed oil, Johnsons paste wax, etc. Just take care that the iron is not too hot or you get a lot of smoke and maybe a fire.
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 10/10/02 23:18:43 GMT

Nicole, We DO NOT do your homework for you. There is lots of information here if you look around. Try our story page to start.

RUST: Davin, Iron rusts, eventualy to dust. That's life. Use paint that is what it was invented for. Waxes and oils work but are temporary and need constant replacement or maintenance.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/10/02 23:29:45 GMT

I'm trying to get advice on what to use for a sealer on a fireplace screen. The mesh is not stainless but rather a carbon steel wire.
   dale - Friday, 10/11/02 02:08:37 GMT


Anvilfire now has a foto gallery. You are all invited to join. Go to


When you get there, type Anvilfire into the Search block.

Then join the group. The system will send me a message and I will
approve your membership. That's all there is to it.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 10/11/02 02:32:21 GMT

Metalurgy question.This is not blacksmith related,Danyl told me that you would probably know about it. I am interested in building a folding kayak(Thomas Yost TDY16)THe design calls for 3/4"dia.6061T6 x.049 wall aluminum tubing.I have a source for 7/8"dia.3003-0 x.049 wall for a close out price.3003-0 aluminum is not usualy available in tube form.Do you have any opinions or advise concerning this alloy?
   malcolm - Friday, 10/11/02 04:46:40 GMT

Think of the swage block (believed to have been invented one slow day in the shop in 1325 by Josiah Swage) as a handy constellation of negative, or empty, shapes, held conveniently together by a sturdy matrix of cast iron or steel. It is a tool of many uses: ideal for sorting parts, keeping the 6011 apart from the 6013, baking muffins, holding the door open, bracing up a leaning wall, as a base for bickerns and other such implements, and, upon occasion, when all else fails, for swaging. That is, the smith, desperate to find something shaped just right for inserting a piece of hot iron that needs to be swaged, suddenly recalls that she has, by golly, a swage block over there that might just.... Yes! It has! It's got a little itsy-bitsy declivity that is just the right size and shape for beating the living bejesus out of this rapidly cooling iron in, and so... she... hauls it out of the corner, sticks the iron in and... Yowsuh! There it is! Done! Perfecto! Just FYI, one was going for $1,500 (yup, one thou, five hunnerd! I did not say it sold for that, but...)at a Tools as Art show in a Santa Fe gallery a few years back. So: Y'all scurry on back to that shop, now, you hear, and DEAL! before that man realizes what he has for sale.
   miles undercut - Friday, 10/11/02 05:00:28 GMT

smiths.. most I have met have fallin in one of two types ... big barrel chested viking looking folk,(me) or lanky wiry skiny folk(not ME).. the attatudes are about the same..
just joined up for the photo thingy...
   MP - Friday, 10/11/02 05:21:49 GMT

I'm a stone sculptor who uses the normal array of hand-tools (ie. points, chisels, claws, etc) made of hardened steel and carbide-tipped steel (for working granite)... am seeing more tools marketed as 'made of chromium-vanadium'... What actually is this combination, what are its properties and advantages/disadvantages in handtools, best way to sharpen and quench?...
Appreciate your help and info. Thanks
   Gene - Friday, 10/11/02 09:52:03 GMT

I"m writing a book about prehistoric Britain (around the time the Celts brought ironworking from the mainland). I've been trying to learn as much as I can about the primative smelting of bronze and iron.
My question: I understand that lime is added to iron ore during smelting but I can't find why. What does lime contribute to the process and how early was that innovation introduced?
   Rod_Hill - Friday, 10/11/02 12:07:27 GMT

Malcolm, 3003-0 is a Manganese-Aluminum alloy, 0 designates it is fully annealed and dead soft. Tensile strength = 14-19 ksi, Yield strength is 5 ksi, % Elongation is 18%. 6061-T6 is a Magnesium-Silicon-Aluminum alloy in the solution annealed and artificially aged condition. Tensile stength is 42 ksi, Yield is 35 ksi, % Elongation is 12%. The 3003-0 does not sound like a good substitute to me. PS, this information courtesy of the Metals Red Book, Published by Casti Publishing.
   Quenchcrack - Friday, 10/11/02 12:14:35 GMT


Lime, usually in the form of crushed sea shells was added to the melting iron so it would combine with and carry off the impurities in the iron. In other words, the lime served as a flux.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 10/11/02 13:56:18 GMT

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

BTW, I call it my "Hey Buddy"
   robcostello - Friday, 10/11/02 15:02:25 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 (last week's archive).
   - guru - Friday, 10/11/02 16:07:48 GMT

Contact the fraud division of eBay as Slag suggested. This is a clear case of fraud, and they will take disciplinary action.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 10/11/02 16:28:43 GMT

You have to wait 30 days to go to step two (after email contact with the seller). But no more than 60 days. Seems to be eBay really doesn't care when fraud occurs. In thirty days this person will have sold to hundreds of others.
   - guru - Friday, 10/11/02 16:32:52 GMT

Send a registered letter to the Attorney General of Virginia (the state where you are currently, resident).
Laying out the facts of your E-Bay experience. Also send E, the Federal Attorney General, and the Federal Trade Commission a copy of that letter (by regular mail). Also send E-Bay copies of all that correspondence sent to them.
You do not have to wait any 30 days when an ongoing series of fraud is being perpetrated against numerous members of the public.
Material facts were stated by the buyer, ( anvil ring, bounce etc.), which are not true. Any sale induced by those misrepresentations (legally called "deceit"), constitutes fraud. No party hasn a right to allow an unscrupulous seller a 30 day holiday to repeat the tort (or crime, it is both). Not E-Bay nor any other seller.
E-Bay has responded favourably to various complaints lodged by several Attorneys' General several states for a number of trade misconduct cases. They have co-operated with them. (to their credit).
   slag - Friday, 10/11/02 17:03:53 GMT

Jock, I read all of that stuff about the little double horned ASO. I didn't mean for anyone to buy it, just look at it. That's why I said the price was way off. I wanted to show a picture of an anvil that's "Not that bad" without the picture, someone may buy the wrong one. Ours are holding up well. As I said in my post, we bought ours from Bage industries for $67. Censorship is not good in America my friend, but its your call, you are the GURU.
Looking forward to meeting you in Staunton next week!
   robcostello - Friday, 10/11/02 17:36:49 GMT

Rob, In this case I didn't consider it censorship. Just didn't want to advertise the fellow's sale. Send me some photos of the anvils you bought and I'll post them with some others on various cheap anvils.

Slag, I'm sure you are right. But eBay's complaint form says wait 30 days. Then go through arbitration with www.squaretrade.com, THEN send complaints. . .
   - guru - Friday, 10/11/02 17:44:25 GMT

The guy mis-representing the cast iron anvils on eBay may have more than one identity. Some guy using the handle frankie8acres has at least two of the 55 lb. door stops for sale for .99 + $17+change shipping. I've sent him email, will see what he has to say. Give him credit, he did not use the "great ring and rebound" line in his add. But he did call it cast steel when it is really cast iron.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 10/11/02 18:13:07 GMT

Swage Block. All seriousness aside, a few other uses are:
0 as a bolster to remove a bushing or collar from a shaft;
0 as a bolster for back-punching and through-drifting when the punched hole is bigger than the hardie hole;
0 laying it flat at floor level when jumping up a long bar (jumping the bar up and down for upsetting);
0 as a bending device by inserting a bar and using leverage.

At present, I can't think of any more, especially while seated.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 10/11/02 18:17:50 GMT

I'm doing research on careers, and I chose bladesmithing. What is the average salary of a bladesmith? Thank you!

-UltimaChaos 416
   UltimaChaos 416 - Friday, 10/11/02 19:07:47 GMT

Dear GURU I recently purchased a anvil with OH SS on it do you know this maker ?
   - Stealman - Friday, 10/11/02 19:52:06 GMT

there are bladesmiths and then there are bladesmiths ...of the high end makers (mabe the top 15%) I would guess that they make up to 6 figures ... as for the rest of us ... not so much.. from those that I know I would say that it is all dependant on the maker..
   MP - Friday, 10/11/02 20:33:11 GMT


Not enough information to work with. Scrub down the sides with a scotchbrite pad, also the foot, under the horn. See if there is any more information that you can see. Might do a rubbing of the sides, you can sometimes see more information that way. If all else fails, take pictures of both side, the front and the back, the top and the bottom and send them to me, I'll try to help.
   Paw Paw - Friday, 10/11/02 21:45:28 GMT

Bladesmiths UltimaChaos416, One thing MP left out is those top bladesmiths have masters and doctorates in metallurgy (art, engineering) or the eqivalent in self education PLUS years of experiance AND are consumate craftfolk. At the other end of the scale is 10,000 or more backyard bladesmiths making "Damascus" and other blades of various quality either as a hobby or a side business where they don't have to make a living out of it and if they added up their hours they earn much less than minimum wage. The guys with 6 to 10 years of education are competing with these guys. And THEN there is the poor guy sitting in the dirt in Pakistan or India using a sledge hammer for an anvil and working for pennies a day. OR the Chinese factory where the wages are not much better but they they have machinery to increase the production. . . They ALL sell blades in the Western markets.

The vast majority of bladesmiths and blacksmiths are self employed entrepreneurs. They work alone, banks will not loan them start up money or finance a shop. They do EVERYTHING from design and manufacturing to sales, bookeeping and taxes. Most are starving artists or have another job (wife or family) to support their "business".

Most would not have it any other way. But it is not a life for everyone and it is hard on family, friends and marriages. And I think MP missed the income at the top, that might be for the top handful of folks out of thousands.
   - guru - Friday, 10/11/02 22:52:57 GMT

bill epps, saw your tongs on the auction page. did you sell them? still want to? i tried to contact you through the auction...thanks
   rugg - Friday, 10/11/02 23:11:39 GMT

I want to know if the kaowool advertised in anvilfire is heavy enough when rated at only 2400 degrees. The old school that I came from said to use 2600 for atmospheric forges. Just wondering 'cause I'm getting ready to build a long box for "long" heats. I don't use napom like paw-paw.
   KGB (NO-NECK) - Friday, 10/11/02 23:12:23 GMT


All right, KGB! Stop giving away my secrets!
   Paw Paw - Friday, 10/11/02 23:31:16 GMT


Found this on a random search of the internet. Says they are hardened to RW of 50. Is that actually a good hardness for an anvil? And is 4.11 a pound a good price for a new anvil? I'd never even considered BUYING a NEW anvil.. if you can't make it, or buy it used.. I can't afford it.

Robert "Asgard"
HPL Steele
Actually kept it reasonably brief this time.
   - Robert - Friday, 10/11/02 23:50:28 GMT

Kaowool: That is the top quality stuff. It is the same thing as is used in NC-TOOL forge doors and is rated higher than the stuff used in the preformed shell liner. It is actually rated lower for continous use but it is what everyone uses.

There are two higher rated blanket materials, Cerachem and Cerachrome. These are used in industrial high temperature applications. I do not know if they are available in small lots. They have a +200°F higher rating but they have the same 3200°F melting point of the Cereblanket (what we carry in 1"). I can check Monday on its availability.

ITC-100 has a much higher working temperature and not only protects the Kaowool from mechanical damage and spreading dust but gives it a higher temperature resistant surface. Melting point of the ITC-100 is between 4,000 and 5,000°F. It is commonly used to coat electric heating elements in kilns. These get much hotter than the kiln itself.

In small furnaces and forges the Kaowool has such good insulating properties that the full furnace temperature is not seen by more than the surface of the insulation. There is a steep gradient betwwen the inside surface and the outside surface. Coating inside surface with a highly reflective hard ceramic coating like ITC-100 further reduces the exposure.

Many folks recommend coating the Kaowool with a refractory plaster and then coating that with ITC-100. Most of these come premixed in HEAVY 5 Gal. steel pails. I asked about smaller containers but that is the norm. We carry two ITC products designed to patch and resurface refractories (ITC-148 and 200) but I have not yet had a chance to experiment with them.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/12/02 00:24:15 GMT

NIMBA ANVILS: Robert, NIMBA is a former advertiser (in good standing) and we still have them listed in our Advertisers Directory. Their's is a reasonable price for a top quality American made cast steel anvil. It is comprable in price to the forged steel Peddinghaus. However, there are many imported Western European anvils being imported for a little over half that price per pound.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/12/02 00:31:03 GMT

Robert/HPL, I seem to remember you're in Tennessee. You may be interested in a guy in Columbia (you might could pick it up and save shipping). I met him at Tannehill and bought an anvil from him. I'm very pleased with the anvil. Unfortunately I can't find the paperwork with the website and phone right now. Try a Google search for "czech anvil".

   - SteveA - Saturday, 10/12/02 00:36:41 GMT

Guru - 50 is good then? Now I have something to compare things to when I'm looking around.

Steve - I will do just that! Saving is good.

Thanks all.
   - Robert - Saturday, 10/12/02 03:27:57 GMT

50 Rockwell is toward the low end of hardness for top quality anvils. NIMBA's used to be 48. Forged steel anvils are often harder in small sizes but larger ones run softer due to heat treating problems. It also better that a large anvil that has heavy sledges used on it be softer to reduce chipping and the bullet fast hard steel shards that result. Most of Nimba's anvils are in the large class. Cast steel anvils are often tempered softer than forged due to chipping problems. Kohlswa (a Swedish cast steel anvil) used to make theirs 55-57 HRC but they have a serious chipping problem.

Most OLD anvils were all made way before there were hardness standards or testing methods other than testing with a file. They were usualy made as hard as the plain carbon steel would allow. Modern alloy steels harden deeper than plain carbon steels so it is easier to get a good hard face without making it as hard as they did in the past.

The only published anvil hardness comparison that I know of is on our article on the 21st Century page, Anvils 5: Testing Rebound. This uses our formalized steel ball test. To get good results you have to drop the ball from a known reference height and carefully measure the rebound. You have to squat down so you are looking perpendicular to the measuring device and across the travel of the ball. It takes numerous tries because it is hard to see where the moving ball stops traveling UP and starts back down. The first time you don't know where to look so you usualy miss the first attempt. Tests also vary depending on where you are on the anvil. I generaly report the results from over the body and usualy average the results.

Several sellers of imported anvils drop a ball on an anvil from an indeterminate height and then guess at the results. In fact the ball is often thrown at the anvil. I had one fellow insist that he got 110% to 120% rebound. This is impossible. Either the ball was thrown, the starting height was unknown (hand moving) or they didn't know how to calculate percentage and did the math backwards. I've seen several people do rough tests and I would bet on the thrown ball (all it takes is a snap of the wrist). The point? Unless our method is carefully followed the results are worthless.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/12/02 14:26:10 GMT

NEW PROPANE VALVE PROBLEMS: TJT, We have had only one other report of this problem. It sounds like you are getting liquid fuel in the valve, regulator and lines.
An industry standard, adopted in 1995 at the urging of CPSC, provided for several safety features in the gas grills, hoses, and connections. The safety standard calls for a device to limit the flow of gas if the hose ruptures; a mechanism to shut off the grill if it overheats; and a device to prevent the flow of gas if the connection between tank and grill is not leak-proof.
It seems to me that some of these requirements are impossible to meet with replaceable tanks, however "a device to limit the flow of gas" may be an orifice or something reducing maximum flow.

But this would prevent liquid fuel from getting in the lines. You said you "changed valves"? Did you do the job yourself? Installation is supposed to be done by trained personel, the work certified and the tank (collar) stamped to indictate the work was performed correctly and inspected. Technicaly it is ilegal to refill the tank if a do-it yourselfer installed the valves. Among other things every size cylinder requires a different valve with different length overfill tube.
New cylinders or used cylinders that have been exposed to the atmosphere must be purged of air before being filled.
The presence of moisture in the fuel may cause the regulator to freeze up. The following suggestions may help you prevent regulator freeze-ups and allow moisture to pass harmlessly through the regulator.
  • Always keep the cylinder (or container) valve closed and POL plug in place when not in use to prevent moisture from collecting inside the container.
  • If you suspect the presence of moisture, your propane dealer can inject methyl alcohol into your cylinder (or container) before filling.
The cylinder purge also keeps moisture from the air from being trapped in the cylinder unless it has condensed. Fuel that is contaminated with water will also freeze up. The purge is an important part of the process and is expensive and time consuming. It is ONE of the reasons new tanks with OEM valves are cheaper (or close to the same cost) as having the valves replaced by a certified technician.

So. . there could be a number of problems. Are you running the same forge? My big fan blown forge will not run more than a couple hours on two 30 pound cylinders running in tandem. However, the cylinders freeze up, not the lines.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/12/02 17:47:02 GMT

I've been hanging out with a local blacksmithing club near where I live. Some of them are into making knifes and they keep mentioning numbers for there metal that they are using. I think that it has something to do with the carbon content of the metal. So what do those numbers mean.
   Tim/Journyman - Saturday, 10/12/02 19:41:17 GMT

Tim/Journyman, What trade are you a Journyman at?
   - Robert ironworker - Saturday, 10/12/02 20:04:13 GMT

Tim, The first two numbers, assuming it is not stainless, indicates the alloy group. E.g., 10 = plain carbon steel, 15 = Manganese steel, 41 = chromium-molybdenum steel, etc. The second two numbers indicate the nominal carbon content.
E.g. 95 = .95% carbon. The two numbers together indicate the alloy system and the carbon conctent, e.g. 1095 is a plain carbon steel with .95% carbon. If they are using stainless steel, there is a whole different numbering system that makes absolutely no sense even to metallurgists. Generally the 300 series is austenitic, the 400 series can be ferritic or martensitic. Not all stainless steels can be hardened to make knives.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 10/12/02 21:21:09 GMT

Hi! I am in a high school metalworking class, and within the next week we will be making projects. How would you go about making a pair of hand saws (crosscut and ripsaw)?
Not just the basic shape of the blade but the cutting of the teeth and sharpening. Please keep in mind that my resources are limited, but we do have a small gas forge (not temperature controlled) anvil, welding equipment and basic metalworking machines and tools. Do you think you could help me out?
   - Steven - Saturday, 10/12/02 22:20:34 GMT

I am building a welding table and have thought about welding a bolt to the bottom and attatching the work/ground lead to that with a seperate lead coming off of that attatchment with the ground clamp on it. That way work that isn't clamped to the table with sufficient surface area to ground well could be clamped seperately. Is this a good idea or am I creating problems or hazards by doing this?
   crosspein - Saturday, 10/12/02 23:09:53 GMT

Dear Guru there is also an emblem at the bottom shaped like a hand pointing the index finger.
   - Stealman - Saturday, 10/12/02 23:40:19 GMT

Dear Guru there is also an emblem at the bottom shaped like a hand pointing the index finger.This anvil is a cast steel anvil.Will this help?
   - Stealman - Saturday, 10/12/02 23:47:13 GMT

On the origin of the term "penny" as applied to nails descussed here a couple of weeks ago a description came to mind but I had to refind the sorce... from the Stanley tool catalog No 34 dating about 1932 ,in the index.
"nails have been made a certain number of pounds to the thousand for many years and are still reckoned in that way in England. A ten-penny being a thousand nails to ten pounds, a six-penny a thousand nails to six pounds.... until by the Englishmen's abbreviation of "pun" for "pound," the abbreviation has been made to stand for penny, instead of pound as origanally intended."

I knew there was a reason to keep those old catalogs. hope this helps with the definition
   Mark P - Sunday, 10/13/02 02:05:47 GMT


I am a civil engineering student (enviro mostly) at the University of Washington. We have a construction engr lab report on Al 7075-T6, A36 Steel, 1018 cold rolled, and 304 stainless steel. We have tested the Rockwell values, Charpy values and tension. We must address a fictious company. I would like to get the most out of this report. Can you recomend and industry/application and/or sites that would have info on these metals? Thanks a million for any help you might provide!!!
   etheria - Sunday, 10/13/02 04:30:08 GMT

Sawmaking: Steven, Saw making is mostly cold work after the blade is forged to the right thickness and is scraped, filed and smoothed. Then the tooth spacing is laid out using dividers or a steel rule and a scriber. The teeth are then cut with a cold chisel. If the blade is tool steel it would have been hardened and tempered first. Wood cutting blades are fairly soft and the teeth can be cut and then sharpened with a file. Teeth that have set would be set before sharpening.

The chiseling needs to be done on a soft plate lying on the anvil. Never chisel on the top of an anvil. The face of the anvil is hard enough that it will damage the chisel. But tools being hard the chisel is also likely to damage the anvil.

If you are making classy hand made saws the blades should be gently tapered so that the back of the blade is about 1/2 the thickness of the cutting edge. Then the teeth need less set and you can do more accurate work. For the different types of teeth you need to go to a good wood working reference.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/13/02 05:20:33 GMT

i saw an english mill on telivision the other day (bike week- jesse james special) and was wondering if there was anything online showing how to make one (or even some decent detailed pictures) any help would be appreciated
   MKruzan - Sunday, 10/13/02 05:38:46 GMT

Metals Information: Etheria, see our On-line metals sales page and the links at the top of the page.

A problem with your group of metals is than in the real world few suppliers (service centers, wharehouses) carry aluminium and steel, or steel and stainless. Steel of all types short of tool steels are carried by steel service centers. Tools steels are carried by specialty houses and aluminium, brass and stainless by non-ferrous or specialty alloy suppliers. Various small mail order outfits carry all the above but rarely have much technical information.

Many of the metals manufacturers have sites with technical information. Timken (the bearing people) own Latrobe Steel a maker of specialty steels. Admiral Steel is another on-line and mail order steel supplier.

The google search engine will find sites with aluminium information. I suspect the big aluminium producers like Reynolds Aluminium have web sites. You will find that most primary metals manufacturers have certain limited information on-line and do not make sales via their web sites. Some catalog sites such as our On-Line Metals also have limited information. If you want detailed information the printed references are still the place to find it (ASM Metals Handbooks and others).
   - guru - Sunday, 10/13/02 05:41:20 GMT

Ground Lead: Crosspein, On my heavy welding bench (it has a 1" thick steel top) I have a brass plate bolted to the frame using brass bolts and star washers. Attached to the plate is a five foot lead with a ground clamp. There is also a cable with ring ends that attaches to the plate and the the bench top with bolts in drilled and tapped holes (and star washers again). When in use the ground lead from my welder attaches to the brass plate. Good clean connections everywhere. Bolts are all installed with never-seize which improves conductivity preventing arcing at the threads as well as corrosion.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/13/02 05:57:19 GMT

English Mill or Wheel? MKruzan, Are you talking about an "English Wheel". Thats a device with two pressure wheels in a C frame used to work sheet metal. There is usualy one crowned or rounded steel wheel and a softer hard rubber wheel. Different wheels can be used with varying crown to produce different curves. The bottom wheel is usualy on a screw jack so you can adjust the pressure and open and close the wheels.

Small bench top English Wheels can be used to do jewelery sized work and I've seen one with powered rollers for wheeling 1/4" aluminium plate for yacht building. They are an easy machine to build. The most difficult part to make is the wheels but they can be shaped in a drill press or electric drill using a grinder. The soft wheel can be a hand truck tire.

A search on "English Wheel" will pop up a bunch of sites. They are used a lot in custom auto body work and air plane building.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/13/02 06:11:22 GMT


Alcoa is a company that would likely have information on your Al7075-T6 alloy. You might look at websites for Inland Steel for information on A36 and 1018. Lincoln Electric is a foundry in Pennsylvannia that produces specialty alloys and stainless steels, like 304. Al7075-T6 is an engineering alloy. Check for applications in the aerospace and auto industries. A36 is probably a construction material. 1018 is a mild steel with uses in literally dozens of industries. 304 stainless is used in the Chemical manufacturing industry, medical industry, and anywhere that corrosion resistance is important.
   David Benson - Sunday, 10/13/02 07:01:18 GMT

A question for practicing smiths. Do you rent space in commercial buildings or work in home workshops/garages? I'm a novice smith with a background in metallurgy. I'm putting together my own workshop, tools, and dreaming about starting my own business. I'm half way through the first of 3 semesters of welding at my local city college. I've read your FAQ pages extensively, and found much wisdom there.

How many of you regularly use arc welding equipment? Oxy-acetylene? Being on a budget, can I get by with a Oxy-acetylene rig, or do you think I must invest in an arc-welding setup?

Does anybody fuel their gas furnace with anything besides propane? I've read a few posts about problems with freezing propane tanks. Has anyone tried low temp heating tape and regulators with fins to absorb heat? What about natural gas instead of propane? Or is everbody too far from the metropolitan areas to access natural gas?

I need an anvil. Probably more than one, but I'll settle for one at the moment. Anybody on the west coast know a supplier or have a decent one for sale?
   David Benson - Sunday, 10/13/02 07:09:59 GMT

Peddinghaus anvils are good.

Nimba anvils are good.

McMaster-Carr, I don't know but they offer them.

Some people do use natural gas, refrence http://www.reil1.net/Forge.shtml
He has posted some info on setting up his "e-z burner" to use natural gas, there is a diffrence in the amount of gas used though.
Try anything you want on the propane front, tell us if it works, I've herd rumors (which guru will probably confirm) that using heating oil tends to create a lot of fire scale whereas propane doesn't, it still lacks the charm of coal though. Haven't heard much on natural gas.

As for getting by with Oxy-acetylene? Depends on your work.

I don't use a torch, that would be cheating,
but I still want one.

Take everything I say with a grain of salt, I'm not an expert by far but I know some stuff.
   Marc - Sunday, 10/13/02 09:38:17 GMT

The Czech's make a real good cast steel anvil at a good price ,you can find more info. at euroanvil.com .
   - Stealman - Sunday, 10/13/02 13:30:32 GMT

Excuse me thats euroanvil.net
   - Stealman - Sunday, 10/13/02 13:54:48 GMT

I have been forging for some time now with much enjoyment and success,but I still have difficulty tapering round stock to a point without splitting,what is my problem! thank you.
   g.borrelli - Sunday, 10/13/02 14:17:27 GMT

you may need to more heat on your tip,also depends on the type of steel your forging. you may need a lower carbon steel
   - Stealman - Sunday, 10/13/02 14:23:23 GMT

my question : does anybody know where i can see plans for making a rolling machine, a 3 rolls machine that can make circle using flat bar or square stock ?? thanks a lot !!!!!!!!
   machefer - Sunday, 10/13/02 14:31:16 GMT

You mean using the rollers to form the steel into round barstock or rolling it into a coil?
   Marc - Sunday, 10/13/02 14:39:48 GMT

i'm relatively new to blacksmithing and have been making some knives and tools for woodworking...i've been trying to make a roughing-out gouge for lathe turning, which is basically flat stock bent into a "U" shape...but getting it symmetrical is very difficult...and if it isn't perfectly symmetrical, it's not possible to get a consistent edge on it...

my question is, how does one go about forging something in this shape? i'm guessing there is some kind of swage block or some sort of jig to make this easier, but i'm wondering if there is some technique i don't know about? or it it just lots and lots of practice?

so far i've just been bending flat stock around a rod of steel and trying to get it as close as possible to shape...but it isn't close enough...

   mark - Sunday, 10/13/02 16:27:16 GMT

Forging Gouges: Mark, This is done using either a swage block or a bottom swage in the anvil and a fuller or a round bar to form the inside. Turning gouges are heavier than carving gouges and often taper on the sides toward the two top edges.

One of the star "NAME" roughing gouges for wood turning is milled from round stock using a radius or ball end mill. Probably a radius cutter on a horizontal milling machine.

If you don't have swages, swage blocks or the money for one see our iForge demos on tool making. There is lots of scrap steel with the right shapes that work. But most of this type tool making needs an arc welder and a cutting torch is very helpful.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/13/02 18:08:45 GMT

I've seen some Little Giant hammers with expanded metal guards on the front. Is expanded metal sufficient, if a spring breaks? It seems possible that a sharp piece might get through it. Any advice? Thanks
   - Kevin C. - Sunday, 10/13/02 19:08:50 GMT

David Benson, Etal,

Shop Space A few smiths rent, many build on their property or work out of a converted garage. Rent requires a steady cash flow and a business plan. Jack Andrews' New Edge of the Anvil has a very good discussion on costs and hourly rates. You also need to consider local ordinances and the EPA. Hobbiests can get away with burning coal in their backyard everywhere except California but as soon as you become a business then zoning and EPA (Local, State and Federal regulations) come into play.

Modern Equipment: Traditionaly blacksmiths were always on the cutting edge of technology. It is only recently that people have gotten romantic ideas about blacksmiths using primitive tools and methods. If you are in business you MUST use the most productive tools you can obtain. You CANNOT afford to be a romantic.
  • Arc welders are the most efficient means of sticking two pieces of steel together. That does not mean you should use one in your blacksmithing but they are absolutely necessary to support making tools, jigs and fixture, building equipment and making repairs to things like your truck. A buzz box like a Miller 225 is fine. However, if you are going to be doing lots of fabrication and welding jobs then a good MIG machine is a profit center.

  • Oxy-Acetylene cutting is the fastest most efficient way to cut heavy steel, it is also often needed when doing bending and riveting. You can substitute Propane for Acetylene for most purposes and it is cheaper.

  • Plasma torches are becoming very popular among smiths for blanking plate of various thicknesses. The cleanliness of the cut can save hours with a grinder.

  • Laser cutting has not come to the individual blacksmith shop YET but many blanks are being purchased from laser cutting services.

  • Cutoff Bandsaw or Hacksaws are the best for cutting stock that needs to be cut clean and square. Unlike a torch you don't need to go a lot of grinding to clean up. You can also stack a dozen small bars in a saw and go do something else while it works.

  • Chop saws are an alternative to a cutoff saw but I do not like the noise, burrs, heat and grit. You cannot stackup work in one and walk off.

  • Ironworkers (mechanical or hydraulic) are an essential piece of equipment in a busy shop. They are faster than a saw and can cleanly cut many structural shapes. They usualy have a punch which can be used to make round or square holes for pickets. The simple shear blades are cheaper to maintain than saw blades or abrasive wheels.

  • Heavy Duty (geared head) Drill Press is needed for many types of work as well as building tools and equipment. The old flat belt drive machines were one of the most efficient machines ever built.

  • Engine Lathes were VERY common in blacksmith shops and SHOULD BE today. There is no more useful machine tool. A lathe can be used to drill and bore holes, square blocks, machine dies, make parts (pins, bushings and shafts) for tools and machines, make large and small tennons, spin sheet metal. The modern blacksmith shop is full of machinery that are often old antiques that need replacement parts made and an Engine Lathe is THE TOOL to do it with.

  • Milling Machines are also common is shops of productive profitable smiths. Shapers are a useful alternative, each having its place. Milling attachemnts on lathes ARE NOT a substitute.

  • POWER HAMMERS, are a must. Most productive shops (even one man operations) often have several. Traditionaly strikers were used but today labor is much too expensive. A good power hammer can be purchased for what you would pay the laborers (several are needed) over a couple months. To compete in most areas of blacksmithing you MUST have a power hammer. It is almost more important than an anvil and many hobbiests (low wage competitors) have them.

  • McDonald Rolling Mills are used to great advantage in the knife making trade and CAN be very useful in the general shop but are not a replacement for a power hammer.

  • Angle grinders, Pedastle grinders, Disk grinders, BELT grinders, polishing stations, hand drills, arbor presses, mechanics tools, precision measuring tools, VISES, work benches, stock racks and all the sundry items needed to support the above.

  • Did I mention a Pick Up or heavier truck?
I'm sure I have left out a bunch of items and I left out the obvious (anvil and forge) but the point is, a blacksmith is a manufacturer in a competitive business. You need every possible labor saving device that increases production to compete. The professional smith in North America competes with other smiths, the Hobbiest next door and imported goods including some very high quality work from Europe that is coming here in increasing quantities. How much equipment you have depends on the type of work you do and whether or not you intend or NEED to make a living from your metalwork. If the above sounds like a machine shop. . . well it is and traditionaly this is what blacksmith shops were all about. IN the shop behind that spreading chestnut tree there was a steam engine running line shafting to power a lathe, grinder and power hammer. . at the least. In the famous shop of the author Donald Streeter there was an unseen machine shop attached that supported the blacksmithing.

Freezing Propane Cylinders are not a problem for the professional smith. Anyone in business has a bulk tank or cylinders big enough to supply the demand. The folks having trouble with cylinders freezing up are hobby smiths using too small of cylinders or the common 20 pound exchange tanks to feed too big a forge. Small forges run very well on the small cylinders. Using the small cylinders you cannot draw fuel fast enough on a big forge or a small forge with an improperly made burner.

When I setup my first gas forge it was an experiment based on lack of experiance with propane. When I built my second big forge I KNEW that the cylinders I had were going to be a problem but that is a problem that is curable by simply getting a bulk tank. The forge works fine if it is only needed for 3-4 hours. I have also recently built some little melting furnaces that could double as a small/medium forge. They run fine on the small 20 pound bottles.

If I need to run my big forge to do a job I know that my first stop for supplies will be the propane dealer to arrange for bulk tank and a high pressure regulator. The last shop I setup with a bulk tank I plumbed a manifold along one wall to run the furnace as well as a forge and a torch.

Most gas forges and furnaces can be converted to run on natural gas. The diffeence is that NG is provided at very low pressure and requires much larger piping, valves and gas orifices in the burners. On small forges a few folks have gotten away with using them as-is. However, in industrial applications the NG either must be supplied from a special high pressure line OR there must be an in-line pressurizer. This is an expensive and rare setup that is not really suitable for a small blacksmith shop. In some places Butane is distributed rather than Propane and it too requires some minor changes in the forge and piping.

Anvils are often where you find them. Most smiths have used anvils and they can be purchased by the truck load at blacksmithing meets if you can afford a couple dollars a pound or up. At the current prices they are a good investment. New anvils are relatively expensive (compared to dirt cheap used anvils) but like anything new they can be very satifying. Nimba anvils are made on the West Coast so you may save on shiping or even pick one up. Kayne and Son sell Peddinghaus and are very competitive in their pricing.

If blacksmithing is going to be your business and your life you need to be serious about it. Save the romance for the tourists.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/13/02 19:37:11 GMT

I am 52 years old, and for eight years was a practising blacksmith in Ontario, Canada. I now reside in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and would like to resume blacksmithing.

I have just acquired an anvil which I was told came from New England. I am wondering if you could help me identify it's origins?

It has four lines of print on the body facing the anvil with the horn to the right. They are much worn, but what is visible reads thus.


Some of these letters are doubtful, E & F especially, but that gives you the general idea. Does this name look familiar to anyone? This is not an earth-shattering question, but I am interested.
Thanks for your time.
   Brad Allen - Sunday, 10/13/02 19:42:00 GMT

about my question for plans of rolling machine, what i searching is plans or something else about making a rolling machine, the kind that have 3 adjstable rollers and used to roll flat bar,to make a ''belt'' or a circle like around whells of old horse wagon.....thanks !!
   machefer - Sunday, 10/13/02 20:08:57 GMT


Thanks for the detailed response. Believe me when I say that I take the idea of starting a business very seriously. I'm just beginning to think about some of the challenges involved, like workspace, insurance, and environmental concerns. These are on top of "minor issues" like productivity, and breaking into a competitive market. Smithing will be a sidelight to a more profitable, mainstream business.

Right now I'm trying to prioritize what equipment I will have to buy. If I can make do with an Oxy-acetylene rig for the here and now, then I don't need an arc-welder. That's one less piece of expensive equipment I need before I begin. I can move a bridgeport milling machine, ironworker, etc. to a higher spot on my priority list.

I'm looking at selling my car in order to buy a work truck. I don't have access to a safe, legal place to conduct business. That's why I'm looking for opinions/suggestions/options with regard to renting commercial space. Ideally, I'd like to find something to lease that could also provide living space. That way I don't have to rent an apartment too, or live with family.

I've been looking at Plasma torches, and my instructor has talked about them a bit. Whether or not I buy one will depend on where I see a need in my nitch in the local market. It's likely I'll end up starting my business by repairing fences and irrigation piping for local farmers and ranchers. My gut instinct says a plasma cutter will gather much dust in my shop if I'm fixing things on the farm.

I've also seen modern shops, doing high tech fabrication, with laser drilling/cutting and e-beam vacuum welding. While my inner child would love to have access to that sort of equipment, I realize that you have to have business to justify that sort of investment.

I know i'll be acquiring a cutoff bandsaw because my hands aren't steady enough yet to use a torch for cutting steel.

I've filled out my application for the California Blacksmith's association and I'll probably join ABANA in the very near future.

If you have any other suggestions, I'll be happy to hear them. Thanks again for your advice.

   David Benson - Sunday, 10/13/02 20:13:16 GMT

Iwould like plans for a homemade powerhammer
   - steelman - Sunday, 10/13/02 20:37:21 GMT

David, How about joing CyberSmiths International and keeping THIS place alive?

Buzz box arc welders are relatively cheap. If you use propane with your torch you can save the cost of the welder in cylinder rental or demurage fees in the first year. Oxy-Propane does not burn quite as hot as Oxy-Acetylene but once you get used to it you forget the difference.

A saw and a good drill press are key tools. DO NOT purchase a department store brand drill press new OR used and avoid cheap Chinese imports. Wood working drills ARE NOT metal working drills. You are better off with old HD industrial equipment even if it needs repairs. With the cheap stuff you are going to end up making repairs anyway so why not do it on something that will STAY fixed?

A key item to consider when looking for a place to work is the availability of three phase power. You can get lots of good deals on used 3PH machinery. The prices and 1PH equipment is driven up by the fact that any hobbiest can use it in their garage. However, 3PH is often not available in rural areas and you will need to either pay higher prices, replace motors or set up a 3PH converter.

Much of the equipment you purchase will depend on the type and class work you do. You CAN get by with an anvil, forge and vise (Vises are almost more important than anvils and often get used more). But it is difficult to make a living. Most full time smiths spend half a lifetime working another job in order to assemble the shop they need to make a living as a smith. A lot depends on where you are, your character and work. As a small independent busness person you will find that the sales, paper work, advertising ans taxes are a bigger part of the job than producing a product. . That just means that your shop time needs to be VERY productive to make up for the rest.

Spring Guards: Kevin, A guard on a Little Giant is a good idea as springs DO break regularly on these machines. You have to consider that the average age of one of these machines is 75 years old. . .

I've seen both plate and expanded metal guards. The only broken springs I've seen had clean breaks. This is typical of fatigue in bending parts. In things like drill bits and shafts where there is twisting the breaks are long spiral shapes often with very sharp shards. Springs sometimes break this way but not as often as twisted parts.

The cage type guards protect your head from large flying pieces (half the spring, support washers, loose toggles. . .) and safety glasses should protect your eyes from small shards. A full face shield would probably be better protection but few of us wear them when we should. . . An expanded metal guard with a sheet of lexan attached would be excellent protection.

I have had drill bits shatter and the shards embed as deep as the bone on my forearm. There are many places on your body where this could be life threatening. Particularly around your head and neck but also anywhere the major arteries are close to the surface.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/13/02 20:55:06 GMT

Thanks for the explanation about adding lime to melting iron. Any idea how early this innovation was introduced? I know iron technology took a long time traveling across Europe but I'm trying to peg whether lime was a "BC" innovation or an "AD" ocurrance.

   Rod Hill - Sunday, 10/13/02 21:18:30 GMT


I will second Gurus response.
While the CBA is a good and active group I have been less than pleased with ABANA, so I wouls suggest that you join CSI as that will help Guru run this web site, which has MUCH more to offer than ABANA.

BTW I am assuming you are in Ca? Where at? if you are in the north part of the state look up the Jefferson Smith's chapter of CBA. It is GREAT group of smiths.
   Ralph - Sunday, 10/13/02 21:20:18 GMT

Lime Flux for Iron Smelting: Rod, you cannot seperate iron form the ore without it. Try about 1500 BC.

Come to the Staunton, Virgina Frontier Culture Museum next weekend. Saturday October 19, 2002 - 9am 4pm. There will be bloomery iron making with a charcoal furnace. Lee Sauder and Skip Williams will be there making bloomery iron. See "Rockbridge Bloomery" on the links page.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/13/02 22:06:45 GMT

Steal Steelman. . Look on our Power hammer Page, Catalog of User Built Junkyard Hammers.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/13/02 22:16:44 GMT

Guru and Ralph,

I'll take a look at CSI, and take your word about ABANA. Ralph, I'm located in Fresno, which puts me equadistant from San Francisco and Los Angeles.

As far as cutting/welding equipment is concerned, Victor seems to be the best equipment available. Everything I've used so far is made by Victor. I've seen some less expensive gear at the local welding supply shops and on the internet. Most of this less expensive gear has been labeled Victor compatible. Is this stuff comparable to Victor in quality? I'm a firm beleiver in the saying " you get what you pay for", and am skeptical about buying off brand unless someone knowledgable vouches for it. Oh, I know that Propane-Oxygen torches use different tips than Acetylene gear. Anything else I should know?

Guru, I agree wholeheartedly about buying older, HD industrial equipment, even if it needs repairs. Many modern tools and hardware are inferior to equipment made 50 years ago.

I'll keep in mind that facilities I need should have 3phase power available. I'd suspected this, but hearing you say it makes it an absolute requirement.

About a vise, I was looking at the stake vise advertised on one of the websites mentioned on Anvilfire. It, or a used equivalent, are at the top of my list of things to aquire. My step Dad has a quality drill press and 20 gallon air compressor that I might be able to borrow indefinitely.

If I buy an arc welder, I'm apt to spend extra and get something that will serve as a MIG/TIG welder also. That way I can take on small, one-off projects. I know a fair number of gearheads who would pay handsomely for someone who can weld aluminum.
   David Benson - Monday, 10/14/02 01:55:10 GMT

Rod, if you need specific references on smelting, check out a book called "The Ancient Engineers" by L. Sprague De Camp. I have this book in my personal library, and I know it has detailed discussions of the evolution of metalworking, and foundry processes, worldwide.
   David Benson - Monday, 10/14/02 02:01:14 GMT


I don't know which welding suppy house you're dealing with, but I deal with National Welding Supply. Their "house" brand oxy/acetelyene rig is made by Victor. So all the parts do interchange. I bought one of the National brand years ago, and have been buing Victor parts ever since. Never had a problem getting things to fit.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 10/14/02 03:27:24 GMT

Borrelli, forging points. You start on the end, on the point itself, and work backwards. With your initial blows, place the MIDDLE of the hammer face on the end of the bar using appropriate angle-blows. If it's to be a round sectioned taper, forge a square point first, then take down the corners to make an octagonal taper. Finally, roll under the hammer to make round. I know Uri Hofi uses the hammer "edge" and works toward the point, but it is difficult to control the length of the taper that way. The old wrought iron smiths always worked from the point toward themselves in order to avoid splits and to control length.

Even using the above techniques, you will occasionally get a split. On mild steel, you can forge weld them away, if you are quick enough.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 10/14/02 04:15:59 GMT

Bloomery Furnace Iron and Flux.
The use of lime and/or clay as a flux was very rarely used before the advent of the blast furnace in the 1600's and 1700's.
Bloomery furnaces rarely reached sufficient temperatures to melt most of the reduced iron in the furnace (i.e. iron oxides). The bloomery iron making process was an essentially solid state process for reducing the iron oxide ore to iron.
Indeed limestone or clay flux requires temperatures of 1300-1400 degrees centigrade in order to melt and form slags.
Temperatures that the bloomery furnace very rarely reached.
The bloomery furnace iron making process was self fluxing. The fluxing agent that formed in the bloomery furnace was a mixture of partially reduced iron oxide compounds and silica compounds found naturally in most iron ores. The
Bloomery slags had as much as 50% iron in them.
Because of this wasteful process, the iron ore had to contain more than 50% iron.
The bloomery process was used in the West and near East for about 2700 years as the principle method for iron manufacturing.
Some of those semi-reduced iron compounds that served as slag forming components, are fayalite (Fe2SiO4), and Wustite (FeO). (note the iron=Fe, and oxygen=O in those formulas).
These two compounds compounds would readily be reduced to elemental iron in a blast furnace. In other words the oxygen in their compounds would be stripped out and changed to carbon dioxide (CO2) by the action of blast furnace carbon monoxide (CO). The carbon monoxide steals an oxygen atom (to form carbon dioxide), from the iron oxide ore, gassing off and leaving stripped elemental iron metal.
Since those traditional iron fluxing compounds would be converted to iron. A new fluxing agent had to be used. That flux was crushed limestone (CaCO3), or more rarely clay compounds.
The blast furnace easily reach the high melting temperature required to melt that flux.
Blast furnaces generally are taller than bloomery furnaces (including the larger bloomery furnaces of the late middle ages.) Water powered air blasts also helped raise the furnace temperatures in the blast furnace. But one of the main reasons for the conversion from bloomery furnaces use to blast furnaces was the discovery of how to make the cast "iron" workable by malleablisation (ca. about 1700), and the perfection of the methods for lowering the carbon content of the blast furnace product (the brittle, hard unworkable cast "iron"), (which has 3-4% carbon) to the more useful steel which has a carbon content no higher than 2% and more useful still at a 0.5-1.5% carbon content.)(wrought iron could have a carbon content as low as 0.0% = zero).
Extensive finds of cast iron were made at Roman smelting sites by Professor Tylecote in the early 1980's. The Romans could make it but could not easily utilise it.
To summarise, regular limestone flux usage for smelting iron ore is a relatively recent development. Probably not much earlier than the first (and rare blast) blast furnaces of the late 1400's. (and there seems to be new indirect evidence of blast furnace usage as early as the early 1300's A.D.)
   slag - Monday, 10/14/02 04:45:56 GMT

Bloomery Iron Flux Continued
After the blast furnaces upplanted the bloomery furnace in most regions, the first iron "ore" that was fed into those furnaces was taken from the more than two thousand year accumulation of bloomery slag tips (dumps)found all over Europe and the Middle East. The bloomery slag was up to fifty percent iron, an ideal iron raw material for an iron making furnace.
This is one of the first historical examples of metal oretailings reprocessing.
We are doing again today with the microbial heap leaching of copper (and other metal) mine tailings dumps etc.
   slag - Monday, 10/14/02 07:43:29 GMT

Frank Turley: You touched on a technique of rounding after drawing out a taper. You said role it under the hammer and I assume that the workpiece is turned slightly after each succesive blow. At what temperature is this done, and do you use quick light blows. My objective would be to dress up the surface and minimize hammer marks. Also, do you brush between heats?
   Quenchcrack - Monday, 10/14/02 12:19:19 GMT

One thing I considered when buying an arc welder was that a buzzbox can be run off of normal household 220 that any house will have coming into it's service panel. This means that even though I too hope to own a big TIG setup someday the buzzbox might still be handy for taking to the site and installing something.
Also, I have been doing some reading on starting/running a small business and one of the most often overlooked tools in any business startup is opperating capital. Whatever your market is, it is going to have fluctuations and if you are not prepared for that you will have to go back to work for someone else and then you are cutting into your productivity and making it harder get anything done on time. Remember your rent or lease is the same whether your getting paid or not, and you may need to spend thousands on a tool to make a big job profitable. If you've been a profitable business for many years a bank might lend you money, but it is dangerous to count on that.
Not trying to discourage you, just don't jump too soon.
   crosspein - Monday, 10/14/02 14:27:39 GMT

Second to last sentence should end with: but even then it is dangerous to count on that.
   crosspein - Monday, 10/14/02 14:37:23 GMT

Guru, I need to drill and tap a number of holes in a 1" plate,5/8" x 18 threads. In ordering the taps from MSC they want to know the style of threads H1. H2 or H3. What do they mean by that? They are for standard bolts. What kind tap should I order? Thanks Smitty
   smitty7 - Monday, 10/14/02 14:55:31 GMT

Welding Machines and Money: Crosspein, good points. I used to have a short extension cord I made up that accepted the welding plug and the male end would fit a stove outlet. They are DIFFERENT! My little Miller 225 actually specifies a 90A fuse or breaker! Thus it has a different plug. Stove outlets are generaly 40-50 Amps 240 VAC. This is enough to run the welder on as long as you don't burn really heavy rods. But at full capacity it needs that 90 Amp breaker. You will also find that these are very expensive breakers compared to standard household sizes.

Capital is always a problem in small businesses and unless you are a fairly "normal" buisness banks will not loan you money. Blacksmithing is more akin to being a "starving artist" and predicting cash flow is very difficult. It all depends on YOU and how much you hustle. Most small businesses are forced to rely on home equity loans (very dangerous) if they need borrowed money. Financing a business on credit cards is also VERY dangerous. All my credit cards only require a 25 payment on thousands of dollars of ballance. But those "no fee" cards suddenly become super high rate when not paid in full every month. They will let you make that minimum payment while the balance grows from interest charges FOREVER. But eventualy it will have to be paid off. . .

When running a small business the term CASH FLOW becomes amazingly clear. Every month thousands of dollars must come IN and then it immediately goes OUT. There are always peaks and valleys and clients that pay late. Being short a few dollars can result in checks bouning all over the place and the HUGE losses that can entail including screwing up your credit. It can be a tricky balancing act and I get nervous when my account has less then $500 in it. . . (one unacounted for outstanding check can wipe you out).

The general rule is to have enough capital to operate for a year before starting. Almost nobody does this and they are immediately in trouble. That one year time assumes you make the business profitable in a year. In reputation and art based businesses that can take much longer.

I've been in business several times and have done it wrong every time. I KNOW where the pitfalls are but finding the way to profit is different than knowing what NOT to do.

Never hire an employee that will not be ready to fire in an instant. It is tough to be an employer. Employees also have cost other than their wages. In the US employers pay a matching amount to social security. This makes a $10/hour employee a $12/hour employee. There are also mandatory insurance and unemployment payments to be made. THEN there is the bookkeeping. . . You may be able to handle your own but as soon as you hire an employee in the US you need an accountant. Oh gee, one employee just cost you 1.5. . . The tax people do you in if you don't keep up with employee taxes. Today, I would be forced to hire through a service and let them take care of all the paperwork. . .

You NEED credit through local suppliers. If for nothing else most industrial suppliers do not like cash sales because they are not geared for it. These are almost always pay on demand accounts. Don't plan on other small busineses financing YOU. These folks are your life's blood in a small business and you must keep on good terms with them.

Well. . . I'm off to pick up supplies and write a check that will nearly clear out my account. . . for the third time in 10 days. . . That is the life of a small (micro) business person.
   - guru - Monday, 10/14/02 16:00:08 GMT

Properties of Metals
Etheria: One of the best websights for material info is matweb.com. It will have a basic set of properties for all of the materials you listed. I used this sight several times when I was a stundent.
   Patrick Nowak - Monday, 10/14/02 16:04:07 GMT

Gosh Darn it Slag; you done nailed it afor I even got down to it---I was going to mention that the slag was re-cycled (esp by the Italians during WWII). Only thing I can add is that I have a chunk of bloomery iron (over 1 pound) that I consolidated from my "cut" from the iron run we made in August using only *clean* Magnatite, charcoal and air into the furnace. Some ores are more "slaggy" than others in our experience and in a bloomery you don't want a lot of iron getting away as part of slag. (Ca replaces iron in slag to a degree at higher temps---but slag chemistry is a real science as you can tune a slag to your process to deal with a multitude of problems.

Re welders: I paid $40 for a lincoln tombstone that looks like it was used by Noah, it does a fine job of making fixtures and the cost has been minimal.

Re: celtic steel---have you read "The Celtic Sword" by Pleiner some of the analyses would make a good story---I really felt for the smith on the one where the carburized edge bar ended updiving into the center when it got up near the sweet spot leaving a soft iron edge---don't you just hate it when that happens!

   - Thomas Powers - Monday, 10/14/02 16:52:20 GMT

While I am not Mr Turley, nor am I nearly the smith he is, I will say that yes that is exactly how I make round tapers.
After tapering and them making it to an octagon then I start light fairly fast hits as I roll the stock.
   Ralph - Monday, 10/14/02 17:51:29 GMT

my bad on the english wheel,
i have found several sorces for the tool and have decided to save up and buy the metalcraft benchtop model to save me some building time,
thanks again
   MKruzan - Monday, 10/14/02 18:53:57 GMT

point taper: I learned the same way that Frank explained, in fact I just had a refresher this past weekend in preparation to teaching to others (scarey). . . generally your initial heat (yellow to bright-orange) is where you are moving the metal to square then point then Octogon the shaft then circle, as it heads into the red to dull red you use rapid lighter blows to clean up hammer marks and straighten your taper. the colder the tip is when you hit it the more likely it is to split or break off. Done that a few times . . . especially on big meat forks, I get one side all pretty then screw up the other tine. Ah well, that is how one learns . . .
   Escher - Monday, 10/14/02 18:54:14 GMT

Point on Points: The orginal question is how to prevent the point from splitting. Working hot helps. It is easy to to cause an internal tear in the small stock while working too cold. However, some bars of steel may have this flaw in them already or at least the start of a tear due to an inclusion of some sort. I've had bar split that I was sure I was not working too cold.

If a piece splits you can often dip it in some flux, reheat it then weld and dress the point (if you don't burn it off).

The conventional method of forging tapers is to carefully work on 90 degree axiis. On round stock you then knock down the corners to an octogon and then knock down those corners. On small bar you cannot hardly tell an octogon from round and it doesn't take much to make it look round.

HOWEVER, There is another school of forging tapers. I first saw this method when Dorothy Seigler was testing the Junk Yard Hammers at Asheville in 1998. The work is rotated and forged almost randomly. The interim results look terrible but then after tearing the stock to pieces she ran another heat to clean up the work and the results were as good as any. Since then I have seen a couple other folks use this method. It may be a better method on a power hammer for long tapers in big stock, and NOT a good hand method but I do not know. All I know is that is was in complete contridiction to all other conventional wisdom.
   - guru - Monday, 10/14/02 19:29:58 GMT

I'm just an all around blacksmith, I do alitle of everything. Is there a place I can go and get a list of these metal numbers so I have a referace pint??
   Tim/Journyman - Monday, 10/14/02 21:09:48 GMT

Tim, Start with MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK. You need it for many other things. See our book review. If you want more complete numbers including non-ferrous alloys you need numerous references. Among them the ASM Metals Reference Book is one of the best. It includes a fair cross reference in the back. For a complete cross reference the ASTM/SAE Alloys in the Unified Numbering System is good. Both the later are available from American Society for Metals International.

The reason you were asked what kind of Journeyman you were is that any Journeyman Blacksmith would know how the SAE/ANSI alloys number system works and what references had the detailed information.
   - guru - Monday, 10/14/02 21:40:53 GMT

QC & All, Getting back to the point at hand, I use a bright lemon heat down to about a medium cherry for all hogging out. I finish at a blood red and below with light blows, one or more heats. This helps eliminate heavy scale, and is the way lots of ironwork is done, escpecially small hardware pieces. I don't use the wire brush very often, and I don't use it while drawing a taper. I think that if you use the "square-octagonal-round" technique, it is better than helter skelter blows, because it gives you a point of reference and it is faster.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 10/14/02 22:48:52 GMT

"Point at hand"

Oh, Frank! Come on, you can do better than that! (grin)
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 10/15/02 01:04:42 GMT

Back from Hastings XXIV. Didn't get much done in the smithy, between answering questions and arming up for the next battle recreation. Mostly did a batch of tent stakes 'cause one of our crew mislaid all of the stakes to our main tent!

I'll be ramrodding the event next year (Oct. '03) so there's certainly room for another smith. Medieval set-ups are preferred, but I'm open to anyone with a grasp of medieval techniques and production. There's even an oportunity for merchanting.

No hurry at this point, but I believe in exploring the possibilities. Since I put Hasting I together in '69, I don't want to mess things up now.

Very cool and clear on the banks of the lower Potomac. Took all day to unload and clean up.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship

Markland Medieval Mercenary Militia: www.markland.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 10/15/02 02:02:06 GMT

Would it be possible to cast a 350 chevy motor out of solid titanium?? would moly rings seat against the titanium.....or would you have to sleeve it??????? Could you make all the moving parts like cam , crank, pistons, etc.?????? Just wondrin........thanx
Mike T.
   mike throop - Tuesday, 10/15/02 04:28:56 GMT

Point well taken, Paw-Paw and Frank and Guru . . . sorry. Couldn't help myself.

btw, has anyone seen anything on induction heating of metal?
   Escher - Tuesday, 10/15/02 14:15:13 GMT

How does one construct a horseshoe pit in the back yard? Rick (my husb)thought he read about how to do it in an old Mother Earth news, but their people can't find the story in their archives. He remembers a bit, like welding the pipe that would come out of the ground to a square flat metal plate, then putting rocks, smaller stones and finally sand on top of the plate. But he also doesn't know how far down (or how far up) the post has to be or how far apart the two pits must be. We have a big yard and want to do this for fun. Please help!
   Deb R. - Tuesday, 10/15/02 14:34:47 GMT


Check out:


Scroll down almost all the way to the bottom. Complete instructions.
   Paw Paw - Tuesday, 10/15/02 14:59:05 GMT

Bruce; tell me more...

Mike T; why would you want to? Since Ti has a very different heat conductance you would really need to re-design the system so that the cooling would be right.

   Thomas Powers - Tuesday, 10/15/02 14:59:50 GMT

I realize I didn'y mention that Rick and I are in Southwest Lower Michigan (lower? Because there's an upper peninsula and a Lower one. The Yoopers from the U.P. call us trolls because we live below the bridge...the Mackinac bride ;-) . It gets really snowy here between December and March with the snow sometimes thawing in mid-March. Rick is a retired truck-driver and does wood-working more than metal. Deb (me) is a retired Disk jockey and does what little she can even tho she has Multiple Sclerosis. Thanks for yer help, and we look forward to hearing any advice on how to make a horseshoe pit.
   Debizzyb - Tuesday, 10/15/02 15:07:15 GMT

Ti Engine Block: Mike, Almost anything is possible. Yes, you would probably need to sleeve the cylinders since Ti is a relatively soft metal. All you need is a couple (5-10) million dollars (US) to do the structural redesign and to build R&D prototypes.

One thing to seriously consider when you think of such ideas is "Why isn't someone already doing this?" Generaly in the mechanical field if something is a good idea, and it is not being done, then there are very good reasons why not. This holds true for 99.999% of all "new" ideas and inventions. Matter of fact there are millions of patented inventions that are NOT being applied because even though they were unique ideas, they were not good ideas, or were not economicaly practical OR technicaly possible.

Often a trip to the patent office will tell you if your idea is any good and if it is practical. If you find lots of old patents on an idea and they are not being applied then there are good reasons for it. Patents have a very limited life. After 17 years (I think) the idea becomes public domain and anyone can use it. Ford had the original V8 engine patent and it is why Chevy used the big-6 for so long. If an old idea is not in use then it probably was not a good idea. If you find NO patents on an idea then it is either a truely unique idea OR it has been rejected for practical reasons by even the most starry eyed inventor.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/15/02 15:57:59 GMT

I recently bought a bunch of candle cups from Kayne, and I am at a loss as to how to attach them. The hole in the bottom seems to be about 1/2" or so, way to big to easily rivet (I usually is 3/16") I would prefer not to weld or braze them.

I'm trying to build something like the iforge demo 135, the BSA wall sconce.

   Jim - Tuesday, 10/15/02 16:00:33 GMT

Smitty7-- I'm just a rural iron-bodger, mind you, but out of curiosity, I looked for a possible answer to your query and on p. 233 of the current MSC catalog is a note stating that the H limit "tells you the graduations in half-thousandths (.0005)how much the taps [sic-- they seem to mean tap's, possessive] pitch diameter is above basic. In other words, you have entered into a tolerance/allowances area, and maybe your client ought to do the specifying on this before you lay out the bread for a special tap. If it's just a garden variety nut-and-bolt situation, or you are still in doubt, call the nice lady at MSC (800-645-7270) and have her put you on to a manufacturer's tap expert-consultant. They are very good about doing this on any product, I've found.
   miles undercut - Tuesday, 10/15/02 16:03:32 GMT

Oops-- the catalog quote above ends after the word basic. Sorry. (They don't say half-thousandths of what, alas, but I'd imagine it would be of an inch.)The MSC connection of you to the mfr.'s expert-consultant, by the way, is on their nickel.
   miles undercut - Tuesday, 10/15/02 16:09:59 GMT

Do you by any chance know were the next trade show is going to be on magesium metals
   - strong gary - Tuesday, 10/15/02 16:26:21 GMT

here is a bit of info and some links to horseshoes (the game)
Basic gist is two stakes a minimum of 46 feet apart each stake minimum of 14 and maximum of 15 inch above floor


   Ralph - Tuesday, 10/15/02 17:57:38 GMT

Thanks Miles, I appreciate the help. I didn't think buying a tap would be so complicated.
   smitty7 - Tuesday, 10/15/02 17:59:53 GMT

Smitty7-- Por nada. (I don't think it ordinarily is complicated, unless you're doing some special sort of tapping. And then you get into the wonderful world of machining...!)
   miles undercut - Tuesday, 10/15/02 18:23:48 GMT

Drill Precision Class: Hmmmm, Miles hit it. I hadn't heard thread classes called H numbers. For common bolts you do not want a tight precision class. Most bolts have rolled threads that are often oversize. The threaded hole they fit needs to be fairly loose. Tight tolerance threaded holes almost always need screw machine threads that are made to the same tight tolerance. Common bolts put into tight class holes often gall and end up stripped.

Normaly you don't have a choice, the supplier usualy has taps for standard bolts.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/15/02 18:47:16 GMT

Candle Cups Jim, I haven't seen these cups so I am not sure of the assembly problems. My cup and pan assemblies were all brazed together. You can make cups to brad on but you have to cut the strip of stock for the cup with a couple tabs that will stick down and fit in holes in the pan. The other way is to go at the cups you have. . a pain to do.

The Kaynes suggest that you use a washer in the bottom of the cup if you want to rivet it on. If you check with your hardware supplier you should be able to get "fender" washers that will fit. My hardware supplier says the #10 (3/16") steel washers he has are 1" OD but the stainless washers are 11/16" OD. . Should fit the Kayne cup. If you can't find fender washers try McMaster-Carr or drop me a line. I need to pick some up for another project. . .

You could also cut a little square of 16ga stock and make your own washer. Cut it so the corners need to be turned up and it will make a good tight fit. This type of washer that doesn't show does not need to be pretty.

Worse case. . . forge and punch a washer on the end of a bar then cut it off. 3/8" square stock should make a nice thickness 3/4" washer. Round the corners first then flatten over the corner of the anvil. Punch before cutting off, then cut off with saw or hardy.

If you punch the hole over a snug (not tight) fitting hole in a bolster plate you should be able to make this size hole cold. Center punch over the bolster first, this will make a starting place to align to. Then carefully align a pin punch and give it a wack. Should make a fairly clean on-size hole. Note that when punching the hole in the bottom die or bolster plate controls the hole size, not the punch. An on-size punch over a clearance hole should produce a clearance hole in the part.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/15/02 19:14:53 GMT

Have a project coming up that utilizes the Greene and Greene style split wedges and bands for beams. Obviously they will need to be hammered to tighten them and if powder coated finish is shot. Best guesses on exterior finishes in the black / gray / charcoal spectrum? Will be going around redwowod.
   Butch Lee - Tuesday, 10/15/02 19:19:01 GMT

Does anyone know the marking's for smith steel casting company's anvils ?
   - steelman - Wednesday, 10/16/02 00:50:55 GMT

I have been away from this site for awhile, I was wondering if anyone knew where to find a formula for hardening solution; I was sure it was here somewhere! Thanks in advance!
   Warren Heidelberger - Wednesday, 10/16/02 00:54:05 GMT


If you mean the formula for Super Quench, it's located in the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) under the Quenchants heading.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/16/02 00:57:47 GMT

Hardware & Powder Coat: Butch, Powder coat is a good finish if it is unbroken. Otherwise it provides no rust resistance such zinc primer or galvanizing does.

I don't know what the "Greene and Greene" style is. If the wedges are steel on steel against a steel band then the powder coat is going to crack and flake off. If the bands are steel and the wedges are wood and the bands do not get struck while installing then the poweder coat may be OK. But I never saw an assembly of wood and steel that the steel didn't take a beating.

Color and finish type should be up to the customer or architect. The steel parts can be painted any color in the spectrum that suits the customer. Dark green would look nice on redwood. Bright red or maroon would lend a festive aire. You are only talking about small highlights of color in the overall scheme. If the customer wants "natural" then use a dark flat grey. Don't give them unfinished work.

What ever the paint it needs to be something that can be touched up after installation.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/16/02 03:47:33 GMT

Smith Steel Casting Co. I don't know anything about them and the only thing on the web is a 1986 OSHA decision against them. . . You find the oddest things on the web.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/16/02 03:50:04 GMT

Bruce Allen's Mystery Anvil

If I had to make a guess with the information you gave Bruce I would say you probably have a "Hadfield and Sanderson." The last word would then be Sheffield. Mr. Postman has a paragraph about them on page 73 of Anvils in America. There is a picture too. Oooo pretty.
   - Martin P - Wednesday, 10/16/02 08:53:54 GMT

Butch- Forge the pieces and then have them hot dipped galvanized. After that spray paint the final color then touch up after installation. Two part epoxy paint maybe. Driving the wedges together will scrape most every other finish off. Forget powder coat.
   - Pete-Raven - Wednesday, 10/16/02 12:08:14 GMT

Steelman, I have a Smith Steel Casting Co. anvil and it says "Smith Steel Casting Co." on the side of the anvil. Kinda hard to miss. They had a foundry in Marshall, Tx, about 30 miles from Shreveport LA. I have talked to farriers around NE Tx and they felt it was a pretty good little anvil. I believe they have gone out of business.
   Quenchcrack - Wednesday, 10/16/02 12:10:11 GMT

What about stainless for the wood bands? Stainless fasteners are generally suggested with redwood and hand forged stainless would look pretty good IMO.

A little test would show if passivation was required
   Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 10/16/02 13:42:14 GMT

Stainless on Redwood: Thomas, That is probably for exterior use and small fasteners. If the bands are structural (I suspect they are) then the building code will require A36 for flinch plates (and probably bands) with structural grade fasteners. If stainless is used structuraly the parts must be considerably larger to make up for the difference in strength. AND you have to fly it by the building inspector who will tell you to get an engineer's approval. . . probably drawings with a PE or CE stamp.

In most places you can replace mild steel with stainless but structuraly or under load it is rated at about 20% less capacity. Stainless eye bolts, shackles, chain and slings are often used in nuclear and corrosive environments but they are either de-rated or much heavier than steel rigging of the same capacity. THAT on top of been much more expensive.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/16/02 14:25:44 GMT

I've been attempting to weld in my home built gas forge. It's a 20 lb propane tank with 2 inches of Kaowool and ITC-100 coating. It has one of the mini mongo burners from Ron Riel's site. I think I'm reaching welding heat, it gets so bright in there it's uncomortable to look at. I'm using 20 mule team borax (the laundry booster, not boraxo) for flux and attempting to weld some low carbon rod stock.

I have metled brass in the forge. Is it posible that the zink from the brass is contaminating my welds? Or is that an old wives tail?
   Stephen G - Wednesday, 10/16/02 17:16:20 GMT

Deflection question:

I have tried to work this one out on my own, but I don't like the answers I am getting.

I have been asked if I can build a curtian rod for a bay window whcih will be 84" between supports. I qucikly pull out my Machinery's handbook....

My first thought was to use 1/2" round. I am using the Maximum deflection at Center formula for a distributed load:

5/384 * Wl^3/EI

8" of 1/2" rnd is 5.5lb, 10lb for curtain (she said heavy) gives me a W of 15.5lb

l (Length) is 84"

E (Modulus of Elasticity) seems to be 29x10^6 p/in^2

I (Moment of Inertia) seems to be .00307 in^4

which gives me:

5 * 15.5 (lb) * 592704 (in^3)
384 * .00307 (in^4) * 29000000 (lb/in^2)

Which comes out to 1.34" of deflection in the center. I have never done this type of calculation before, but I am fairly sure that I have it right since the results come out in inches. (I love dimensional analysis!)

Anyway, it seems like 1.34" is too much of a deflection for a curtian rod. Bumping the rod up to 3/4" rnd gives me 22 lb total (12# bar, 10# curtains) and changes the I to .01553 in^4, resulting in .38" deflection in the center.

So now for the question: Have I got the calculations right, and doe the result match with what you have seen in tthe real world? What is a reasonable deflection for a 8' curtain rod? I sure wouldn't want to go any bigger than 3/4"...

What am I forgeting that could make this work?

Thanks in advance!

   -JIM - Wednesday, 10/16/02 17:33:16 GMT


Based on personal experience doing some work for an interior designer, stay with the 1/2" rod and add a center support. 3/4" rod won't look right.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/16/02 18:08:56 GMT

Guru; using redwood and Arts&Crafts styling I'd bet that the fittings were already 100% over sized for their load and money is not the limiting factor; but you are right to get anything "different" accepted can be an expensive, tedious, time consuming process.

   Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 10/16/02 18:17:39 GMT

What would be the reccomended rod for welding 5160 to mild steel?
   - Txfarrier - Wednesday, 10/16/02 18:35:24 GMT

Paw Paw,

I would love to put in a center support, but it's not permitted. Per customer specs, I can only use end and 1 center for the entire run of 15'10". I'm stuck with the 8' unsupported run.

She wants to be able to open the curtains all the way to the wall, which I understand. Why have a big bay window and obscure part of it?

You are right though, the 3/4" round bar looks awfully big.... I think I'll see what the 5/8" calculations look like.


   -Jim - Wednesday, 10/16/02 19:06:03 GMT

For those following along at home....

5/8" bar will have .64" of deflection in the center. Is that too much (visually) over an 8' span?

Hmmm, the maximum deflection will occur when the blinds are fully closed, mostly obscuring the bar. With the blinds open (using on the weight of the bar) 5/8" stock only deflects .28"

I may have to go with 5/8". The customer was well warned beforehand that it would need to be overbuilt for such a long unsupported run.

Assuming *any* of my math is right, of course.

   -Jim - Wednesday, 10/16/02 19:14:36 GMT

should be "using ONLY the weight of the bar"

BTW, if anyone was wondering if Machinery's Handbook was worth the money, stop wondering. It basically led me through these calculations. Buy one today!

   -Jim - Wednesday, 10/16/02 19:17:34 GMT

What happens if you do the calc with tubing? Obviously, the weight of the rod is less, but maybe the defecltion for a bar and a tube of the same diameter are similar allowing you to go with a small diameter rod. Just a thought.
   Patrick - Wednesday, 10/16/02 19:43:50 GMT


You may have to go with the 5/8" then. It'll still look a little too big, but not as bad as 3/4" would.
   Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/16/02 19:50:53 GMT

Jim, you have the calc correctly. Good job! I know many engineers that can't do it right. You should be using the total weight of curtain and bar for deflection closed. You have just found out why most curtain rods are tube.
   - Tony - Wednesday, 10/16/02 19:51:27 GMT

Green and Green wedge bands. Butch, remember that over time, the bands will have to be tightened since the beams will shrink as they dry with interior work. (If they are interior) So the touchup will have to be done every time the wedges are driven. Stainless seems the best way to go for long term customer satisfaction. If there is an architect, they get 8% or so. Let them worry about the code denizens? Will the bands be so heavy in section that they will be loose on the wood after it shrinks and even the wedges won't be able to take up the slack? I have one white pine beam in my house that went from 36" diameter air dried 2 years to 32 inch diameter after air drying in the house. Bands got real loose! grin. But I knew they would.
   - Tony - Wednesday, 10/16/02 20:06:50 GMT


If you have some freedom in the seletion of material, you might also look at aluminum tubing. Not only is it lighter, but with the proper solution treatment, aluminum can achieve a much higher modulus. Switching from rod to tube will also dramatically increase the stiffness of the piece.

Of course, the right alloy and heat-treated piece of aluminum might cost more than you're willing, or is sensible, to spend on this project.

Just a thought.
   David Benson - Wednesday, 10/16/02 20:08:25 GMT

Why is a French pattern hammer shaped the way it is? What tasks can you accomplish with the shape that a standard cross pein cant do as well?

   fishguy - Wednesday, 10/16/02 20:32:15 GMT

About that long curtain rod: if you are able to lock the rod so that it won't spin with set screws, you could pre-load the rod. In other words, put alittle curve in the rod and put the crown up. Wouldn't take much.
   - Pete-Raven - Wednesday, 10/16/02 21:33:19 GMT

Bar Calculations and Curtains: Jim, As Tony pointed out, you have done it right. I just checked with my old Mass2 program.

1) The center support for long curtain rods is usualy a bracket, not a post. If the rod is at or above the frame then the the bracket does not show. These are usualy similar to the end brackets but need to drop down and are a normal feature of all wide winodws. Deflection changes at the cube of the change in length.

2) 10 pounds may be light for that size curtain. Heavy insulated or lined curtains with a heavy brocade material could weigh 20-30 pounds. You need to get a better handle on the number before you start. THEN add a cat climbing up the center of the curtain. . . another 7 pounds. Another live load is the person pulling on the curtain to move it. Double the load. . .

Since pipe is a little trickier I ran these for you.

84" x 1/4" (.540 OD)Schd 40 pipe + 20 pound load = 1.67" def
84" x 3/8" (.675 OD)Schd 40 pipe + 20 pound load = .87" def
84" x 1/2" (.840 OD)Schd 40 pipe + 20 pound load = .47" def
84" x 3/4" (1.05 OD)Schd 40 pipe + 20 pound load = .20" def
84" x 1" (1.315 OD)Schd 40 pipe + 20 pound load = .1" def

I would go with 1/2" pipe and a center support. With 20 pounds load on EACH 48" section deflection would only be 1/16".

1/4" is a good normal for MAX deflection (with live load). It is the rule for crane beams (lest the trolley run to the center) and for floors in all types of buildings. In this case live load will be at LEAST double the static load.

I would find out exactly what the curtain is expectd to weigh. Traditional curtains have a LOT of gathers in the material and may be up to 3 times the width of the window. My resident curtain expert (Mom) says good curtains have double the material and first class curtains have triple. Then there are the hems, casing and lining.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/16/02 21:58:44 GMT

Guru, you may remember some time last summer I sent you pictures of a very old anvil. You said it was around 200-250 years old and much like the colonial era anvils used during the revolutionary war.

Ok, that having been said as background, and considering your affinity for old anvils I will ask the following question:

How on earth do I clean out the hardy hole from the 200+ years of crud that has been jammed in it? I suspect that the stoppage is also caused in part by some serious sagging that makes the hardy hole look as if it twists about 1/8th turn, curves off center and is angled. This thing has been beaten on! I don't want to ruin the anvil but having no hardy tools sucks. What can I do?
   Rooster - Wednesday, 10/16/02 21:59:08 GMT

Fishguy, The French hammer is shaped thusly, because of happenstance, tradition, and because the French wanted it that way. A friend worked in France and removed his French style hammer head, turned it around, and was satisfied that it looked better. His co-workers were aghast. It's probably no better nor worse than most any other cross peen. Personally, I prefer a round faced hammer because of the way I work, especially off the edge of the anvil. But most continental hammers have a square face with the corners slightly chamfered. The French pattern that I am familiar with has a rectangular face, no chamfer. Most Western forging hammers have a "rockered face", a bit like a pocket watch crystal. Newly bought, manufactured hammers normally have a sharp chamfer around the face, which "sucks canal water". It should be removed with the angle sander.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 10/16/02 23:45:36 GMT

Whoops, Curtians: I did not read the word problem close enough. . . . 16 FOOT curtains. . how tall? My weight estimates were way low then. The math is still right for the span I gave. You REALLY need to know what your customer meant by "heavy" curtains. You are probably talking about 15 yards of heavy upholstery type fabric 10 feet wide plus the lining AND the hooks. Heavy curtain hooks slip into sewn pockets every few inches. If the rod is bigger than hooks can be obtained then you may need to fabricate a couple three dozen of those too. . (bending jig time).
   - guru - Thursday, 10/17/02 00:03:47 GMT

guru(s). i have a hot cut tool. the edges are square. what is the correct way of rounding the edges? i am concerned about the temper.
2)advise on forging tools: drifts, chisels, punches, ect..bring piece to critical temp (loss of magnetism, austenite phase) and forge, careful not to forge below "blood red". is this correct? can i bring back up to temp and forge again, without "relaxing" the piece?? i have read about this, but have not been able to put all of the pieces together. can i "machine" after i let the forged piece cool overnight in CaCo3? i will let a local tool shop harden and temper. these apply to "drill rod, A or O, or scrap truck spring...thanks again..
   - rugg - Thursday, 10/17/02 00:13:19 GMT

This curtain rod client of yours sounds like a woman who wanted a fireplace screen that would not sag at the bottom when drawn open-- and could not, just would not believe that the shortest distance between two points being a straight line what she wanted was physically impossible. I should have picked up my tools and gone home. However... hey, I vaguely recall from my big city apartment-dwelling days seeing (and installing many) C-cross-sectioned drapery rods mit der little itsy bitsy rollers concealed inside them with hooks suspended therefrom, so that the top-clamping wall hangers thus did NOT interfere in the slightest with the curtain action-- and were visually quite inconspicuous.
   miles undercut - Thursday, 10/17/02 00:14:43 GMT

The reason I ask about the Smith Steel Casting CO. anvil is because I have farriers anvil with initals on the side OH SS and then down below that is GC2 and a symbol thats shaped like the state OK. Can anyone help idenify ?

   - steelman - Thursday, 10/17/02 00:46:18 GMT

Hardy Hole Gradue: Rooster, There is probably a broken off piece of something in the hole. Folks are always trying to make hardy shanks that fit like tapered stake shanks fit in stake plates. They SHOULD NOT. Tools that fit the hardy hole should vary from a slip fit to downright loose.

I would blast out the center of what ever is in there with a cutting torch and a piercing action. . . If you don't have a torch try an strong rust remover. Fill up the hole with liquid plummer and give it an hour or so then rinse with lots of fresh water. Then try to punch through.

If you are timid then go at it with a 3/8" drill bit. After drilling through you may be able to punch out the remainder that should have been given room to loosen up by drilling the hole. If that doesn't work then drill out to the biggest size that fits the square hole. Redrilling (step drilling) the first hole is tricky as drills try to self feed when there is no center. Hold back and feed slowly when step drilling.

I have 2" square holes in a weld platten that are jambed with gradue. What often happens is something clogs the hole. Then scale, steel filings or drill chips and junk fill the hole. The mess gets wet or damp and then rusts. Rust is larger than steel or scale and the mass becomes hard and compact. . . I work it out with a chisel and a punch. Whatever fits. My oldest floor model drill press had this happen to the T-slots in the base. THEN they were painted over while half full of gradue (foundry sand and drill chips plus rust). Later it was painted AGAIN with the slots completely filled. . . Took me a couple days to clean them out. There is still a broken off T-bolt in one slot.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/17/02 00:49:54 GMT

But but but Miles. . . the "customer is always right". . . yeah sure. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 10/17/02 00:51:42 GMT

Forging tool steel Rugg, Non-magnetic is the transformation point for hardening. Forging temperature is still hot but not in the bright orange or yellow range (in good light). Down at the dull red of non-magnetic is TOO cold. As soon as tool steel gets too stiff to forge then QUIT.

Annealing to the point where tool steel can be sawed, drilled and cut by machining requires a full anneal. High carbon tool steels that air and oil quench are very difficult to anneal. These require cooling rates of no more than 20°F/hour for the first 5 to 6 hours in many cases (the first 200-300°F). Sometimes you can do this in a temperiing medium but often it requires a temperature controlled furnace.

A hot cut tool made of air hardening high alloy steel should be able to be ground on any grinder to remove the sharp corners. You actually want to slightly curve the sharpened part. Most folks just use them and they get dull on the corners. . . If you are concerned you can dress the corners with a coarse sharpening stone.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/17/02 01:01:43 GMT

Rough, Sharp and Ugly Tool Faces: Steve Kayne says the Europeans have a different attitude about tool dressing than we do. He claims that the French and Germans figure that a professional is going to dress tools the way they personaly want. So they do not bother with fine radiusing and grinding of hammer faces since the purchaser is going to want to do it themselves. . .

I also like round faced hammers having gotten used to common commercial American made hammers with a machined radius and heavy chamfer making the face of a square bodied hammer round. It would be nice if they radiused the corners of the pien too. . . But that is what belt sanders and files are for. At one time all my ball pien hammers had perfectly spherical surfaces that you could see yourself in. . . many years and lots of rust ago.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/17/02 01:10:10 GMT

Dear:guru/helpers/friends I dont know where else to go.I,m not a child age 54.Recently the last couple yrs.I,ve got back into an old hobby,restored a few old cars,but now have gone back into my youth-this time its a (hot rod).Without going into real detail-it,s a 40 international pu.with a full blown big block chevy motor-5 speed-9bolt ford rearend.The problem is the 840horsepower really makes it come unglued when i,m really gettin on it(1st gear out to the left 2nd gear back to right 3rd gear back to left 4th back to right).Just like driving on ice,the question is in days of old they made what was called (2), 100pound &150 pound mercury bar that you welded into the rear bumper to stop the slide out.These were pipes with caps welded on the ends, with liquid mercury inside,which of course because of centrifical force goes to the oppersit side and keeps the car going strait in every gear.Everywhere i ask they think iam crazy.They say they never heard of it,or mercurys against the law.So I guess what I want to know is where I can get some liquid mercury or some other liquid ore that would have the same weight displacement.These where 3inch pipes on the 100lb$4on the150lb,they where 36-48 inchs long. I hope this wasnt to long,and that i gave you enouph info to work with.Like i said i am lost so any help you could give would be greatly appreciated.I live in Rocland,Maine,USA.my phone is 207-596-5787.
Sincerly yours
Eddy A.Spencer
PS cant wait to make one of these so maybe I be able to really try out 5th gear.Maybe Iam still a kid cause I love the ride so far-come for a ride anytime and i will show how well these mercury bars or?????? work.
   Eddy A Spencer - Thursday, 10/17/02 01:10:59 GMT


Forget the mercury. Like the folks said, the stuff is toxic and dangerous to play with. Besides being pretty expensive stuff to do a job that a couple of traction bars will do. Get a couple of decent traction bars and some tires that grab the road, and then back off the gas a bit. All that sideways slippin' and slidin' ain't getting translated into motion down the road! You might also stick about three hundred pounds or so of weight behind the rear axle, since P/U's have such light rear ends.

I sincerely hope you're doin' all that reckless driving on a track and not on the public roads where some unsuspecting citizen might get creamed.
   vicopper - Thursday, 10/17/02 01:26:45 GMT


Good advice, all points.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/17/02 02:33:38 GMT

I just emailed Eddy Spencer about his rear bumper. He lives about 2 hours North of me and I think I can put him in touch with some muscle car enthusiasts. Eddy if you read this before you read your email, then switch gears and email me back!
   Rooster - Thursday, 10/17/02 03:09:50 GMT


The curtains are only about 8' tall. I will get more info as to the weight of the curtains.

The customer wishes to use ring shaped curtain hooks (all the way around the bar) and only have the curtains stop at the ends, so any kind of center support is going to be a problem. The full window is 16", but I can break it into 2 pieces with a bracket in the center, thus the 8' spans.

FWIW, this is not a super high end job.... in fact she already has finials for the ends she bought in a store.

I will look into pipe. I think I can make it work out reasonably. If not, no big deal. I told her I would look at it as a favor to her, and if I can't make it work, oh well. At least the math was fun.

Thanks for all the help!!!!

   James F. - Thursday, 10/17/02 03:14:45 GMT

hi i was just wondering what courses would i need to take to get into blacksmithing?
   johnathan - Thursday, 10/17/02 05:14:51 GMT

Johnathan, Try mine. Paper brochure available.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 10/17/02 12:29:55 GMT

What do I need to do to see the demos? I signed up but still could not get in last night. Thank you Rich
   Richard - Thursday, 10/17/02 17:17:21 GMT

Richard, I'm way behind on processing pub registrations. But you did not miss anything, there was no demo last night. I've been swamped with other work :( . . . trying to get caught up. .
   - guru - Thursday, 10/17/02 19:21:33 GMT

I volunteer my weekends at a historical blacksmith shopin southeast ohio. The shop has been rapidly growing and in need of an expantion, but funds are of cours limited. Do you or anyone else know how we could go about geting a grant or something like that. Any info would be helpfull.
   Journyman - Thursday, 10/17/02 20:27:51 GMT

jammed hardy hole-- maybe coming up from underneath-- can you turn the anvil upside down?-- with careful hammer blows will work the blockage backwards. B'laster, a penetrant from your local NAPA dealer may take a few days, but usually loosens anything.
   miles undercut - Thursday, 10/17/02 22:32:30 GMT

Funds for Historical Orgs: There all all kinds of grants (public and private) for this type thing but the paperwork process is daunting to the point that organizations often hire professional grant writers.

Grant applications are almost always reviewed yearly and have a deadline a year to nine months before the grant is issued. Only legal non-proffits need apply.

Grants are available from every level of government. Counties and Cities often apply for a private or government grant in the name of multiple local institutions. States do the same applying for Federal grants. Individual organizations apply to the local, State, Federal Government and to many of the thousands of private charities and funds. . .

Finding the programs that your need fits into is the first trick. Then there is the grant writing. Both are jobs that have become part of a professional grant writer's business. OF course many organizations do it themselves but it is a very time consuming job.

Often the best bet for a small local organization is to put all this work into a fund raiser. OR to get another local organization with a large membership to do help you do it. Small rural school groups often raise tens of thousands of dollars for the band or football team. Ever listen to public radio? They claim to only run their fund raisers twice a year but it seems like it is ALL the time.

Speaking of fund raising. anvilfire Has costs too! AND as we become more popular those costs go up. Our current server is getting old and tired and is the suspected problem with the Slack-Tub Pub occasionaly displaying blank screens. My local PC (on which most of anvilfire is created) is also showing signs of age and is due to be replaced. AND I've been way beyond the point of needing office help for over two years!

Currently advertising fees cover about 30% of our costs, sales about 30% and CSI 30%. Donations and auction items account for roughly 10%. At the current levels we are JUST getting by and are actualy about 1/3 of what we need to continue. The more CSI members we have the more things we can keep on-line for FREE. Personaly I would prefer to rely on CSI or advertisers and drop the store. As the store grows it takes more of my time away from doing the things that makes anvilfire great. But currently it is needed to make ends meet.

CSI memberships can be paid on-line or via mail (cash, check or credit card). We also accept donations.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/17/02 23:35:55 GMT

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